After an inspiring weekend at Techfugees Oslo, Skiwo’s contribution – SkiwoGO – made it into the event’s top three projects.

Competing with 11 other projects, we pitched SkiwoGo on Sunday afternoon for a jury consisting of, among others, the CEO of kolonial.no, Karl Munthe-Kaas. Along with the projects Heart to Heart and Kom Inn, we  presented SkiwoGo at the press opening of Oslo Innovation Week, where Kom Inn was awarded first place.

Even though we didn’t take first place, we’re very happy with the feedback we received throughout the weekend, and all the good work we put in. We’ll definitely stay in touch with Techfugees and will continue to work on pushing SkiwoGo out on the market.

Techfugees: Skiwo and JustArrived.se

So what is SkiwoGo? Where Skiwo helps companies and government organisations with interpretation services, SkiwoGo is a simple app for refugees who arrive in a country without knowing the language.

Using a quick video chat, refugees can connect directly with a network of multilingual volunteers to get help with small and large language issues. The volunteers, meanwhile, are rewarded with points for each call they take, and the points can be redeemed for offers and vouchers at selected partner stores.

Our colleague Mohamad, a former refugee from Syria, knows very well how small language issues can escalate into large problems without the right tools. Mohamad often gets calls from other refugees, or even his Syrian aunt here in Oslo, when they need help to understand something – everything from reading a letter in Norwegian to booking a doctor’s appointment. This was our inspiration for the project, and we have to say we’re very happy with the final result.

In addition to Mohamad, Gautam, Rodney and Jørn, we also had help this weekend from Jacob Burenstam from Just Arrived. Just Arrived is an excellent Swedish platform which connects newly arrived refugees with job opportunities at Swedish companies, and was recently recognised as one of Sweden’s top ten social innovations in 2016. If you have anything at all to do with Sweden in your line of work, we strongly recommend getting in touch with Just Arrived.

Throughout the weekend over 150 people were involved in Techfugees Oslo, which is only one of many “hackathons” that Techfugees stage across the globe, from Lahore to Lisbon and Sydney to San Francisco. Hackathons are hectic events where the tech industry meets up to bring ideas to reality through a weekend of programming and design.

With the right technology in place, many of the challenges refugees face today can be overcome by much simpler solutions – but first someone has to create that technology. That is why Skiwo and all the others spent many long hours at the Finn.no office in central Oslo this weekend. Thanks also to Schibsted Media for supporting Techfugees in Norway, and to everyone else who weas there. Hope to see you all again soon!

In the meantime, please check out our full set of interpretation services, download our Android app, or sign up as an interpreter: https://www.tikktalk.com/en/.

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