Our team is building a variety of tools so that every refugee aid group can find something on the Distribute Aid platform to help them. We see ourselves as a second line of support for aid groups working directly with newcomers on the ground. The projects that these groups run include:
Human Rights Monitoring
How We Help
Our broad view and close relationships with groups all over Europe allows us to help in a unique way on a continent-wide scale. We want to increase the efficiency and impact of existing efforts and enable aid groups to start new projects. Each group can pick and choose the tools that are best suited for their individual needs.
Discover & Connect
Information about aid groups is spread out across each group’s website and facebook page. This makes it very hard to discover new groups to work with. Our platform gives you a single place to search, complete with a map and filters to make it easy to find groups to connect with. You can even see “friends-of-friends” to increase trust at the start of a new collaboration.
The refugee aid movement is constantly shifting to adjust to the political landscape and meet the changing needs of newcomers. In addition, there is a naturally high rate of volunteer turnover. You can follow other groups to see all of their key contact details in one place and receive notifications when their availability or contact information changes. You can also track your collaboration history with the groups you work with, so that new coordinators can get up to speed without missing a beat.
Track Inventory & Needs
Collection and distribution groups each work with multiple partner organizations so there is a lot of overhead when figuring out what each group has or needs. You can track your own inventory and needs, highlight specialty items such as computers, and discover the inventory and needs of all of your partners. This makes it easy to plan shipments and send the right donations.
Collaborate on Aid Shipments
Sending a shipment of aid is an involved process. Activities include donation drives, sorting and packing days, route planning, and navigating customs just to name a few. You and your collaborators plan these activities and track key milestones in one place. You can even include multiple senders to make sure a full shipment goes out, or multiple receivers to share the love and include smaller groups in larger shipments.
The idea for Distribute Aid came about when the two co-founders, Sara and Taylor, were volunteering at a mid-sized grassroots refugee aid group in Scotland. While it was amazing to discover the impact that 15 people and a warehouse could have, we couldn’t help noticing the need for tools to help make the donation cycle easier.
We have since spent months visiting and volunteering in refugee camps and aid donation centers to better understand the needs on the ground. This included meeting with over 30 grass-roots and well-established refugee aid groups in seven countries to ensure that we are designing tools that directly address the most pressing problems that these groups face. Throughout this process we were consistently told about inefficiencies in the current aid supply chain (difficulty connecting to other organizations and communicating pressing needs, inability to easily track shipments and manage inventory, etc.) that prevent aid organizations from reaching their full potential.
These are all problems that can be effectively addressed through the provision of digital resources; resources we have the capacity to build.