Solution Overview

Solution Name:

trellyz - equitable, mobile jobs board

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One-line solution summary:

Location-based mobile app will increase access and connectivity, reduce the digital divide and provide equitable skills, training and jobs.

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Pitch your solution.

People in low income, remote and refugee communities, particularly women and children, have the lowest access to information about critical services – their social safety net. A lack of connectivity, digital identity, devices and digital literacy compounds this difficulty.   

Our solution provides a central repository of trusted public and social services, from government, NGOs and service providers, through our mobile app (LifeSpots in the US/Europe’ RefAid in the global south) that works offline. This enables the few with intermittent connectivity and devices – Digital Envoys – to serve as resource distribution hubs for their communities  

Only when people’s basic needs are met are they in a position to engage in skills training, educational opportunities and take advantage of employment opportunities.

Leveraging our existing technology and the affected population’s existing access to connectivity and devices, will exponentially scale service delivery, educational and employment opportunities with very low investment.

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Film your elevator pitch.

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What specific problem are you solving?

Everyone deserves the opportunity to find work in order to support themselves, and those who rely on them. Meaningful work requires skills and opportunities. But there are tremendous challenges preventing people from finding work, personal agency and self-sufficiency.The lack of connectivity, devices, and digital literacy have resulted in decreased access to existing critical resources – a social safety net. Without having their basic needs met it is nearly impossible for people to move into a situation where work is even a possibility.  

People in low income and rural communities, particularly women and children, are at a greater risk due to lack of information, services and resources. Digital exclusion inevitably leads to economic exclusion. 

According to a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) December 2018 Internet Access Services report, 44 million households did not even have a standard broadband connection, either because they do not have access or can’t afford it. According to a recent Pew report, 34 percent of Black households and 39 percent of Latinx households do not have a wired broadband connection – in the richest country in the world. The pandemic has only exacerbated the digital divide, poverty and unemployment. Women and girls are disproportionately impacted. 

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What is your solution?

Community organizations often act as extensions of government services in that they aid in delivering equitable services, including education, skills training and employment opportunities. The trellyz platform allows service providers to map, manage, and publish their services, making them more accessible to users of the app while providing a cross-organization referral tool. The cloud-based platform is designed for coordination, collaboration, and communication among all stakeholders.

Mobile devices are an option for un-served and underserved populations to access the internet. By providing people with easy access to social safety net services (food, shelter, mental and physical health support, etc.) through a mobile app that works offline, people can begin to think about what they need beyond their basic survival. Location is often an impediment to access, therefore a critical component of social equity, or inequity. The mobile app therefore provides local full and equal access to opportunities, power, and resources so all people may achieve their full potential, regardless of where they live. Both service providers and Digital Envoys will accelerate the delivery, impact and reach of services and opportunities in the app, by acting as a broadcast mechanism, or hub or by sharing resources in the app with their community.

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Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Our solution is for people in low-income, remote and rural communities, people on the move, and particularly women and children, many of whom are in unconnected communities. They traditionally have the lowest access to information about critical services – their social safety net. By providing critical tools to service providers in our Service Provider Network our technology will expand their traditional reach.

Our platform and app(s) are currently being used in the US (LifeSpots and RefAid), throughout Europe (including the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands) and in several West African countries. We continue to extend the functionality and have recently added a jobs board to the existing social and public services categories. The app is available now in 5 languages (English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Farsi) and additional languages can be turned on depending on locations and populations being served.

Our apps have been used for 6 years and we receive feedback from service providers on a daily basis, and through them their clients (sometimes informally, and sometimes in focus groups or structured research settings). Our iterative software development approach takes all of this input into consideration when adding new features and functionalities. 

Digital Envoys will accelerate the delivery and impact of digital assistance in our target population.

The amplification of the distribution of social services, skills and training opportunities, will work much like a p2p network, where those that have access share with those that don’t. Through our app, which works in offline mode, Digital Envoys will act as human routers, providing access to critical services and resources to those near them. The individuals, through their network and community, will themselves become more self-sufficient, and provide a link to a safety net to those around them, especially important in protracted humanitarian crises. 

In most countries digital identity is crucial for accessing basic services and supporting socio-economic development. But many people either do not have, or do not want digital identity. In most countries, refugees, for example, need proof of identity to access mobile (and increasingly humanitarian) services in their own name. The slow issuance of identity documentation is hampering the ability of refugees to register for mobile services in their own name.

Our app is uniquely positioned to enable accessible and inclusive utilization, anonymously, for people who do not want to provide personally identifiable information. This will in turn open access to essential services for a greater number of people. Our app does not require a real user name or identifiable information, and can be used anonymously, and further Digital Envoys will allow vulnerable people, women and children and others in crisis to access to social and public services that they need, and then educational and employment opportunities. Digital Envoys can help to usher in a digital humanitarian future in which mobile and digital solutions optimize improved access to services, information and choice for people who could be or already are affected by crisis.

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Which dimension of the Digital Workforce Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Create opportunities for people to engage and succeed in the digital workforce by bolstering necessary wraparound supports, such as childcare and employee wellbeing
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Explain how the problem you are addressing, the solution you have designed, and the population you are serving align with the Challenge.

Our solution is aligned with the Challenge because it works to remove exisxting barriers to employment in a digital age: lack of access and connectivity, a digital divide, and primarily lack of access to critical social services required to survive and thrive. It addresses under-and unemployment among those particularly affected by the lack of access to critical resources, women, low-income, rural and unconnected populations.

Access to services, education and employment through a mobile app is strengthening digital capacity-building and creating opportunities for people to engage and succeed in both the digital and physical workforce by bolstering necessary wraparound supports.

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In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Palo Alto, CA, USA
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Is your solution already being implemented in one or more of the following ServiceNow locations (Australia/New Zealand, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, the United Kingdom, United States), or are you planning to expand your solution to one or more of these countries?

My solution is already being implemented in one or more of these ServiceNow locations

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What is your solution’s stage of development?

Scale: A sustainable enterprise working in several communities or countries that is looking to scale significantly, focusing on increased efficiency.
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Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution.

Our solution is currently available in 30 countries, being used by 7,500 service provider organizations and tens of thousands of members of the public. Our apps, whether LifeSpots (US only) or RefAid (US, Europe, Africa) run off the same platform and synchronize content (services, jobs, etc.)  and RefAid has been available since 2016 in Europe and the US.

The platform is being used for many different use cases including a digital jobs board in King County (Washington) to improve equity and social justice and economic opportunities; with migrants and refugees in the US, Europe and Africa; for providing information about educational and skills training opportunities; and for emergency management in the 9 Bay Area counties.

We are an established, albeit small, company that can scale quickly with the addition of additional resources.

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Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Shelley Taylor, founder/ceo/team lead

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the ServiceNow US Racial Equity Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

Yes, I wish to apply for this prize

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use the ServiceNow Digital Equity Prize to advance your solution?

Although our solution can be used by any service provider and any population, our target for this Challenge would be women and people of color. Our founder/team lead is a black female founder. We would use the prize to identify the locations most appropriate to launch specific initiatives for these populations, to recruit and onboard nonprofit and government partners with objectives aligned with this challenge. And then we would ue the funding for marketing to the target population in the appropriate channels and through the community organizations serving these populations.

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More About Your Solution

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new technology
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What makes your solution innovative?

The LifeSpots (and RefAid) mobile apps utilizing Digital Service Envoys is a unique and original approach to bridging the digital divide as it provides information about critical services, and an education, to traditionally unconnected communities. Due to the innovative dissemination of service information through Digital Envoys, people within under-served communities can rely on access to information and education through those who have devices and/or connectivity. This will create a catalytic effect and exponentially increase the number of people touched by or accessing universal education offered by micro-lessons in the app, as well as direct services and resources to improve their whole well-being. 

The mobile apps works offline, in many languages, and this provides a significantly improved approach to reaching those living in typically low connectivity environments, such as rural populations and people on the move.

These offline capabilities provide consistent access to universal education, driving innovation to develop people’s potential to learn, and broadening access and opportunities for remote learning and training. The app will also provide continued access to a range of social and public services, allowing them to get the help they need, receive better opportunities and improve their overall well-being. 

RefAid also innovates the localization of aid through a network of dedicated and embedded national and local partners with local contextual knowledge, for example, our partner, Diocesan Delegation of Migration (DDM) in Morocco. Our model leverages strong, lean international NGOs for their resources as capacity building partners in the development of networks.

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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

The trellyz platform is a cloud-based, Software as a Service (SaaS) model that is scalable and affordable. It consists of a web-based portal, that works on all modern browsers, for service providers, government, NGOs to create and publish content into the mobile app, and collaborate and coordinate responses with each other. The mobile app is lightweight and works on Android and iOS (iPhone) phones and works offline. Our solution offers scalability in times of increased traffic. AWS provides automatic load balancing for increased traffic. The system has granular roles and permissions and allows administrators to easily create users, roles, groups. Users can be assigned multiple roles.

The mobile apps, LifeSpots &RefAid, are a geo-location based app with categories of services and educational modules that can be geo-fenced (available to people in certain locations) or made available to anyone with the app.

The Services Mapping, Jobs Board and Learning Management modules are built on the existing platform and the learning micro-lessons will be accessible via the app similarly to the services information. Digital Envoys have access to learning modules that will help them be the best relays of critical information to unconnected, or intermittently connected populations.

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Provide evidence that this technology works. Please cite your sources.

The trellyz platform and mobile app (LifeSpots and RefAid - the same app with different brand names) is currently being used to help migrants, asylum seekers and refugees across 30 countries across Europe, the US and Morocco. RefAid works with over 7,500 service providing organizations (NGOs, nonprofits, governments) that serve people on the move, and use the platform to list, map, manage and publish their services to end users in the mobile app. RefAid has become an established tool for people around the world to use during their migration journey. 

The RefAid solution uses a mobile app technology that works offline that removes the need for consistent connectivity and electricity to allow community members to access and relay service information and educational resources.

RefAid was awarded the third edition of the Padre Arrupe Human Rights Awards, granted by the University Institute for Migration Studies at Comillas Pontifical University (IUEM). The award recognizes individuals and institutions for their work in the defense and promotion of human rights in the field of migration and refuge. RefAid was given the prize for helping migrants and refugees to make safer journeys, through the mobile application that informs people on the move about the location of different services. Below is a link to an article in Spanish about the award. 

Religión Digital “El Instituto de Migraciones de Comillas premia el periodismo de compromiso y el trabajo de ayuda en red” 26/05/2021 

Press articles about RefAid:

Apple App Store “Meet the Developer - Rescuing Refugees” 23/08/18

Geospatial World "Location-based Refugee Aid app helps in tracking nearest relief services available," 13/6/17 

JRS Europe "Southern border: Technology at the service of migrants," 28/7/20 

UNHCR Innovation Service "Is your app the best way to help refugees? Improving the collaboration between humanitarian actors and the tech industry,"14/10/16

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • GIS and Geospatial Technology
  • Software and Mobile Applications
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Does this technology introduce any risks? How are you addressing or mitigating these risks in your solution?

The main risk with using technology for this solution is privacy or security concerns. We take several steps to address and reduce these risks, particularly when it comes to data protection. 

In order to protect the people using the app, we do not require a name or any validation of email addresses, so users are able to remain anonymous.  The platform and app are GDPR compliant and achieve the highest level of data protection. GDPR also empowers people to request that their data be erased and RefAid will comply with any request to erase relevant data.

trellyz does not share any data with third parties. Our data is securely hosted in Amazon Web Services hosting facilities located in the United States and Europe depending on the location of the service provider and the user accessing the app, and we are continually improving according to privacy policy updates in countries.

For public facing data collection on a mobile app, i.e. surveys, we collect information based on the user’s location and any optional profile information. We do not share any information collected with the service providers and government agencies that use our platform other than aggregated and de-identified data for planning and decision-making.

Some governments are hostile and are often a danger to underserved communities, and there is a risk that they could gain access to locations of people. However, we can limit the access to information for government users through the granular roles and permissions in the system.

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Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Women & Girls
  • Rural
  • Urban
  • Poor
  • Low-Income
  • Refugees & Internally Displaced Persons
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • France
  • Germany
  • Netherlands
  • United States
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Canada
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How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

Organizations - our primary direct relationship is with service providers. In a sense our product/platform is B2B. We support aid organizations, government and other service providers to deliver services to their clients. Our trellyz platform is used by more than 7,500 organizations today (with an average of 2-3 people per organization). In one year we will be adding at least another 250 organizations, and their networks. In 5 years we would expect to operating in more than 50 countries with a total of more than 10,000  core organizations using the software, and more than a total of 50,000 individual organization users of the software.

App end users - while we do not market directly to, or interface directly with, end users are our primary beneficiary through the organizations that interact with them. We currently have 250,000 app users. In 1 year we would expect to have 1 million end users – either using the app directly or benefiting from access to the app through human nodes, community leaders or organizations. In 5 years we expect to have at least 20 million people directly using the app.

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What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and -- importantly -- how will you achieve them?

Our solution will have a transformational impact on the target populations across the countries we service extending the reach of services, digital educational content, and employment opportunities.

trellyz will focus on the following impact goals for the next five years: 

  1. Reduce the barriers that prevent communities  from reaching key learning milestones and accessing job opportunities.

  2. Create and implement educational content to strengthen practical skills, competencies, and learning opportunities for our target populations

  3. Guarantee access to quality education for people in low connectivity environments

  4. Provide access to life saving services which will support the overall well-being of communities

To achieve these, we will: 

  1. Configure the trellyz platform and RefAid app to ingest and publish services, educational resources and jobs

  2. Identify service providers

a. Organizations that can create relevant and appropriate micro-lessons to be published in the app

b. Import lessons from some of the leading Open Educational Resources (OER) sites through open source/APIs

  1. Work with NGO partners working across target countries to determine types of the initial educational content

  2. Outreach to NGOs (local, national, international) and if appropriate, government education ministries, to build our network of service provider partners 

a) To add their support services to the app 

b) To recruit other service providers and educators

c) To add any educational content

d) To get their assistance in marketing of the app to their clients

  1. Support partners in educational content creation and promotion of the app to target populations

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How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

To measure our impact, we will track usage metrics on the trellyz service provider platform and the RefAid mobile app. The trellyz platform will collect key information about usage across the Service Provider Network, and the RefAid app will collect and log data, with respect to the interactivities built within the micro-lessons.

Our solution will not only ensure continued learning and a quality education for underserved communities in Latin America and Caribbean, but will also equip them with the skills and capabilities to prosper in future work opportunities. 

In order to measure impact and progress in this project, we plan to use many Key Performance Indicators that will be designed in conjunction with our partners. These indicators will be in addition to our standard measurements:

  • Number of service provider users on the platform

  • Number of educators uploading educational content to the Learning Management module

  • Number of services available through the platform on the app

  • Number of self-content micro-courses available on the platform

  • Number of downloads of RefAid app

  • Number and location of services information accessed

  • Number and location of organization information accessed

  • Locations and populations served

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Solution Team

 
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