& collaboration for a better world
In early 2019, as part of my MA in Media Practice for Development & Social Change (University of Sussex), I conceptualized Daan, a platform that facilitates volunteering and collaboration for a better world.
How does Daan operate?
Daan is a web-based platform that tries to bridge gaps (of distance, communication, clarity etc) to help you get connected to like-minded people and organizations who share your ideas for social impact. This is not a job or internship hunting portal but one that encourages and seeks to bring people together to collaborate and collectively build a better world- either through volunteering or collaborating in a local, remote or international capacity, for a cause they feel passionate about. The portal is packed with opportunities for connecting and co-learning and uses digital tools to refocus on the original change agents - people and communities themselves.
How did I arrive at the idea?
As a development professional, I relied heavily on volunteers and interns for my work during my stint at NGOs in India. I realized that this space was rife with communication gaps, misunderstandings, and mismanagement especially when a number of volunteers were on-boarded by an NGO. Also, smaller collaborative projects in communities could not get noticed or take help from the knowledge available to people beyond their immediate communities but could learn so much from others' experiences as we are all facing similar issues all over the world (poverty, poor social access etc).
Moreover, volunteers' work in any country contributes to work worth millions of dollars (going by multiplying the minimum wages with the number of work done by volunteers annually) that goes unnoticed. This work transcends boundaries of location, organization, class, gender etc. Therefore, at Daan we decided to tackle the problems faced by all the stakeholders and create a world full of meaningful collaborations and transparency.
After researching about volunteerism and how NGOs and individuals find each other, we came up with this initial prototype. At the University of Sussex, I researched about volunteering practices in United Kingdom, Germany, and India while interviewing and collaborating with people from all over the world, to arrive at a product that helps people collaborate/volunteer anywhere and everywhere.
Design Research: Participatory Design and Interviews
To arrive at a workable solution via a digital application, I used design thinking strategy.
Using specifically participatory design (by including my ultimate users while I designed and iterated Daan's prototype) and interviews I arrived at the current user experience of Daan.
Daan, in Sanskrit means 'to give', and takes inspiration from this practice (of giving, to other individuals in need) that is common to all cultures around the world. The word 'Daan' also has Scandinavian roots (meaning 'God as my judge') and in Philippine, it means 'road' or 'way'.
All these translations only added value to the concept. Our brand color palette has been carefully chosen to be accessible to the audience with visual impairments.