the alternative legal aid tech
connecting individuals to the right organisations

The Project

Imagine being a refugee who has lost everything. Where do you turn for help? How do you know what assistance is even available to you and what your rights are? Today, we are overrun with information that is overwhelming and difficult to navigate. Access to tailored and trustworthy information is absolutely essential for individuals in precarious and often life-threatening situations.

Our societies already have all the resources and information needed to help people escape vulnerable situations. For the individual, it is easy to get lost in a bureaucratic maze amongst the numerous organisations and specialties that exist. On the aid agency’s side, however, addressing an individual’s particular needs, requires time and resources.

Kona Connect’s legal team, together with students and expert volunteers from around the world, are developing a tool to connect people in need to the organisations best equipped to help them. This tool – a legal aid chatbot – accessible 24/7 through any smartphone device, will automatically guide its users, whilst simultaneously reducing aid agencies’ staggering workloads, freeing up time to help more individuals.

How does it work?

Once launched, you only need to go to the app store, download Dots. and answer some guided questions so Dots. can narrow down the agencies that are in the best position to help you. Once completed, Dots. will show you the selection of organisations to contact with their information. 

How is it being built?

The mapping of the vast amount of information out there and the large number of organisations needs to be approached strategically. This is why we categorise the different issues and available help through the structure of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

What’s the story behind this project?

Our Founder and very own human rights expert, Rhiana Spring, brought this project to Kona Connect. Rhiana had already been mapping the aid agencies landscape since 2018. While stationed in Senegal with the United Nations, Rhiana met five inspiring refugees who had been knocking on doors of different organisations for over five years, trying to enroll their children into school, and solve a range of other issues. But little to nothing had been done to help their situation. After trying – to no avail – to mobilise various agencies to help these five refugees, Rhiana decided to turn to her own network to get these determined and resilient refugees the help they needed and deserved.

Rhiana spoke to everyone who would listen until one day over lunch she found the right person: A friend who had been living in Dakar for many years and was married to the director of a youth organisation. And just like that, within one weekend, three different solutions were found for these kids. A solution these refugees were adamantly looking for for over five years. All it took was one person who knew which specific organisation could help, and the children were enrolled within the month. The refugees knew what help they needed and the local organisations knew the right avenues to take. What remained was matching the need with the resource.

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