Upon their arrival in Germany, refugees have many questions, including issues such as medical care, the asylum process, participation in language courses, activities with locals, or finding a job. Since the number of refugees has increased significantly in recent years, it is difficult to provide every refugee with an answer to all their questions. Moreover, this information varies from city to city. Therefore, providing refugees with the right information at the right time in the right format is a major challenge.
Integreat makes it easier for refugees to access relevant information during their first months in Germany. In addition, the app facilitates the work of volunteers and social service providers. In August 2019, 52 cities and municipalities in Germany are already using the Integreat app. The collaboration with local job platforms enables refugees to find suitable internships and jobs.
In July 2018, Integreat was selected as a lighthouse project of the Google.org Impact Challenge and awarded a prize of 250,000 € to expand the functionality of the app and increase its reach. In addition, the Integreat project received other awards such as the "Heroes of the Homeland" award (from the Adalbert Raps Foundation), the "Integration Award" from the government of the Swabian region, the Generation D Award, and the Social Impact Award from the TUM School of Management.
The aim of the Integreat project is to develop an app that provides refugees in different cities with relevant information in a language they are familiar with. City governments, volunteers and social service providers can share information and offers with refugees using the app.
To achieve the project goal, we are developing an app for refugees and a platform where city administrators, volunteers and social service providers can share information and offers. Since refugees do not have a constant internet connection, the app downloads information packages from the platform and stores them on their smartphones. The app is customizable for each city to accommodate differences between cities. In addition, we provide a package of general information for Germany to reduce the customization effort for each city. To realize this project, we are working closely with experts such as "Tür an Tür e.V.," an initiative to support asylum seekers.
The Technical University of Dortmund, the City of Munich and the non-profit Tür an Tür - Digitalfabrik demonstrated how artificial intelligence, the common good and civil society can work together in the CIP ideas competition. With success - at the beginning of June, their idea, along with 26 others, was awarded a prize by the German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.
With the Civic Innovation Platform (CIP), the Digital Work Society think tank of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS) promotes the partnership-based development of public welfare-oriented AI applications. Project networks are supported in advancing practical AI applications with a reference to labor and social policy. To this end, the Chair of Digital Transformation at TU Dortmund University under Prof. Dr. Manuel Wiesche, together with the state capital of Munich and Tür an Tür - Digitalfabrik gGmbH, submitted an idea sketch for AI-supported migration counseling that is intended to relieve the social sector. Based on the experiences of a chatbot project in the Bavarian capital, needs were derived that convinced the BMAS jury. The award ceremony took place during the Re:publica conference in Berlin. The award is also linked to funding in the maximum amount of 20,000 euros, which will be used for the development of the concept and a first prototype. The concrete goal of the idea is to use an NLP framework to make existing multilingual datasets of cities and counties more searchable in order to improve referral advice in the social sector. In addition, a complementary digital chat counseling service is to be implemented that minimizes the language barrier between the counseling center and the person seeking advice as much as possible through machine translation services. The project is being implemented in particular by Tür an Tür - Digitalfabrik gGmbH, which is already cooperating with TU Dortmund University in the Integreat research project. The Chair for Digital Transformation supports and accompanies the conception together with the City of Munich, which acts as a practical partner.