Communities are struggling to keep their operations and communications running now that physical distancing is the new norm. How could the communities maintain their (online) communication, promote social solidarity and help the most vulnerable groups?

PROBLEM 1 : SUPPORT THE EDUCATION

Problem Owner: Nadácia Pontis

Problem Expert: Norbert Maur, Senior Education Program Manager

The End-User: Parents working from home, with children who are attending the school

We get up at 7 am, start with morning hygiene, warm-up and have breakfast. At 8:30 am the younger daughter sits down in front of the PC. She connects to Skype (parent’s login) to have a 30-minute individual session with the school teacher (Reading, Math, Science). The older daughter starts working on the obligatory tasks that her school teacher had sent the day before. It is a project for Science, which the parent has to scan or take a picture of and send back to the teacher by email. At 10:00 am the parent on home office has the status meeting through the app Teams with their team. In the middle of the status meeting, the parent receives a notification to a private email from the English teacher. The email notification informs the parent about a task for the older daughter, regarding English lessons, as well as an invitation to a Zoom meeting for an hour-long group English session for the next week. At 11:00 am, the parent connects the older daughter through the Zoom app to the group session with the homeroom teacher. Next, the family has lunch and some time outside. In the afternoon, both children are doing obligatory tasks. At the same time, the parent works on their task, organizing a webinar through the company’s Zoom account. At 4:00 pm, the parent joins an hour-long flute lesson via their Whatsapp account. In the evening, the parent scans the younger daughter’s math tasks and sends them to the teacher by email. At 10:00 pm, a notification is sent to a private email from a tutor who assigns an optional task to take a photo or video of what the children are doing while they are not working on school tasks.  

Challenge:

For the past four weeks, approximately 20% of people have been working from home (28% of people continue going to work), take care of their household and organize homeschooling.

The situation developed gradually. The first week, parents started to communicate with teachers, unaware of how long the schools will remain closed. Therefore they began sending tasks by Edupage or by email. During the following weeks, teachers using some webinars, and most probably using the portal ucimenadialku.sk, started to use online communication apps such as Zoom, Skype, Teams and Whatsapp.

The number of different apps has gradually increased, through which different teachers assign tasks on different days. At the same time, parents use different communication platforms (email, Edupage, SMS, etc.) for a different number of kids at home. This, combined with home-office work, leads to communication interferings and poor archiving of tasks for kids. It also leads to a confusing overview of which tasks are obligatory, which optional, which need to be sent back to the teacher, which do not, etc.

Parents expect clear assignments for kids. They also expect unification of online communication from different teachers on one platform, with a clear overview of what kids are expected to complete during the week, etc. Another challenge is the difference in the technological skills of each family. It is necessary to simplify communication and cooperation as much as possible.

Expectations:

The solution should unify online communication from multiple communication platforms. The assumption is that it has to be online. It should be one common platform to make the parent life more comfortable. The naive idea is that messages from different platforms can be directed to a single one. To allow assigning a task to the corresponding due date, alternatively, assign a reminder etc.

Available data:

Denník N survey:

19,8 % of people work from home

https://dennikn.sk/1831036/v-kancli-som-zakricala-a-dostala-odpoved-teraz-treba-videohovory-co-nam-chyba-spred-korony/?ref=list

22,2 % of people fondly miss schools and kindergartens for children

12,5 % of parents teach their kids more often than before the quarantine

https://dennikn.sk/1829246/rodicia-su-z-ucenia-s-detmi-coraz-castejsie-vystresovani-ulohy-pipaju-aj-o-polnoci/?ref=tema

https://www.respekt.cz/spolecnost/temna-strana-online-vzdelavani


PROBLEM 2 : Distribution of humanitarian aid 

Problem owner: Človek v ohrození 

Target group
Organizations, municipalities, companies and people that assist or will assist with the distribution of humanitarian aid and receivers of such assistance. 

Challenge
If the situation deteriorates, many, especially the poor, will be reliant on helping them meet their basic needs. Ensuring access to drinking water, food, personal hygiene products, regularly used medicines and medical care or medical devices will require a united effort by many organizations, volunteers, businesses and people who already help in the field today. A single and easily accessible database would allow real-time collection and sharing of field information while facilitating the coordination and distribution of aid.

Expectations
Real-time web applications, optimized for mobile devices, enabling download in .xml and .xls formats with intuitive controls.

Existing solutions
There are applications for field data collection, such as KoBo Toolbox. The problem lies in varying degrees of computer literacy, so the ideal solution must be simple and do not require installation or setup. Collected data (who needs what, when and where) should be visible to everyone in an anonymized form and should be sorted by location, type and urgency. The system may include a form for those who offer assistance.  It can also include a way to mark requests as current, pending and terminated.

PROBLEM 3: Let’s help people with mental disabilities to adapt 

Challenge owner: Združenie na pomoc ľudí s mentálnym postihnutím v SR

Challenge owner: Marián Horanič
People with mental disabilities are a very diverse group, as a rule, they need more support than people without disabilities in some issues, but the level of support required varies from person to person. The situation we are currently facing is very stressful and challenging, even for people without disabilities. It is even more challenging for vulnerable adults to deal with sudden changes. 

Problem Description
It is common knowledge that this is a group of people who, because of their weak immune system, are among the most vulnerable and therefore need to be particularly protected during this period. Their intellect functions are below average. This manifests itself as impaired ability to concentrate and impaired short-term memory. They have learning difficulties as well as difficulties understanding complex or abstract ideas. They have reduced ability to adapt to the cultural environment of the society. 

The current situation is putting tremendous pressure on them as they find themselves in a whole new environment and have trouble understanding why this is happening. We need to find solutions that reflect their specific needs.

Expectations:
Some groups have limited ability to work with technology. The solution should be as simple and easy to use as possible.

Possible solutions include:
· Access to information that takes into account the requirements of these groups
· Common groups where they could socialize
· Online activities to help them spend quality time 

Other examples for open challenges:

You can submit any challenges regarding the wide topic of community life during the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance:

  • Social interactions have a positive impact on mental health. People who were already struggling before the crisis are now under even more pressure and need even more support that they cannot always access. Caregivers and supporting organisations also face physical barriers when trying to help the most vulnerable groups. How can we sport the ones in need: the poor, the socially challenged and without any access to online tools?
  • The schools have been closed indefinitely and many parents have to stay home with their children, whilst still having to work. How can we help them to address challenges of the home-office working life and the absence of school attendance?
  • People have limited access to cultural life beyond TV, radio or streaming services. At the same time, many artists have lost their jobs and immediate source of income. How might we connect artists and the regular consumers, transferring the cultural experience into the living room?
  • Bars, restaurants and cafes have been closed and public spaces pose a high-risk for infections. How might we help people to remain sociable, have fun and find new forms of relaxation?

+ MANY OTHER OPEN CHALLENGES