WE ANSWER: WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN THE LAST 2 MONTHS?
Since the Techfugees Hackathon, the We Answer Team have not let up.
Following the initial enthusiasm surrounding the project, the nascent team stayed « united » together to continue to work on the app in their free time.
Sarah has kept her day job as a designer and is working on mockups with character and simplicity to make We Answer’s interface the simplest, while being the most comprehensive.
Daniel, our code machine who managed to build an operational MVP in 54 hours by himself, spent his weekends coding the app. With the goal of making it scalable in the long term in order to rapidly help the most people.
As for myself, Paul-Emmanuel, I am still working on various projects supporting migrants, most notably: QUICKBED, a platform to manage accommodation for migrants, We Answer every Wednesday at LLL and an ecosystem of start-ups helping migrants in a new co-working.
Last but not least, Rafael, who joined 2 months ago.
We spotted him through his project SOS FOOD that immediately resonated with us on the Wagon Demo Day last March.
We hit it off, and have common values and principles. He is helping us while Daniel is mentoring him on the technical side.
WE ANSWER: WHAT IS IT NOW?
We want to become the 1st crowd-helping platform.
The vision behind We Answer is to bring together functionality, comfort, and effectiveness, while making a real impact today.
As we initially started out, the platform establishes a connection (mise en relation) between volunteers and people in need.
We also aim to reference projects coded during other hackathons dedicated to the refugees and migrants’ theme to give them more visibility and impact.
As a person in need, you can use the simple mobile number to send a text with your question (06 44 64 35 93), in your language, and it will be received and answered by our helpers who can then give you an answer and guide you to what you need.
As a helper, you quickly sign up through our website, and using an intelligent matching algorithm, we connect you with questions that are in the languages you speak, and the interests or specialities you have.
To make your life as a volunteer even more comfortable, our powerful search features will provide you with ready made resources full of information that you can use while answering questions, including solutions developed by validated partners such as Techfugees, DataForGood, the LLL, etc.
This is the real power of the crowd: many hands making light work for a major impact!
Our main hurdles
Thanks to our partners in heart: Refuhelp, Techfugees, LLL, Pro-Liens, Singa and much more, we have been able to go much quicker as we were facing a few significant hurdles.
The 1st one: Time
The potential of We Answer was obvious to us even though we were all very tied up by our day jobs.
We were initially scared to disappoint our friends and mentors by being unable to ship a decent product in a short amount of time.
Each one of our supporters stayed patient and asked for updates regularly without pressuring us.
I am especially thinking of Josephine (I don’t know where she finds the time, such energy is still a mystery for me), who connected us with potential supporters and the LLL and Refuhelp, with whom we now meet up with every Wednesday.
The 2nd: Resources and data
If we want to provide the maximum amount of answers, we need the right data.
In such an app, you need to create data or share them but the non-profit sector isn’t the best at sharing, however surprising that may be.
Victoria from Infomeless did it all for the data. We were able to ship a product with relevant data to help volunteers answer questions that are not always easy from day one.
The 3rd: Feedback from users
Our closest friends who have developed apps in the past, and who have met similar difficulties, helped us with this step.
Dadou from Refuhelp shows himself to be our toughest critic and our greatest supporter, constantly reminding us about the needs of refugees.
Last but not least, Pro-Liens Hotels, who accommodate more than 500 migrants every night, have been extra helpful enabling us to get closer to their residents.
The 4th: Morale
Hackathons are enthusiastic events with people trying to develop things as quickly as possible.
The reality is slower and can be more solitary. Critics, indifference, impatience and everyday worries have made things much more difficult than in the beginning.
Thankfully, our environment is also full of people willing to listen and eager to move things around.
We have been able to rely on our family of fellow social entrepreneurs who understand us and can support us when needed.
Things to overcome tomorrow
Employment, Paperwork and Emergencies questions coming through the app are very specific and distinct topics that require experts to answer
We are confronted with difficult questions that we are unable to answer.
We need to redirect the questions to communities of experts and other specialised non-profits.
That is why we might create community option on the app soon.
Today, refugees, homeless people and many more are calling general emergency services who can’t provide them with answers (because they have to many calls a day or not a broad enough view on all the current pieces of information).
These people need to know our number (06 44 64 35 93) to ask their questions and call upon our network of volunteers.
3 ways to help us
1° Share our number (06 44 64 35 93), print it, distribute it, display it where you can
2° Sign up on our platform (www.weanswer.eu) and help us answer questions
3° Add resources and links that are useful to our beneficiaries
If you want to have impact, join us even if you only have 1 or 2 hours free per week.
An if you only have 10 minutes, become a volunteer and start answering questions as of tonight.
BTW: A new version is coming on June 1st! Get ready to shine! 😉