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UNFPA and SoftTeco to launch "Volunteers In Action", a web app for the Red Cross volunteers

30 April 2020
UNFPA and SoftTeco: Volunteers-in-Action for Red Cross

Now, to become a volunteer, it is enough to be willing to help, to have Internet connectivity, and spare time. Registration is online on the Belarusian Red Cross website (https://redcross.by/zapolnit-anketu-volontera/. Once registered, the volunteer is trained, signs an agreement, gets a badge as well as personal protective equipment and disinfectants. A regional coordinator distributing assignments manages all follow-up work.

“UNFPA joined the campaign of the Belarusian Red Cross and the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Republic of Belarus at its inception. Volunteers’ support for elderly people, people with disabilities, especially those living alone, is an important priority requiring efficient coordination of almost 1,500 volunteers,” — says Olga Atroshchenko, head of the UNFPA country office in Belarus. — The idea of utilizing modern information and communication technologies for this purpose came almost immediately, and our call for partnership was immediately responded by an IT-company — SoftTeco — proposing to design a web app for free; the app will not only register volunteers, but also serve as a real-time volunteer database with all the necessary information for coordinating their efforts, including volunteer’s place of residence, spare time, and car availability.”

“We had to rapidly design a convenient and user-friendly tool,” — says Nadezhda Yashina, SoftTeco Project Coordinator and QA engineer. — The first test version was released in 7 days, and then we were putting changes and coordinating them with the Belarusian Red Cross. A well-coordinated expert team worked on the project. We applied proven technologies and programming languages: Angular 9 (a JavaScript framework) and Spring (a Java framework). It was decided to engineer a web app to be opened by clicking a link on any device and in any web-browser. In this case, developing and testing takes less time; in addition, there’s no need to wait to be reviewed by App Store and Google Play. We will be able to make all the improvements as we go along following wishes and needs. Now, as human lives are at stake, the paramount thing is to launch an operating version that can be used. We're glad we did it!”

“The web app for online registration of the Belarusian Red Cross volunteers is the SoftTeco's contribution to the fight against COVID-19. It's great that we have the opportunity to help our homeland Belarus at this difficult time,” — says Alexei Shevchik, SoftTeco’s Deputy Director.

“Thanks to the web-based application, all Regional Coordinators can access an administrative dashboard to manage volunteers in real time: see new sign-ups, mark those contacted, and those already contracted. The mobile app is just a rescue for us, and we are very grateful to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and SoftTeco for this support,” — says Elena Rusinovich, National COVID-19 Volunteers Coordinator of the Belarusian Red Cross.

Note:

Since March 30, the Belarusian Red Cross volunteers have satisfied 1,588 prescription drugs home delivery requests, 1,338 food and basic necessities delivery requests, and 1,582 other requests (paying utility bills, purchasing medicines, etc.) nationwide. As of April 17, the COVID-19 volunteer database has 1,487 people.