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Online platform powered by Zendesk receives first-ever European Prize for Humanitarian Innovation

Award honors groups creating tech solutions to aid those impacted by natural disasters and crises

Published March 21, 2024

Zendesk Tech for Good partner, The International Rescue Committee’s Signpost Project, has won the inaugural European Prize for Humanitarian Innovation. The honor recognizes groundbreaking advancements in aiding vulnerable populations affected by environmental disasters and complex humanitarian crises.

The Signpost project deploys Zendesk advanced technology to create a digital lifeline for those impacted by emergencies worldwide. The platform delivers critical information in local languages, empowering people to navigate support services and make informed decisions. With the aid of Zendesk’s sophisticated multilingual support features, Signpost established assistance centers across more than 20 countries, achieving an impressive reach, and quickly scaling, as fast as within two days of a crisis onset. The operation has grown tenfold within the past three years.

How Zendesk contributes to Signpost’s success
Previously, Signpost’s foundation on incompatible systems posed a barrier to efficient communication and scalability. In a strategic move to enhance its operational capacity, the IRC and its Signpost partners sought the expertise of Zendesk in 2020. Zendesk’s impact on the IRC’s Welcome Center was a strong indication of potential benefits, leading to the deployment of the first Zendesk-supported Signpost platform in Colombia during the same year.

As a Tech for Good partner, Zendesk provides Signpost with free software and pro bono support to increase the scale of their humanitarian work. Using Zendesk as a base system for their program, Signpost can deploy its core offerings to any crisis within 48 hours. This support system includes:

  • A Zendesk-based omnichannel communication system that can manage messaging from major social platforms such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Telegram, and serve as a quick-deploy call center

  • Multilingual chatbots that help direct people to information before connecting them to a Community Liaison

  • Offline-functional websites that provide informational content supported in partnership with Google

  • Service maps that guide clients through service offerings, eligibility criteria, and contact information

  • Live reporting and analytics on the content of inquiries, the location of requests, and the popularity of social media posting and articles

Signpost then connects with a flexible toolkit of applications and integrations to meet project needs which may include cash distribution, identity verification, case matchmaking, user feedback tracking, case anonymization, document management, or process management. With their advanced tech stack, Signpost is well-positioned to proliferate a client-facing technology infrastructure across the humanitarian sector.

In the previous year alone, Signpost has successfully connected close to 40 million individuals with essential information, significantly impacting their decision-making processes and access to crucial services. Additionally, the Zendesk Foundation has provided over $1.5 million USD in unrestricted support to the IRC since 2019, affirming their ongoing dedication to refugees and asylum seekers on a global scale.

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