Social media platforms get a bad rap for being purveyors of fake news and FOMO (that’s Fear of Missing Out, in case you were out of the loop). However, it’s the users who are spreading misinformation, not Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp. The platform is merely the messenger, which gets inadvertently shot (targeted, in this case) for conveying the message.
However, with social media becoming more responsible, this negative perception is changing slowly. During the pandemic, WhatsApp enabled several social impact organizations across the nation to take their relief efforts to people in India. Robin Hood Army launched a dedicated WhatsApp number +918971966164 where senior citizens could get help with their vaccination process. Says Neel Ghose, Founder, The Robin Hood Army, “WhatsApp has been a very important medium for our volunteer groups across the country to stay connected and serve our local communities. A large part of our everyday communication with our 100,000 volunteers across 227 cities happens through decentralised WhatsApp groups.”
WhatsApp is now proactively getting involved in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The popular chat and video calling app will train and support 100 NGOs in using the platform for community engagement. WhatsApp is inviting social impact organizations working in India to register for a two-day event titled Chat for Impact Bootcamp.
Any NGO wanting to launch a WhatsApp helpline to support their work and engage their communities should sign up for the Chat for Impact Bootcamp. Registration closes at midnight on 30 July, 2021. The bootcamp scheduled for August 11 and 12 – in partnership with Praekelt.org – will be hosted by Turn.io. One hundred organizations that meet the criteria will attend the two-day Bootcamp, which includes online sessions, pre-event work, and a follow-up session.
The Chat for Impact Bootcamp is a follow-on from the recent Chat for Impact Summit powered by WhatsApp which saw 30 organizations participating in two days of training to advance their goals of addressing societal issues using WhatsApp as a communication tool. “During the Chat for Impact Summit last month, we identified a need for a bootcamp to support organizations in India working in COVID-19 relief and other areas impacted by the pandemic, including women’s empowerment and rights, legal rights and education. Organizations that are ready and strategically focused to build and drive a successful WhatsApp API should register,” says Simon de Haan, Co-Founder of Turn.io.
“Technology has been the most critical instrument in helping India win against Covid-19. As an easy and accessible platform, WhatsApp has been a preferred medium for several government institutions, municipal corporations, civic actors and volunteer groups to take Covid-19 relief efforts and information to people at scale. Through the Bootcamp, we look forward to supporting more solutions and working with social impact organisations to continue contributing meaningfully,” says Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India.
100 selected organizations will not only receive training via the two-day virtual Chat for Impact Bootcamp, they will also get a free WhatsApp helpline for their NGO, a free Turn.io licence for 6 months to help them manage and automate their WhatsApp service, and 100,000 free messaging credits for their service until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.