Empowering Neighborhood Response

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Project Description

Over the next several months, many individuals who either do not have or are uncomfortable with Internet technologies will need help. This population maybe older, immune compromised, alone, financially challenged, or otherwise in need of assistance. On the other hand many people within neighborhoods are willing too and want to help their neighbors. To help connect and empower such response we propose using a proven technique from ICTD (Information and Communication Technologies and Development) research. In particular it has been shown that a Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System, a simple phone number which both folks can call from a standard phone line (land or cellular) and use their voice or key presses to navigate a automated menuing system, allows vulnerable populations to be served by and connect to resources. To this end we propose to prototype a template turnkey system that allows a neighborhood to create an IVR service that members of the community can instantiate and manage. In particular, the service should allow some neighborhood members to volunteer their time and resources to meet the needs of more vulnerable members who have specific needs. As an example, consider an elderly widow who has just come home from a surgery and does not have family to help her. By calling her neighborhood response number she can let her neighbors know about her situation and needs. Similarly either by phone or website neighbor hood response coordinator can see who might be able to help her and what resources might be available in the community (masks, gloves, grocery drop off, etc). Similarly other folks may serve as consultants to suggest safe protocols that can be followed to ensure the health of all members. I believe it is critical that the service target hyperlocal organization (eg neighborhoods or even just a few blocks) to avoid security concerns and empower local monitoring. Technical details: 1) Use a service like SignalWire for telephony IVR interfaces 2) Design and construct a template service using standard web technologies along with 1 3) Create a methodology that would allow a neighborhood to instantiate an instance that they can customize to their needs This project aims to empower human resources to meet critical societal need exploiting micro-scale social networking and resources.

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