We started with connecting the urban poor to vital information.... without internet.
And since then, we have gone a long way: From connecting mothers to maternal care information and free-clinics to creating a low-cost mechanism to connect urban poor and refugee communities in India & Swaziland to education, healthcare and other humanitarian assistance.
June 9, 2016 | The Start: As a part of a personal project under current-Director, Mridul Manas, a unique voice & SMS platform was developed and launched to bridge the information gap between urban poor mothers and quality maternal care in over 10 slums of Delhi, focusing on delivering medically approved reminders and providing the eligible mothers a sustainable access to Government of India's Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (a maternal care welfare scheme and grant-making program).
November 2016: India's Cash Crisis As the government announced the withdrawal of Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 bank notes as legal tenders, a nation-wide web of hoaxes and misinformation created panic and havoc in India's urban poor communities who were still stuck in the information gap. As deathtoll due to the panic reached 55 within the first 9 days, we decided to use our SMS-Voice platform to provide specialized financial literacy and support. By the end of the demonetisation period, over 400 slums households in East Delhi and Uttar Pradesh were provided with reliable information and support enabling them to undergo the required procedures to get their old notes exchanged from the Reserve Bank of India. Moreover, our platform and ground-volunteers also helped us educate the urban slum dwellers about the beneficial banking schemes by the government and the interested families were provided the necessary support to help them join the Prime Minister's Jan Dhan Zero-Deposit bank scheme for the poor.
2017 | Combining SMS-Voice Platform with Cloud-Data The thousands of lives in India's urban slums and refugee camps and their struggles to avail basic amenities are left neglected due to the information gap and their lack of personal documentation. How do you efficiently connect these isolated communities and their humanitarian crises to NGOs and goverment organizations to deliver the basic amenities that they need? To answer this question, we started using a cloud-based platform to collect real-time crowdmapped data from slum households, a technology that has been historically used to provide assistance in the times of natural disasters. This development revolutionized our impact; the data has allowed us to identify instances of inaccessibility to basic amenities and humanitarian needs of the communities. By communicating the data to nearby aid organizations and changemakers while simultaneously delivering vital information to these isolated communities using SMS and Voice messages, we have been able to map over 60 slums in India and the Rohingya and Mpaka Refugee camps in India and Swaziland respectively, and have managed to deliver basic amenities such as education, vocational training, water & sanitation, legal help etc. to those who have needed it the most.