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Neighbory: The World's Small Town

A service sharing platform supporting the engagement of people on the move and host societies in community building with digital currency.

Photo of Gil De Palma

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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

International migrants bring with them tremendous potential to contribute to the economy, society, and cultural diversity of the country of destination. However, host countries often do not have a platform in which migrants and receiving societies can collaborate to build a cohesive community sharing the benefits of immigrant integration. Neighbory is a mutual giving platform that adopts the neighborly spirit of small towns, which fosters inclusion and upholds human welfare to encourage community building. Every member--either migrant or native--is considered a neighbor that can give and receive service; and every service is considered humanitarian action that is rewarded with digital currency Hylp. Neighbory's give-and-take economy is based on time banking. All services are treated equal, no matter the market value. One hour of work equals one Hylp. One hour of caring for elderly migrants earns one Hylp; one hour of teaching language earns one Hylp. Each Hylp can be used to obtain one hour of reciprocal service from other members. To illustrate Neighbory’s system: Local A provides one hour of legal work to help Migrant B, and earns one Hylp. Local A can then use that Hylp to receive one hour of accounting services from Migrant C. Now Migrant C has one Hylp to spend on one hour of resume writing assistance from Volunteer D or from other members. And so on. Neighbory facilitates social integration through three collaboration drivers: 1. Community-builder. Social features that bring migrants and local people together, encouraging collaboration to achieve the goals of integration. 2. Matchmaker. Aggregates sets of skills, matches givers with receivers, and automates the exchange. 3. Motivator. Rewards altruistic action with community currency that enables people on low incomes to avail of services that would otherwise be unaffordable to them. Neighbory turns the world into a small town and transforms migrants and locals into neighbors.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

Our solution is built primarily for the United States because it has the largest number of international migrants (around 50 million). Saudi Arabia, Germany, and the Russian Federation are our second target areas (around 12 million each). Third are the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (almost 9 million).

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

Without a clear access point for cooperation, migrants remain vulnerable and are likely to face exploitation at the hands of unscrupulous individuals, including human traffickers. Local sectors struggle to see issues with clarity and fail to engage in effective immigrant integration. Neighbory weaves migration and community integration together in a manner that engages migrants and host population in dynamic cooperation that is as local as possible and as international as necessary.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

Neighbory can produce positive outcomes for community members. Participation in mutual giving can help enhance a person's self-esteem, confidence, and skills. It expands social networks and friendships as it increases community involvement. Social integration subsequently produces community growth and improved quality of life. Neighbory provides opportunities for members to engage in meaningful activity to develop new skills and social contacts, which may also link to improved health and wellbeing.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

The engagement of migrants and native populations in community building can reap the benefits of dynamic social, economic, and cultural integration. Mutually beneficial exchanges between members can create social capital and can bolster the local economy. One of the best sources of social capital is an engaged and sustainable community, and Neighbory's core principle of reciprocal giving connects and strengthens community networks, developing social capital that allows members to share in the benefits.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

Neighbory believes that anyone—regardless of race, gender, age, skills, or location—can be a good neighbor to anyone. Nobody is so unskilled he has no help to give, and nobody is so skilled she has no help to receive. This reciprocal altruism can turn the world into a “small town” where people, migrants and natives alike, know, trust, and help each other.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

International immigrants often represent overlapping relationships. As they become a part of the receiving country, they simultaneously maintain and strengthen ties to their countries of origin. Contexts of immigrant integration also have a strong influence on migrant activities. For example, if international immigrants find themselves discriminated against, they often band together and adopt a defensive stance toward host societies. If there is no discrimination, migrant activities become more individualized. Most of the needs of immigrants for services are largely similar to the needs of the mainstream local population. However, the impact of ethnicity requires that the delivery of services has to be in culturally sensitive manner. Immigrant integration accounts for international migrants' ability to adapt to the host society’s prevailing social and cultural standards while influencing and changing them at the same time, creating a hybrid community.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

Neighbory enables the community to hurdle barriers to immigrant integration in three ways: 1. It creates a hybrid culture that reduces the social distance between international migrants and natives, taking into consideration the disparate requirements, capabilities, and aspirations of not only people on the move but also those of the citizens of the host nations; 2. It handles the complexity of managing a sustainable community engagement system with a give-and-take ecosystem that fosters inclusion, encourages reciprocal altruism, and makes both migrant workers and natives a part of the solution; and 3. Its reward system addresses the Value-Action Gap, a behavioral phenomenon that results in sizeable discrepancy between people’s knowledge, values, and intentions to engage in humanitarian service, and their observable positive action, which often becomes the pitfall of many volunteer organizations.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

Still looking for partners.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Platform: Creating a community or market that facilitates interaction between users and resources

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Blueprint: We are exploring the idea and gathering the inspiration and information we need to test it with real users.

Group or Organization Name

Neighbory

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

Gil De Palma, Neighbory's creator, comes from a family separated by international migration. There are around 2.3 million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) working abroad. His three sisters, now American and Canadian citizens, are among them. He created Neighbory to help international migrants, including his siblings, deal with immigrant integration issues even at a distance.

Type of submitter

  • We are not yet a registered organization but looking for collaborative partners

Organization Headquarters: Country

Philippines

Organization Headquarters: City / State

San Juan City
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Attachments (4)

How neighbory works.pdf

In a nutshell, here's how Neighbory can help solve one of the most significant challenges of our generation: integrating people on the move in countries of destination. Neighbory provides a dedicated platform where people in movement, receiving societies, host governments, humanitarian agencies, and NGOs can work together to build a cohesive community sharing the benefits of immigrant integration. And then our public-spirited platform rewards people's humanitarian action with community currency.

The Neighbor Makers.pdf

Neighbory's three collaboration drivers that support the engagement of people on the move and native populations in community building to reap the benefits of dynamic social, economic, and cultural integration.

Neighbory Quick Look.pdf

A quick reference to the Neighbory idea of providing a public-spirited platform that promotes inclusion and encourages collaboration among people on the move and host societies in community building, supported by community digital currency.

Neighbory_Entry.pdf

A short paper describing the Neighbory concept of fostering collaboration among people on the move, receiving countries, and organizations by rewarding humanitarian action on immigrant integration with readily usable and shareable digital community currency called Hylp.

20 comments

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Photo of Ikong James
Team

This looks like a really cool idea to explore.

Wish you the best of luck.

James Ikong

Photo of Gil De Palma
Team

Hi @Ikong James,

Thank you very much for your kind words. It means a lot to me. I submitted Neighbory at the last minute and I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to effectively convey the benefits of a humanitarian platform anchored in the mutual giving spirit of small towns, so your comments gave me a boost.

The Neighbory brief does not discuss the gaming mechanics I applied to make the platform practicable, beneficial, and fun for its users. (Oh, I’m a cause leader and a video game creator, by the way.) I described the system briefly in the attached short paper, but if a full paper is necessary, I will include strategies that can make Neighbory not only sustainable as a humanitarian platform but also viable as a gamified business model.

Just like your encouraging positive feedback, it will be wonderful to have experts, mentors, and the community help improve this idea that is close to my heart. And may our collaboration on OpenIdeo turn people from different parts of the world into caring "small town" neighbors.

Thanks,
Gil De Palma

Photo of Ikong James
Team

I love the enthusiasm and passion put into this idea just like the rest on the platform it's quite encouraging. I really look forward to giving you feedback and see this idea grow as we go through to the next phases of this challenge.

Best Ikong James 

Photo of Ikong James
Team

Talking about feedback I'm curious to know more about how the platform will actually come to life/visualise it for us.
You could refer to the community research toolkit here: https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/5a147545b687370001bfd10c/5d1669526ad3cb33291bf633_User-Experience-Interview.pdf and the prototyping toolkit here https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/5a147545b687370001bfd10c/5d1669546ad3cba5e81bf634_Prototyping%20Toolkit_BB2019.pdf as a guide to help you visualize the idea.
Excited to see the idea grow

Photo of Gil De Palma
Team

Ikong James Thanks again for the encouragement and the tip. I'll take a look at it. Neighbory is designed to bring people together and contribute to the betterment of communities. Even other project creators on OpenIdeo can possibly use Neighbory's mutual giving system to enhance the implementation of their ideas. Will be eager to receive your feedback. Cheers!

Photo of Ikong James
Team

Hi Gil De Palma now im even more curious to know how we on the openideo can benefit from neighbory as another platform to actualise or share implementation processes on ground. Happy to see all this evlove and come to life along this challenge without deviating so much from the challenge brief.

Best,
James

Photo of Gil De Palma
Team

Hi Ikong James  I have just updated my idea description and I believe you’ll see the tremendous potential of integrating Neighbory into existing processes to enhance an organization’s project implementation.

In a nutshell, any organization can sign up for free and create a “small town,” its customized community page, to integrate Neighbory’s mutual giving ecosystem into its operation. Neighbory provides the social features to connect, engage, and grow the community as well as the Hylp reward system to encourage active participation in its project implementation.

An organization’s Neighbory small town can also connect with other small towns to form virtual “super towns” that support each other’s organization—idea sharing, asset sharing, service sharing, fundraising, and other possible ways—for the achievement of their goals.

I’ll try to write a more comprehensive post about creating a small town for organizations in the coming days.

Hope this helps explain some of Neighbory's benefits for organizations.

Best regards,

Gil

Photo of Ikong James
Team

This is quite interesting Gil De Palma i mean this is quite radical and innovative just like the many other ideas on the platform.

However, techincally i would love to know;-
1. How with platform ensure there is collaboration between hosts and migrants? Will it be a policy to run a small town qith the mixmash of people and how will they users percieve it??

2. How can one person in one town from a different country offer a service in another if they are contacted anf may want to offer the service but unable to do so?! ( expecially where thosr people offering the service maybe specialist and very specific)

3. Africa and some countries like uganda specifically are just begining to embrace digit trade in crypto currency how will the challenges associated with acceptance of the platform in some corners of the worl be over come?

4. Technically i want to know how the platform will ensure security of persons and its users as some migrants and people of the move maybe unable to avail services but maybe constrained by the nature of their security needs. Also criminals may take advantage of disguising as community service provider while instead targeting people to take advantage of so how will the platform ensure security along those lines.

Again thanks for the good work anf this deep insight on the platform. I look forward to learning more. Thanks

Best,

Ikong James 

Photo of Gil De Palma
Team

Ikong James  Your words of encouragement are precious to me, thank you very much.

I intend to make another idea update that includes your platform concerns, but for now, please allow me these brief answers.

1. How with platform ensure there is collaboration between hosts and migrants? Will it be a policy to run a small town qith the mixmash of people and how will they users percieve it??

Answer: First, Neighbory acts as an intermediary mechanism that supports the engagement of people on the move and host population in community building ideally in partnership with “traditional” organizations like UN agencies, Red Cross, governments, international non-governmental organizations and the private sector from different parts of the world. Second, Neighbory applies gamification strategies to make individual involvement easy and the collaboration process fun. Third, Neighbory rewards active participation with ready-to-use community currency.

Here’s a quick rundown on how to do it:

1. Offer Neighbory as a free platform that traditional organizations can adopt into their humanitarian programs to bridge the operational gaps involving effective immigrant integration, which often overwhelms the capacity of an individual organization. Neighbory can contribute to these organizations by addressing the changing concept and dynamic of migration with its greater focus on people in movement and host society collaboration. All that organizations have to do is endorse Neighbory, encourage their operational actors and community members to join (and preferably build a town), and the platform can take it from there.

2. Provide the tools and incentivizing mechanism to encourage the creation of towns. No one is left alone on Neighbory. Every member must belong to a town upon signing up, both for identity verification purposes and for community connection. A town is composed of at least one hundred friends and followers that agree to join one person’s or one organization’s Neighbory group. Towns can be built by inviting one’s circle of friends, by inviting migrants and locals, and by inviting organizations to be a part of the town. The town creator becomes the Mayor and gets Hylp rewards, badges, and other platform privileges. The Mayor also earns rewards every time a member provides services to other Neighbory members. Towns can link with one another, both horizontally (across towns in a local neighborhood) and vertically (upwards and downwards between global, regional, and national levels) to help and support each other.

3. Reward actions that promote reciprocal altruism with Hylp. Everyone who contributes to the community receives Hylp. This demonstrates that all members—migrants or locals—are valuable to the community. And with Hylp rewards, the community produces goods and services to serve its members.

All these to help users perceive Neighbory as an inclusive community that fosters collaboration as the main driver of immigrant integration.

(CONTINUED)

Photo of Gil De Palma
Team

(CONTINUED)

2. How can one person in one town from a different country offer a service in another if they are contacted anf may want to offer the service but unable to do so?! ( expecially where thosr people offering the service maybe specialist and very specific)

Answer: A service may not be fulfilled if distance restricts it. However, Neighbory’s Hylping Hands feature may help in this particular scenario. If personal service, traditional delivery, and online fulfillment, are not possible, the people may use this feature to ask other community members to help find the nearest person who can provide a similar service. They can also help create a pool of helpers that may donate Hylp to create a Hylping Hands service chain—providers of free ride, plane tickets, lodging, or anything that can help bring the giver and receiver together. With people looking out not only for their own interest but also for the interest of others, anything is possible.

3. Africa and some countries like uganda specifically are just begining to embrace digit trade in crypto currency how will the challenges associated with acceptance of the platform in some corners of the worl be over come?

Answer: Neighbory is designed like a video game. Simple and intuitive. The idea is similar to playing video games where users earn in-game currency. Most people can easily understand the concept even if they don’t know how crypto currency works. Hylp is really just the platform’s points reward system to a “community game” that challenges users to provide goods and services to other users to earn game coins. And they can use their Hylp game coins to continue playing and to buy goods and services too. It is that simple. Just like how video games have penetrated traditional education in different parts of the world, Neighbory will use gaming strategies to introduce the system in a manner that will make it easy for people to understand.

4. Technically i want to know how the platform will ensure security of persons and its users as some migrants and people of the move maybe unable to avail services but maybe constrained by the nature of their security needs. Also criminals may take advantage of disguising as community service provider while instead targeting people to take advantage of so how will the platform ensure security along those lines.

Answer: The first step is identity verification. Neighbory is a permissioned blockchain network that requires an invitation to join that must be validated by a town Mayor and a set of rules put in place by the platform. The second is, the exchange of goods and services runs on secure self-executing blockchain smart contracts that permit trusted transactions and agreements to be carried out. From the beginning to the providing and receiving of services, Neighbory knows who the user is and what he does. This helps ensure that existing users know the people who participate in their network. Neighbory comes with identity management tools that may also use a Membership Service Provider and an Open Authorization (OAuth) solution using Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Security starts with knowing who the user is to determine his role in the community and to use that role to determine whether he is a legitimate user who can provide and receive services.

Thanks again for your comment. If you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Best regards,

Gil

P.S. Oh, I have a question. My updates on PHASE: Review at https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/2019-bridgebuilder-challenge/review/neighbory-the-world-s-small-town do not reflect on the original idea I submitted at PHASE: Ideas at https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/2019-bridgebuilder-challenge/ideas/neighbory-the-world-s-small-town.

Is that how it is supposed to transition from idea to review phase? Or did I miss anything when I updated my idea?

Photo of Ikong James
Team

I think your fine the purpose of the improve stage is to refine our ideas and if you are already doing so i want to think there is no penalty of that, thats why we can ask each other questions to know how and where to refine our ideas to visualise the idea for the funders, users on the platform or review experts for their comments and/or assistance.

This said i must say i enjoy your idea and you make it interesting for me by stating it will be like a game i love games so im intrigued. However still, i now understand the online opperations but now i want you to visualise for me the offline bit, what is its practocality interms of collaborations what kind of collaboration will it be because i dont think both host and migrants accessing the platform qualifies as meaningful collaboration in my view and you can correct me if im wrong.

2. Mayors or organisations inviting friends or people they know, dont you think it will still achieve for both host and migrants using the platform together but rather still keep both of them in their comfortable groups with less chances to mingle and actually meaningfully collaborate.

3. Still i need more insight on security for example, say i am a criminal and i register my town. I get information about members from another town who might be migrants/host and i target them maybe for political, social or regious reasons that might in the first place forced them to flee their homes in case of migrants particularly refugess or just target other users because of their profiles.

4. Also how would you encourage actual collabration with the possibility of requesting for services that maynot require the reciever to be present while the service is provided and the security concern that may rise thereafter incase property is lost. What are those guarantees??

Photo of Gil De Palma
Team

Ikong James  Thanks for all your comments and encouragements.

Neighbory is not included in the shortlisted ideas. So its time on OpenIDEO has come to an end. I am grateful to everyone at OpenIDEO for giving me a chance to present my idea and meet people like you.

I’ll do my best to answer your questions. After you read my message, I might delete my Neighbory entry.

1. However still, i now understand the online opperations but now i want you to visualise for me the offline bit, what is its practocality interms of collaborations what kind of collaboration will it be because i dont think both host and migrants accessing the platform qualifies as meaningful collaboration in my view and you can correct me if im wrong.

Answer: According to a 2016 study by the International Monetary Fund (Impact on Migration by Florence Jaumotte, et al.) both high and low-skilled migrants complement the existing skill set and increase the GDP per capita of receiving economies by raising labor productivity. The effect: a 1 percent point increase in the share of migrants can raise GDP per capita by up to 2 percent. And the study finds that the benefits from immigration are generally shared. So the complementarities discovered in the microeconomic level are also relevant at the macro level. The United Nation’s IOM World Migration Report 2018 says, “Work is the major reason that people migrate internationally, and migrant workers constitute a large majority of the world’s international migrants, with most living in high-income countries and many engaged in the service sector.” With this in mind, Neighbory offers a platform that engages migrants and host communities and matches their skill complementarities in a mutual giving manner. A successful example of this system (minus community currency support) is Time Banking. It proves that all skills, all services, can be meaningful. Please take a look at the two Time Banking videos I already posted. For further information, please visit one of Neighbory’s idea inspirations: https://timebanks.org/what-is-timebanking/

2. Mayors or organisations inviting friends or people they know, dont you think it will still achieve for both host and migrants using the platform together but rather still keep both of them in their comfortable groups with less chances to mingle and actually meaningfully collaborate.

Answer: One of the proven ways to establish a community is to start with one’s circle of friends. Although some of them may even already have migrant friends. With that, one can easily mobilize peers to provide support and engage in migrant-host society connection and problem solving. Neighbory makes it easy for towns to link with other towns. A small town of locals connecting with a small town of migrants can break socio-cultural barriers and promote cooperation and effective community building. Why? Because their cooperation and skill complementarities will benefit them all. Two towns connecting and supporting each other can change the world. Now Imagine having a lot of interconnected towns in the platform.

(CONTINUED)

Photo of Gil De Palma
Team

(CONTINUED)

3. Still i need more insight on security for example, say i am a criminal and i register my town. I get information about members from another town who might be migrants/host and i target them maybe for political, social or regious reasons that might in the first place forced them to flee their homes in case of migrants particularly refugess or just target other users because of their profiles.

Answer: There will always be unscrupulous people in any platform. Fending them off will be a continuing process. Blockchain technology can help minimize their activities through transparency, vigilance, and cooperation. Mayors and their members will have tools to monitor activities in their towns and peers. All transactions are transparent, meaning, people can see the exchange of services and goods, plus the service ratings and user comments and recommendations. Requesting or providing email addresses, Skype/IM usernames, phone numbers or any personal contact details to communicate outside of the Neighbory network is not permitted. No link to other websites, no marketing messages, no referrals, no racist or abusive messages are allowed. Service providers can contact receivers only to complete a service or to answer service related questions. Neighbory keeps a record of all giver-receiver communication. All messages are encrypted. Also, users can easily report abuse so Neighbory can act accordingly. There are other ways to handle security issues, which may be too technical to discuss here, but rest assured that Neighbory puts user security on top of its priorities.

4. Also how would you encourage actual collabration with the possibility of requesting for services that may not require the reciever to be present while the service is provided and the security concern that may rise thereafter in case property is lost. What are those guarantees??

Answer: The ideal Neighbory collaboration is similar to Time Banking with Hylp rewards (please see the videos and reference website again) At least two persons must interact to bring about collaboration and it is always encouraged for both of them to be physically present to achieve or do something. However, if that is not possible, the receiver can use the Neighbory Hylping Hands to request help from a trusted person who can monitor the service provider fulfill the service. Hylp reward for the trusted watcher is equivalent to the time spent watching the provider. You’ll be amazed at how many of these collaborations can be done online, just look at the how the freelancing websites Upwork (https://www.upwork.com/) and Fiverr (https://www.fiverr.com/) make it happen. You’ll see people from all over the world working together to achieve their goals.

I hope I have provided the answers you were seeking.

It’s been a pleasure sharing ideas with you. Wish you the best in all your endeavors.

Best regards,

Gil

Photo of Ikong James
Team

Thanks Gil De Palma for you response. Please dont loose hope keep the project goibg its a beautiful idea i would love to see it grow and get actualised really to benefit from its impact too.

As it is Bold Nation Agency was also not short listed but its efforts still continue on ground cariied out with loce and passion on the impact it creats for both migrants and host community youth to growth their potential together as a team/family for a peaceful future.

I hope that we can keep sharing offline too and see these other 413 ideas carry on to implementation and impact respectively.

Best
@Ikong James

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