Mobile Advisors is a name of a network of people who build competencies of local NGOs by sharing their knowledge on modern technologies. Although COVID-19 epidemic has turned most of methods of cooperation upside down, the Advisors haven’t given up. Here you can see how they help others at the time of crisis.
Each of a hundred of Mobile Advisors is different, lives in other place and has different job. They can be IT specialists, clerks, company owners, NGO representatives or even soldiers. However, they all have two traits in common: they are good in new technologies and want to help the others. The time of crisis makes an excellent opportunity to test the network and demonstrates that adaptation and flexible attitude can be critical for our survival.
The extent of support offered by Mobile Advisors is very big – starting from consultation, through training, to presentation of new technological solutions. Mobile Advisors are one of main pillars of Sector 3.0 – they are its base. In the present, very special situation, they have shown how quickly one can adjust to new challenges and react. Technologies give huge possibilities to provide remote assistance. Just look how Sector 3.0 Mobile Advisors do it at the time of pandemic.
One of the Mobile Advisors fundamental activities is improving digital competence of NGOs. Since most of people contacts have been limited to minimum, also Mobile Advisors had to follow the limitations. In no time, they have organized a series of training sessions teaching the skills needed to carry out distance work. The first workshops got so popular that they had to restrict registration of applicants to people involved in third sector only.
As Izabela Ferenc says: “I have had a profile on Facebook for quite a time; I inform there on digital tools and safety. I have been using the Internet communicators and working in that manner for a long time, so the quarantine is not a new situation for me. I use Messenger to answer questions and solve technical problems, and in some more complicated problems my son, an IT specialist, helps me.
I also post links to interesting resources on my profile so that organizations can benefit from them. Many pieces of my advice relate to financial or official matters – e.g. I’m often asked how to set up a Trusted Profile (confirmed electronic signature). As well as how to fill out the tax form remotely. Furthermore, I take fighting fake news as a personal challenge. I try to monitor my friends’ posts and react through a private message immediately if I see that someone is propagating fake news. I point it out and give advice on how they can recognize fake news in future,” Izabela Ferenc, a Mobile Advisor in Nieświnia, says.
Łukasz Wolanin says: “I am a teacher and some time ago I started to run a blog – uczfajnie.blogspot.com. I post there on applications, software, and other issues helpful in educating young people. I try to inform about those solutions which I have tested. The latest pandemic situation stimulated me to start vlogging. It is easier for me to share my knowledge that way. I’ve begun recording video tutorials and publishing them on YouTube.
My objective is to prepare school aids and tutorials for those teachers who want to apply new technologies in education. I post those videos on my channel and then paste them on my blog. Currently I’m collecting the material and thinking how to promote my channel. As a teacher I can see the need to show and share interesting ways of using new technologies in education.
Many teachers believe it is not for them, that this can’t be done, that one has to be an IT specialist to do that, or that they are too old to learn. I don’t agree with such attitude and I show that where there is a will, there is a way,” Łukasz Wolanin, a Mobile Advisor in Cieszanów, says.
They help to fight the epidemic
Some Mobile Advisors decided to take active part in fighting coronavirus epidemic and give support to medical staff. There are a lot of tutorials on the Internet informing what you need to do to join those who sew masks or produce devices for medics. The community of 3D designers is known to be willing to share their designs in open data bases. Thanks to them, all those who have suitable printers can help actively. Paweł Sikora, a Mobile Advisor in Żnin, decided to take advantage of that situation.
Paweł Sikora: “I used my experience as a Mobile Advisor, especially skills in 3D printing gained during Sector 3.0 Festival. I work at Promotion Department of Żnin Town Hall. Having obtained permission from Mayor of Żnin Robert Luchowski, my principal, I managed to put in one room four 3D printers bought for public schools as part of an EU project and under the #DrukarzeDlaSzpitali (#PrintersForHospitals) initiative we started to print visors at the Town Hall. For a couple of days we have been printing 16 visors per day. They go to the Communal Security Center and from there distributed among those who need them,” Paweł says.
Agnieszka Budzyńska says: “Volunteering is a state of mind, therefore in my free time I am sewing masks under a volunteer project of the Regional Volunteering Center (RVC) in Katowice. First RVC supported the Mask for A Medic campaign, and now it is implementing its own the Mask for A Senior campaign under which 2,000 masks have been sewn. Since Saturday they are being distributed through parishes, and on Thursday there will be a great finale of the campaign – the masks will be handed out in public places by volunteers.
Additionally, in cooperation with RVC and organizations supporting the homeless we want to obtain a 3D printer and print visors for people who don’t have access to running water or for other reasons need high quality reusable visors. I have sent the project of buying such equipment to PROO 5 (Civic Organization Development Program, 5th Priority – emergency assistance) and I am waiting for their decision. If it fails, I will try to obtain funding from Relief Fund for NGOs and Civic Organizations 2020 of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation,” Agnieszka Budzyńska, a Mobile Advisor in Świętochłowice, says.
They organize entertainment for the isolated
Because of the emergency situation, this year many events have been cancelled or postponed. Beata Matuszek, a Mobile Advisor in Rybnik, decided to take matters into her hands and make the local events available on the Internet.
Beata Matuszek says: “Working together with a local association, this year we are planning to organize the Museum Night in a slightly different way than in previous years. We will use opportunities that new technologies offer. The local history route will be available on izi.travel platform, so that everybody can walk on his own without a guide or online staying at home. It’s a great tool that allows to create audio guides for a museum or a gallery visits or walking routes. Here you can see our first sample created a few years ago. It is a local walk prepared by a few girls. We are going to use the experience gained to prepare even better and more interesting route this year,” Beata Matuszek says.
Each year the new reality makes us face new challenges. Many of them can be dealt with using new technologies, applications and modern tools. Mobile Advisors prove that adversities can be overcome if you are involved and proactive.
“It is a real test for our network. Fortunately, Mobile Advisors are active people who don’t sit on their hands, especially in situations when showing initiative is needed. As regards working remotely, it is especially important that we work using new technologies. That puts us in the role of a natural connector between people who want to get online and knowledge that makes it possible. Webinars, consulting, showing new solutions – all that is offered by the network and available for organizations that need such support,” Mobile Advisors network coordinator Filip Jędruch concludes.