What problem are you trying to solve?
More and more data is being collected in the humanitarian field. However, there is a lack of data from affected populations themselves. During the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS, 2016), one of the outcomes was the Grand Bargain, aimed at providing more efficient aid. However, the problem is that aid can only be efficient when you include the beneficiaries that you want to reach and support. Currently, there is inefficient support from a needs-based approach; full target group is not reached; and there is no monitoring on progress either. This leads to inefficient help, waste of money and waste of resources.
At the same time, mobile messaging apps are the fastest-growing digital communications phenomenon ever. Today, more than 2.5 billion people around the world use messaging apps, a figure that is expected to rise to 3.6 billion by 2018 – that’s almost half of the world’s population.
Already over 50 million refugees/internally displaced people are online on social media. Many of them communicate regularly with their family or friends to let them know how they are.
What is your solution to this problem?
Our idea is to solve this problem of lack of data from affected populations by engaging with them and bringing them in contact with the designated (humanitarian and development) organizations, so that they can get (continuous) insights from them and actually understand their needs and be able to monitor the true impact of their interventions. This way, you can always be ensured that your services are tailor-made to the group(s) that you want to support.
Most importantly, by collecting data from affected populations regarding their needs and use of services, you increase their human agency; you provide a platform for them where they can broadcast their thoughts and actions in order to change their position for better.
We do this through Upinion: the first research platform that securely uses social messaging like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Snapchat to build communities that help organizations get insights from their beneficiaries. It enables NGOs to stay in touch with thousands of respondents at the same time, while still being able to have a personal conversation through which they can get deeper insights into their personal needs and monitor their experiences. This platform has been developed already for other sectors (commercial) and there is high interest from humanitarian and development organizations to apply it to their programs as well.