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WhatsApp is used by two billion people worldwide on a monthly basis. That’s almost twice the monthly active users on Facebook Messenger. With the greatest global reach, it’s no surprise that WhatsApp chatbots are also on the rise. 

WhatsApp Chatbots Poised to Partner with NGOs

In addition to overall users, WhatsApp dominates the marketplace in certain locales around the globe. For instance, the countries with the most WhatsApp users are:

  1. India 
  2. Brazil
  3. USA
  4. Indonesia
  5. Mexico

NGOs (or non-governmental organizations, which are non-profit organizations) could strategically leverage the power of WhatsApp chatbots to communicate with people all over the world, but especially in the countries above that are heavy users of the app. Users are already familiar with the interface, and when an organization offers communication on the platform, barriers to communication and understanding are broken. 

Riaz Jogiyat, who is a business development expert, with extensive experience in data mining, conversational AI and NGOs, provided insight on how chatbots could serve NGOs: 

“If a chatbot is the tool that gets people to engage and communicate more, while balancing privacy, then I believe the potential is there for NGOs to make faster and more impactful decisions.”

WhatsApp Chatbots

The Power of WhatsApp Chatbots in Aiding NGOs

Depending on the countries that NGOs operate in, WhatsApp may be an untapped source of communication and data. In developing countries, communicating with key actors can be difficult. Technological and language barriers exist, and gathering information can be arduous. But in addition to that, the data that is collected often sits unused, when it could be put to task for the betterment of the countries it was collected in. Here’s how chatbots could be used to tackle both these issues.

  1. Contextual Information Gathering using WhatsApp Chatbots

Gathering information on the ground can take tremendous resources. Deploying a chatbot is a cost-effective way for NGOs to collect information, by way of surveys, answering questions, and conversing with the local population. A chatbot can even be developed such that it recognizes the language of the person and automatically responds in kind. Imagine the savings on interpreters and personnel gathering information live.

An example that Mr. Jogiyat considers to be prime for chatbot deployment is in the flow of communication between different actions of trade agreements. When evaluating the entire ecosystem of, say, a farming industry, its export and trade agreements, the chatbot could facilitate communication between:

  • Government agencies
  • Farmers
  • Businesses
  • Customers

Knowing that WhatsApp is easily picked up by populations around the world, it’s the natural choice for an NGO chatbot platform. Any actor with a mobile phone and access to the internet can connect easily and interact with the bot to get questions answered, to provide information, and to learn about any developments.

  1. Power of WhatsApp Chatbots Is also in the Insights

Once data has been collected by a chatbot, it’s ripe for mining. In fact, a recent study delved into data collected by NGOs within health policy and systems to find that it could be used as a primary data source to enable research in under-researched and marginalized groups. In conflict-affected areas and developing nations, it’s difficult for academics to perform research, but by developing partnerships with NGOs to improve data collection, research efforts could start to have a real impact on marginalized populations.

If a chatbot was used in the studies and data collection, the analysis of the data from people in the developing nation would be much easier. Chatbots can be designed to incorporate data analysis and information dashboards customized to the research desired. Build the chatbot on WhatsApp, which is used heavily in some developing nations, and the reach would be even greater, allowing for research efforts and improvements in health policy to be directed where truly needed. 

Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

Harness WhatsApp Chatbots the Right Way

As Riaz Jogiyat points out, security is still one of the concerns when it comes to deploying technology in an NGO. But experts in the chatbot realm know exactly how to build a chatbot that is secure and compliant. A Chatbot Consultant can also help ensure a chatbot is built by a team that has experience with large-scale WhatsApp rollouts. 

If you’re wondering how to get started with a chatbot for an NGO, reach out to one of our experts today.