Tech for Good – Accessibility & Inclusivity
In 2019, the World Bank projected that 2.5% of Malaysians lived in hunger. With a population of almost 32 million, over 800,000 people and 12% of Malaysian children were living on 2 or fewer meals a day, resulting in 1 in 5 children experiencing stunted development.
The impact of the COVID-19 epidemic in 2020 shifted the poverty line to 5.6% of the population. This meant that around 1.8 million Malaysians were suddenly going hungry and that 5 million were now classified as vulnerable.
There were hundreds of thousands of daily food relief requests, but applicants struggled to get assistance. Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) wanted to help, but they could only work with their limited resources and often in isolation from each other.
NGOs are usually started by people who want to help but don’t know much about technology. They work manually, relying on email and spreadsheets, decreasing their capacity to help the large volume of people in need. They are unaware of the benefits technology can bring their organisation and the people they are trying to help.
Zer0hunger is a platform created to address hunger in Malaysia using technology. The platform instantly connects NGOs, fulfilment partners, funding channels and government agency partners to people in need.
Zer0hunger wants to scale support without increasing costs – raising funds and collecting donations, enabling more people in need to be helped, optimising logistics and speeding up the time to deliver aid.
Zer0Hunger provides a platform where people can apply for assistance, or NGO’s can do so on their behalf. An application for assistance containing their contact details, support needs, circumstances, and other considerations (e.g. religion, dietary requirements, refugee status etc.) is entered into the application.
Fulfilment partners can register their interest to provide support, and in which areas they can offer assistance (e.g. food boxes, medicine, sanitary needs, cash etc.). They can also use the portal to view applications for assistance within their radius of coverage that match their area of assistance expertise.
The platform provides the NGO caring for applicants with the information they need to fulfil the request and alerts all interested parties that assistance is being arranged, avoiding double-ups and allocating resources fairly. A dashboard provides an overview of people in need of fulfilment partners.
The platform manages the workflow of providing assistance, including delivery details, directions and an expected arrival time. Inbuilt fraud detection features reassure applicants, fulfilment partners and NGOs that all parties involved are genuine. Data gathered via the platform assists the Malaysian government in understanding what type and how many applications exist within each parliamentary zone, empowering them to offer funding assistance in different parts of the country as required.
Hunger spots are geolocated and easily viewed on a map. The platform also coordinates the supply chain efficiencies to mitigate duplication and wastages.