Family looking at touchscreen in store

Reaching More Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Twilio Helps Fundación Paraguaya Reach More Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Yannie Yip and Alice Cai, Twilio Team4Tech Employee Volunteers

Previous Twilio Project: In May 2019, a group of Twilions (Twilio employees) traveled to Paraguay to work with the nonprofits Fundación Paraguaya and Penguin Academy to host a series of workshops and further develop the Poverty Stoplight platform. Poverty Stoplight is a tool that provides a poverty assessment survey and coaching for families to help them access the resources they need to break the cycle of poverty. The team helped build a solution with Twilio APIs to integrate WhatsApp into the tool so that families who take the Poverty Stoplight survey can receive digital results and follow-up notifications. To learn more about what the team accomplished last year, see this article.

2020 Virtual Project: Fast forward to 2020. Fundación Paraguaya has seen a positive adoption of Poverty Stoplight as it has been implemented in 29 countries with over 100,000 users. Because of COVID-19, many companies fast-tracked their technology integrations, and Fundación Paraguaya saw a need to collect information from their constituents so that community-based organizations and government agencies could better understand underserved populations’ COVID-19 needs. With the ambitious goal of rolling out to approximately 70,000 families in Paraguay, Fundación Paraguaya looked to Team4Tech and Twilio to build out a more robust application.

A Word from the Volunteers: Since we were the two Twilio engineers who worked on the initial solution in Paraguay last year, we were excited for the chance to return and take on this project – this time remotely. We provided consultation and hands-on prototyping: The Stoplight Assistant Bot enables Poverty Stoplight clients to request a digital version of their life map or tips to help solve some indicators, while the Location Gather Bot collects the location data of potential clients. With initial design flows provided by Poverty Stoplight, we were able to work together to transform them into an MVP (Minimum Viable Product, or prototype) using Twilio WhatsApp and Studio.

This fully remote project was a striking contrast to the previous year where we traveled across continents to work face-to-face with our nonprofit client. A silver lining was that months of working from home had prepared us well. The team communicated over weekly video calls and utilized a shared chat channel for asynchronous efficiency. The continuous momentum meant a fun, fast-paced environment that kept morale high and helped the team complete its weekly deliverables. Despite many changes to the ways of collaboration, one unwavering element was our focus on empowerment. More than just working toward the project goals, we made sure to provide Fundación Paraguaya the knowledge and resources necessary for their developers to continue enhancing the application going forward. In the final team reflection, not only did we celebrate accomplishments beyond our initial objectives, we unanimously shared positive feedback about the efficient and inclusive teamwork.

As uncertainties in the year of 2020 continue to unfold, our successful virtual collaboration is a great example of how volunteering efforts do not have to take a pause. We can and should take the opportunity to leverage our skills and maximize our impact in extraordinary times. We’re grateful for Team4Tech who continues to bridge the gap between technology and nonprofits, and for Fundación Paraguaya who gave us another amazing opportunity to give back to communities in need. We’re excited to keep witnessing the growth of the Poverty Stoplight platform and the impact it will have on their beneficiaries!