South African Tech Community Throngs To Support Government Fight Covid-19 Threat

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Hundreds of volunteer Information and Communication Technology (ICT) professionals have contributed data, tools and skills to create a vulnerability map that shows the communities that are most at risk of COVID-19.

This map has been presented to a Presidential planning meeting, technology job portal OfferZen co-founder Malan Joubert said in a release on Thursday.

He elaborated that OfferZen and ICT industry stakeholders quickly moved to work together to look for ways to help address the effects of the crisis. In response to a request from the University of Pretoria for assistance to support the government to fight the spread and impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, the company created a WhatsApp group for people who wanted to support.

He added, “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 the government in combating this threat.”

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The initiative is called ‘Project Unlockdown’ and aims to recruit volunteers from the community, mobilize them and help solve problems.

Joubert emphasized, “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 project the economic impacts of the pandemic.”

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 commended South African ICT professionals for stepping up to apply their skills to overcome the crisis.

IITPSA CEO Tony Parry said, “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.”

 

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