Hundreds of volunteer information and communication technology (ICT) professionals have contributed data, tools and skills to develop a vulnerability map that illustrates the communities most at risk from the Covid-19 pandemic.
This map has been presented to a Presidential planning meeting, technology job portal OfferZen co-founder Malan Joubert says in a release on Thursday.
OfferZen and ICT industry stakeholders quickly moved to work together to look for ways to help address the impacts of the crisis. In response to a request from the University of Pretoria for assistance to help the government fight the spread and impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company created a WhatsApp group for people who wanted to help, he explains.
"But the group grew so quickly that OfferZen had to spin out an application (app) using no-code/low-code tools to manage all the volunteers and their inputs. The Presidential planning members were very excited that they could get answers so quickly, and officially requested OfferZen’s assistance in recruiting and coordinating volunteers from the tech community to support government in combating this threat,” he adds.
The initiative is called ‘Project Unlockdown’ and sets out to recruit volunteers from the community, coordinate them and help solve problems.
"We now have six OfferZen staff and hundreds of people from the tech community involved. Among the projects the volunteers are now working on are a track and trace project, coordinating the maker community to rapidly manufacture medical equipment, and projecting the economic impacts of the pandemic,” Joubert says.
He calls on all South African technology professionals to volunteer their services at Project Unlockdown by visiting https://www.offerzen.com/community/unlockdown/volunteer/.
The Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA), a partner in this year’s first virtual DevConf Life developer conference, which started on April 2, has lauded South African ICT professionals for stepping up to apply their skills to overcoming the crisis.
“We believe ICT professionals have a duty of care to use their skills and tools for the good of society, and initiatives such as this one illustrate how quickly and efficiently we can address problems if we work together for a common good,” says IITPSA CEO Tony Parry.