New AseloTM Global Technology Platform Enables Child Helplines to Dramatically Increase the Number of Children Helped, While Increasing Effectiveness and Advocacy for Children in Crisis
Zambia and South Africa child helplines are first to integrate the Aselo platform, which enables children to connect with counselors through modern social media channels and text messaging, and gives helplines new tools to advance the field
PALO ALTO, Calif., April 13, 2021 – Child helplines are on the front lines of responding to children in crisis, with calls increasing by as much as 50 percent during the pandemic. Modern technology holds the promise of enabling helplines to operate more efficiently and opens up new avenues for children and youth to seek help via social media channels and text messaging. To address these acute needs, Tech Matters, a Silicon Valley-based nonprofit, has launched a new Software as a Service contact center platform, called AseloTM.
Created in partnership with the helpline members of Child Helpline International, Aselo is an open source, customizable platform that supports the entire global crisis response movement, rather than each helpline having to pay to create individual tech solutions. It also integrates new cloud-based tools to increase helpline effectiveness and make remote work by counselors more practical—something that has become essential to accommodate shelter-in-place restrictions because of the pandemic.
“Far too often, children bear the brunt of poverty, abuse, online exploitation and social disruption,” said Jim Fruchterman, the CEO and founder of Tech Matters. “Globally, child helplines receive more than 30 million calls annually, but with limited resources and a reliance on voice calls, many of these calls go unanswered, and the real needs of children are far from addressed. Through Aselo, we expect that within five years child helplines will be able to serve 100 million children annually.”
Aselo is the result of a nearly two-year collaboration with helpline members of Child Helpline International, numbering more than 160 helplines in nearly 140 countries. “Tech Matters worked closely with child helplines to fully understand and address their needs,” said Patrick Krens, executive director of Child Helpline International. “Aselo can be a critical tool for building the capacity of helplines to better serve the needs of children.”
Aselo allows child helplines to communicate with children not just via the phone, but also on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, webchat and SMS, where the children of today communicate. By bringing the child helplines to the major online platforms, Aselo will greatly strengthen their ability to deal with online exploitation of children. Aselo uses a single-screen, browser-based interface, enabling counselors to help more children/youth at once. The shared platform is fully customizable to address the needs and languages of individual helplines. While protecting the data of children, Aselo makes it easier to gather crucial data about the state of the world’s children, and provides powerful tools for advocacy.
“Aselo will transform the way Lifeline Childline Zambia delivers counseling services to its clients and above all improve the operations of the call center,” said Florence Nkhuwa, chief executive director of Lifeline Childline Zambia, which just deployed Aselo nationally in February 2021.
“We are hoping to have ease of capturing, better reporting and case management that would allow Childline to increase the quality and standards of our helpline data whilst still rendering a quality service to the children of South Africa,” said Dumisile Nala, Childline South Africa’s national executive officer. Childline South Africa is planning on using Aselo starting in April 2021.
Aselo was initiated with One Family Foundation; other major supporters include Child Helpline International, the End Violence Fund, Twilio.org, Schmidt Futures, Facebook and the Jenesis Group.
About Tech Matters
Tech Matters is a nonprofit organization that leverages the power of tech to support social sector innovators and advance large-scale positive social change. As tech nerds for the social sector, we create common ground for systems change solutions, empowering progress on humanity’s most pressing social issues. Learn more at TechMatters.org and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Tech Matters is fiscally sponsored by Beneficent Technology, Inc. (“Benetech”).