In June 2017, I participated in my first ever hackathon: Chimehack 4. Sponsored by Facebook, Gucci, and Kleiner Perkins, the hackathon focused on the question of bringing education to refugee girls. You can learn more about it in Cosmopolitan, where my teammates and I were featured.
Design an education tool for refugees.
After listening to a group of panelists discuss their experience with refugees, and talking with some of the experts who have worked with refugee camps across the world, we learned a couple of crucial details that helped us really develop the project.
10% of refugees are pregnant.
- Expecting a child is always going to be a transitional period. Combining that transition with have to flee your home can be overwhelming. This means that there is a large number of women who are already in a transitional period on top of having to flee their home country.
Most refugees have access to phones, but access to reliable data access is limited.
- That meant that we needed to design a tool that would be accessible via SMS. We wanted this to be a platform that would be usable throughout the world. We considered Facebook Messenger because of the large opportunity for building bot applications,, but we decided to go after a wider potential audience.
Both of these facts helped inform our decision to create a platform to connect refugee women with trained medical professionals that would be able to answer their questions in their native language.
I was inspired by my experience working on the Live Agent team at Salesforce to create a customer service portal that would connect qualified doctors, psychiatrists and other support people to refugees.
I worked as the product manager. I did user research, talking with some of the experts from Unicef to learn about how ref. I helped determine the overall solution for the project, what functionality the app should feature, and organized the goals of the other team members.
You can learn more about our project and see a demo here: https://devpost.com/software/chimehackdemo.
For our efforts, we were awarded the Global Citizenship Prize, which came with a $5000 financial award, along with the opportunity to be a semi finalist for the KPCB Fellows program.
If this plan were to exist in a real world, the biggest problem would be to find the trained medical professionals that could communicate with refugee women instantly. We can utilize the Google Translate API, which is fairly accurate right now, but you’ll still be faced with the issue of communication being limited.