What’s your idea?
I want to create a platform where people on international trips can volunteer their free time between official activities to a meaningful venture that makes maximum use of their skills. This platform should combine a web platform with a mobile phone platform.
On this portal, universities can find visiting professors, hospitals can find visiting nurses, feeding centres can meet 5 star chefs, Joe the plumber can fix the drains of an orphanage etc.
Not everyone can go on a trip abroad solely for the purpose of volunteer but if it was an add-on to a vacation or a business trip, more people might do it
What is the social need or challenge your idea could address?
The amount of useful man-hours that get lost doing nothing by active and skilled people during international travel is huge. This is even more annoying when there is a possibility that in the free time they have, there is possible a venture one street away that could make use of their time and talent.
Civic engagement and volunteering is promoted as a worthwhile activity however the biggest barrier on an international scale is cost of involvement. This idea seeks to reduce this as the costs are bundled into the cost for other activities.
Many people in the developing world Diaspora would like their visits home to be developmental as well as relaxing. This idea seeks to do this by providing them information on things they can do while on these trips home.
The developing world could use all the help it can get in its transformation and this ideas adds another level of human resource to the game
What’s really new about your idea?
The general framework of the idea isn’t new, we are just taking things that already exist and re-using them in a new way. However seeks to re-define international volunteering as a lower cost of entry venture.
It also changes the way people get to experience places they visit on business or for pleasure. It also expands social contact during international travel.
From a technical point of view, integrating mobile phones into the portal is critical as this reduces the barrier of entry for people in developing countries whose access to the internet is slow, expensive and hard to get to.
What inspired you to come up with your idea in the first place?
This idea was prompted by a recent visit to Nigeria on vacation when I had a lot of free time when my friends and family were at work.
I would have liked to use the time for something more meaningful than watching movies. I was also reminded of having similar challenges in different countries I had gone to on trips in the past. The structure of idea was sparked off at the ‘New Ideas for Africa’ ideas evening which I run monthly.
From 1-5, what stage of development would you say your idea was in?
What can we do for you?
I would need, in this order: a geek, mentor and a funder.
If Social Innovation Camp is able to help push your idea forward, do you have the time or desire to take ownership of it?
This idea was submitted by Femi Longe.
Femi is moving into self-employment after working for 2 years at the Young Foundation as Project Lead for the UpRising Leadership Programme. He is now running a social innovation company for Africa called Africa++.