It is always inspiring to meet one’s peers and learn from them, and this opportunity was recently presented to 12 nonprofits at the Chat For Impact accelerator – a 3-day workshop where nonprofits came together and worked on integrating WhatsApp into their social impact programs. Through this accelerator, each organization got a chance to further its work in the chat space, and build a cohesive and supportive community.
The workshop was organized by Project Tech4Dev and was led by the wonderful trio from Turn.io – Pippa, Neelke, and Shaun. We kickstarted the day at 9 am and introduced ourselves to the audience in an interesting way – along with their name, each person shared a “pearl of wisdom” with everyone else. Initially, most people looked stumped at the ask, but eventually, each person came up with heartening and encouraging stories and phrases. The crowd’s favorite story was that of a 6-year-old nephew teaching his uncle to not give up on a task too soon!
After the fun introductions, we moved on to learning about Turn’s work and discussing case studies of various social organizations. This session gave us an insight into the strong social impact work happening globally and sparked new ideas of using chat in our programs. And as no workshop is complete without some tea, we broke for tea after this session and spent some time chatting with our peers.
Post this refresher came one of the most interesting parts of the day – presentation of use cases. Each organization – armed with chart paper, pens and exciting ideas – spent 20 minutes in silence and wrote about their work and their plan for using WhatsApp to further social good. After this short brainstorm, each organization took 5 minutes to discuss their work with the audience. This was a perfect opportunity for all of us to understand the commendable work our peers were planning and doing. To state a few examples – Indus Action will build a chatbot to support parents in the RTE admission process; Dost Education will conduct guided conversations with parents of young children to enhance their understanding of early learning; and Digital Green will provide the right strategies, tools, and techniques to farmers. This session led to a lot of learning and most of us understood some new strategies and ideas to take back home.
In the latter half of the day, Turn further spoke about its work and stressed on the “human in the loop” aspect of a quality chat – a factor each nonprofit will surely keep in mind. In this age of misinformation on WhatsApp, it is imperative to ensure that organizations don’t lose the human touch to keep the trust of their users intact. Eventually, we closed the day with some more tea and left the Edelweiss office with a strong grip on Turn’s product. We all connected with some old acquaintances made some new friends, and eagerly awaited Day 2 to dive into Turn’s prototype platform and bring our ideas to fruition. Big shout out to Tech4Dev for this wonderful platform!