ALL DIGITAL Awards 2020 finalists: Connect Your City

Digital Resource Finalist: Connect Your City

Website: http://www.connectathens.gr

Year created: 2019

Resource owner: IASIS NGO

PURPOSE AND INNOVATION

CONNECT YOUR CITY is a mobile application designed to make volunteering more accessible with the usage of gamification. The application aims to bridge active youngsters with opportunities and also to create a call to action for all young people. In a few words, we aim to turn volunteering into a game.

The main concept of the application is that young people aged 16–30 can find inside the app different challenges to complete. The challenges have various content that has been built around each and every possible interest that a youngster may have (e.g., sports, arts, environment, social impact). With the completion of a challenge, a youngster gets points that can be exchanged for privileges from the NGO (e.g., Erasmus+ trips, gifts from sponsors). It is a virtual game that is implemented in the real world.

This app is an innovation that combines experiential learning with technology. It has been built by youngsters for youngsters, utilizing the power of mobile phones for good.


IMPACT

The methodology of the app was "beta-tested" in the summer of 2019. During this period, about 200 youngsters joined the activities. From August 2019, the app was in development and after a testing period, it has been publicly open from June 2020. Until then, 200 people have downloaded the app, and 300 challenges have been completed. Right now we are running a competition with challenges from collaborating NGOs, and it is estimated that 2,000 people will download the app until September. Our ultimate goal is to reach 30,000 downloads by the end of the year.

Youngsters taking part in the challenges can expect to get involved in situations that will greatly enhance their soft skills (communication, teamwork) and also widen their knowledge on various topics from learning by doing.

One success story is that we had a volunteer who was very shy and lacking various skills. Through our events, she managed to build her social self to a point where she even got a job in our NGO.

SCALABILITY / TRANSFERABILITY

The whole concept of the app can be versatile, and it has proven to be adaptive through various social obstacles. Started as a social game that helps youngsters build several skills, the app was modified during the COVID-19 period to assist with the difficulties that emerged. We managed to create a team of volunteers that helped social vulnerable groups during the quarantine by providing them with their groceries and pharmacy needs. This action was organized thanks to the app, which also helped us gather volunteers that wanted to offer their services during these harsh conditions.

Through our extensive network built by many collaborations in the field of European projects, we have a clear image of the situation with young audiences around Europe. Each country has different priorities to focus on, and as an NGO active in European Projects since 2008, we have also developed a vast toolbox that we can use to modify the application according to the local needs of a specific country in Europe.

In order for the app to be fully functional, the bellow resources need to be covered:

- one full-time content manager

- one full-time volunteer coordinator

- monthly technical support expenses

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