For its efforts, the team behind Project Moses is comprised of numerous Filipino experts in various fields, from designers and developers, to doctors. The team itself has won two hackathons, and has now allied with a number of companies, charities, and government institutions in a united effort to stem the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.
Project Moses was recognized by HERE Technologies and IBM, when they launched their #HackForBetterDays initiative. The initiative was a search for apps that could respond to the devastating effects of COVID-19 on society, including but not limited to the schools, business and infrastructure closures, etc. It was meant to support government institutions and agencies in order to coordinate a better response. Project Moses was awarded second place, earning them a grant of USD3,500.
Bridge360 also pitched Project Moses as an entry to Stat Zero’s COVID-19 Challenge, which was launched as an initiative to push industry leaders to create free digital health solutions that medical health professionals could use to share information in the world’s attempt to fight the pandemic. Project Moses emerged as the prime contender, and was awarded Stat Zero’s USD10,000-grant.
What is Project Moses?
Enter Project Moses: a Crisis Response Toolkit that acts as an all-in-one platform for Filipinos in times of calamity and disaster. Project Moses is publicly accessible, and uses Information Communication Technology (ICT) to connect crisis response actors in order to deliver relevant information in real time, and shed light on under-addressed issues and concerns.
Like any endeavor meant to combat misinformation and fake news, the goal of Project Moses is to improve overall public health by creating a well-informed and better-educated populace in times of crisis. As a Crisis Response Toolkit, it is constantly under scrutiny from the public and by its creators, who actively improve it on a regular basis.
The problem that Project Moses seeks to solve
In this volatile global climate, being well-informed is one of the best defenses we can have against any threat. With the exponential growth of fake news out there, discerning what is factual from what is false has become more difficult. Whether the misinformation results in
Many experts agree that it was because of misinformation that COVID-19 was underestimated, both on an institutional scale and by private citizens. We are now in the middle of a global pandemic, with no clear end in sight. It is clear now that the consequences of being misinformed are incredibly damaging on every scale and level imaginable, from the national to the personal, and across health and economics.
In the Philippines, fake news and mass cybersecurity breaches run rampant. Just recently, thousands of Filipinos found their identities under threat as numerous fake accounts were made in their names. This act of cyberterrorism is only the latest in a long line of incidents that have made Filipinos both panicky and paranoid about the information they receive. Malicious troll farms have targeted the most vulnerable fraction of the populace: the under-educated and those with internet literacy.
Press freedom has also been threatened in the Philippines, with the legitimacy of news outlets being constantly put into question when the news is unflattering to the state. The largest television network in the country was also ordered shut down by the state, taking away a vital source of information for those with limited access.
This has resulted in the Philippines being one of the regions in Asia most impacted by the pandemic, given the state’s focus on quarantines rather than mass testing and contact tracing to prevent the spread. Various government institutions have also been known to release conflicting or confusing information regarding the virus—such as the statistics on COVID-19’s rate of transmission.
How it works
Project Moses fights misinformation by creative an all-in-one resource using ICT for Filipinos who want to learn more about current events. It compiles information and makes it easier to access for users and the general populace. Here are just some of the things that can be found in the Project Moses toolkit:
A data aggregator of all news from reliable sources and local news outlets.
Crowd-sourced information about establishments and offices—whether they are open or not.
A self-diagnosis tool using the latest Department of Health algorithm.
A platform for hospitals to post relevant information such as: COVID cases, hospital needs, hospital staff details, hospital bed and ventilator capacity, capacity to quarantine, and COVID-19 readiness.
A dashboard to track cases on both a national and international scale
A matching tool to link infected patients and Patients Under Investigation (PUIs) to hospitals capable of testing and receiving them
And a platform that connects donors, sellers, and other providers of hospital supplies and relief goods to hospitals and outfits that need them
It is in all these and more that Project Moses seeks to innovate how information is relayed in a world of crisis and misinformation. Project Moses can unify the initiatives of government, the private sector, the press, and the general public. As such, it can create a more seamless public response—and lower casualties, rates of infection, and economic fallout.
While Project Moses is currently tailored to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, it was intended to respond to any and all crises moving forward, in addition to being a possible preventive measure in non-critical periods. One of the most important things in the response to any crisis is responding early and appropriately.
The inception of Project Moses
It was at the beginning of the outbreak in the Philippines in early January that Bridge360 had begun to formulate the plan that would eventually become Project Moses. What was then called the Wuhan Coronavirus was already taking hold in China. Chinese workers and professionals were entering the Philippines en masse, given the numerous shared projects between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of the Philippines.
Bridge360, having made projections using existing data, predicted that the Philippines’ first infection was imminent. Sure enough, the Philippines had its first infection of the novel coronavirus—the first case in Asia outside China.
The minds at Bridge360 began brainstorming for a way to help stem the outbreak. By March, they had created the first prototype of Project Moses. As the project grew, so did its need for funding and manpower—which came in the miracle of selfless volunteers.
By April, a very plain version of the Project Moses website had gone up. They had recruited new developers, and developed a much better version of the app, which now boasted new features. But what was different about Project Moses was the Bridge360 did not design it just as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but as long-term crisis toolkit, meant to be used not just during the height of a crisis, but also before, as a possible preventive measure.