Helping in times of crisis: XWiki and the Social Emergency Center

22 May 2020 5 min read

The coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) has taken the world by surprise. Some people have described it as an episode of Black Mirror that they want to turn off, while others have said that they feel like the entire world is upside down. (The Mental Health Foundation). However, it has also shown us the power of kindness and humanity. As showcased in John Krasinski's Some Good News, people all around the world are giving their best to comfort others. Whether it's neighbors helping each other, doctors, nurses, firefighters, police officers and volunteers making sure we are all safe, or organizations donating goods, money, and resources, humanity is marching through the crisis one good deed at a time. Here at XWiki, we prioritized helping organizations by offering 3 months of XWiki Cloud for free, 50% discount for services, free XWiki Cloud for Open Source projects, and increased the storage space for CryptPad instances to 1GB. Learn more about the offers.

One of the organizations that we worked with early on was the Civica Association, a local NGO that was working to help vulnerable people get much-needed help and resources. They partnered with other local NGOs, and under the Romanian Federation of Non-Governmental Organizations for Social Services (FONSS) umbrella started the Social Emergency Center


The Social Emergency Center poster encouraging elders to stay at home and ask for help via their call-center

Starting with March 2020, the Social Emergency Center offered support solutions for social emergencies, quarantined people, medical staff, or patients affected by COVID-19. This involved (but is not limited to) supporting citizens with information services, psychological support, and humanitarian assistance for the elderly and isolated. One of their most popular services is the call-center, with people calling in to offer or ask for help, food, medicine, and comforting.

In Romania, the lockdown measures were strong, and leaving your home could only be done based on an affidavit proving the necessity of said action. The Center had a big influx of volunteers willing to answer the phone, deliver goods, and help those that asked for help, but without proving the necessity of their help, they faced fines and even a criminal record for thwarting the fight against the pandemic. Here's where we were able to help, with an XWiki Cloud instance and 4 personalized apps.

1. The Volunteer Enrollment App

To streamline the enrollment, we have implemented a completely digitalized process, through which the new volunteers create a contract with all the necessary data, they export it into .pdf and sign it online. Afterward, the NGO's representatives are notified and they process the contracts on their side. All the contracts are now centralized online, and like that, the volunteers are able to justify their humanitarian mission.  

2. The Safety Training App

Before starting their work, all the volunteers are being trained on how to approach cases, interact with the elderly, the hospitals, and other entities. Their safety is highly important, therefore there was special attention given to this step. Instruction sheets are created by each volunteer and after going through the training, they sign the .pdf document generated, confirming their preparation. The documents are then processed by a specialist that confirms if the volunteer is ready to start.

3. The Affidavit App

This was the most used app, as the volunteer team has had numerous interventions. They were able to fill in a statement in one minute, export it into .pdf, sign it electronically, and go on with their mission.

Moreover, we created a Volunteer Certification App, a custom workflow that generates a new certificate by duplicating the last one and allowing you to modify the input data. That ended up not being needed, as volunteers were given identification tags from the town hall.

Much of the work was conducted by our project manager, Ștefana Nazare, with the help of our Support and Cloud teams. Our entire team is very happy to have helped volunteers offer kindness and help to those in need, without losing too much time with paperwork. 

Do you know an NGO that might need help with information and processes management?
We're ready to help. Schedule a call with one of our account managers.

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