Haitham Al-Haidari, Co-founder and CEO of Modaris, speaks about Connecting for Care, and the contribution that Modaris is making to this initiative.
What is the Connecting for Care project and how does it work?
The project is a social technical solution. It works to connect as many workers as possible in Qatar with volunteers that speak their languages, providing them with a safe space to talk to people. It is also a platform to educate workers about certain aspects of what's happening right now with COVID-19, such as misconceptions and rumors and to make sure they understand that the smallest changes in our day-to-day behaviors can have a large positive shift with flattening the curve.
In terms of how it works – there is a page on Modaris where workers can log on, choose their language of preference, and then find the chatbox where they can connect with somebody. It's a very simple process.
Why is this project important for Modaris?
The reason this is different from others is that for the past couple of years Modaris has been growing in terms of connecting people. We've been recognized globally for our innovations; for connecting people in order to get a service. When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, we were one of the companies locally that was quick to respond. And because we operate in other countries, we were prepared to address the COVID-19 situation before it started to affect Qatar.
And with the right partners, we were able to find a project where we could use our experience and our unique structure to build something that is meaningful and productive. How did the collaboration with the various stakeholders come about?
The idea came from Qatar Foundation (QF) initially. Then we started talking to QF and Education Above All - Reach Out To Asia where we discussed how we could put together this plan, and the best way to roll it out.
The ministries then joined. They had a few questions at the start – understandably, as if we were to launch on a nationwide project, we needed to ensure that the project was regulated and aligned with what the country was doing on a wider level. Once these details were ironed out, the ministries came onboard officially, and have offered us a great deal of help and support.
The only way this program has been able to launch so quickly is because of the true team spirit behind this project. The responsibility for taking the lead did not fall on any one entity, and everyone contributed by harnessing their particular skills and strengths to meet the social needs of the community. How has the engagement been so far, and have you received any feedback from the workers?
Thousands of workers have already visited Modaris’ page and have connected with volunteers. And this is only a start – we can accommodate more people.
There has been some feedback in terms of the platform itself. We received requests to add more information regarding the current COVID-19 situation in Qatar, which we did. And we regularly receive feedback from our volunteers, so the platform is continuously updated. We try to update it in different languages so that we are able to reach as many people as possible. What is the timeframe of the project; how long will it run for?
We don't have a set timeline at the moment, but we see this is a short-term project that can help people right now. The project is designed to help in the battle against COVID-19, and we will keep going until we come out of this victorious.
What do you think will be Modaris’ biggest takeaway from this project?
We are a company that develops and innovates but we are not just for profit – we're here to support when and where we can. So, for us, the most important thing is that we have been able to help the country.
Therefore, we believe that the biggest takeaway will be showing how local companies can make a difference, that there are high-quality local companies – across all industries – that have the capabilities, and can really help.
We recommend that people who need a specific service look locally first, and see if they can source a company close-by, as there are solutions here. And then, if not, widen the search. I think we set a great example and I hope that people can learn more about our integrations and abilities.