Building Freedom ID – a non-profit identity verification platform ensuring refugees’ safety in foreign households
The Freedom ID project is a free platform that helps Ukrainian refugees avoid human trafficking and reach stable settlement by identifying their potential hosts in a streamlined environment based on Zenoo solutions.
Freedom ID is a non-profit identity verification platform designed to help safeguard people fleeing war. The idea behind the project is to help verify people willing to host Ukrainian refugees in their homes using government IDs through shelters and other nonprofits who serve as agencies. The initiative appeared at Zenoo, a digital onboarding company and a long-lasting client of Noltic.
In February 2022, upon the start of the full-scale war, the Zenoo team had the idea of sending out packages to deliver uplifting gifts to Ukrainian children with sweets and positive messages from all across the world under the name Freedom Boxes. The first feedback revealed that although people were grateful, they needed more practical aid instead. That is when Zenoo shifted towards collecting donations and started putting together very different kinds of packages. Those were, for example, tactical gear for the army, energy storage systems and food for families of 4 that would last them at least 2 weeks.
Noltic worked with Freedom Boxes to arrange distribution of packages across Ukraine from the Polish border, where Zenoo’s CEO met us every Friday, passed on the packages and picked up people looking for a ride further into Europe on his way back. It was obvious how afraid the people were of being displaced when accepting help with transportation, and that is when the company decided to redirect the resources of Freedom Boxes to a new idea named Freedom ID to serve another vital purpose – protecting the refugees seeking asylum.
Since Zenoo’s main focus lies within the KYC (Know Your Customer) operations, they were eager to provide a non-profit solution in line with their usual business and expertise. It helped that they were closely familiar with the peculiarities of the verification process that is strictly regulated across the EU. The team turned to Noltic for technical enablement of their Freedom ID initiative that had to be based on some of Zenoo’s functional with all the necessary adjustments. They selected us due to prior satisfaction with the speed and quality of Noltic’s work on Zenoo, and our agile ability to properly estimate and deliver MVP products in particular.
The Zenoo team reached out to some known and some new contractors who do document validation, liveness checks, biometrics comparison, etc., to arrange using their products and services for free, and our tech team worked with an internal Zenoo architect to build a Salesforce backsystem for Freedom ID’s operations. The goal was to minimize the time of waiting for the refugees and decrease the chance of error by creating an effective, multi-layered yet quick verification system.
People looking to provide shelter to refugees usually communicate it to an agent nonprofit organization that operates such requests, and that is where Freedom ID’s services were supposed to come in. The manager of a new nonprofit organization could contact Freedom ID to set up an account, and refer a potential host to the verification service with a unique link. To assure effective communication, one responsive admin would be selected on the side of the nonprofit to receive all the information about the potential hosts they attempt to verify further.
The verification would need automated ID processing assured by outsource providers, licensed for this type of services. The potential hosts would need to upload scans of government-issued IDs next to a freshly taken photo to receive approval for further cooperation with the referring nonprofit. An additional logic would be necessary for specific cases requiring manual review from the Freedom ID team.
It was decided that in the MVP version of Freedom ID hosts themselves would not be able to create an account or have access to other product functions, their operations were to be limited to going through verification only. However, the admin of the host’s referring organization would see the information about every host referred by them, as well as the current statuses of verification.
To streamline the verification requests processing and launch the product ASAP, we created the architecture using the same solutions we have previously developed for Zenoo for similar purposes, and simply adjusted them to perfectly match the peculiarities of nonprofit operations.
The scope of work on building Freedom ID includes:
- Developing the Experience View website with LWC components to manage verifications from the side of nonprofits’ admins;
- Implementing statistics needed for nonprofit organizations reports showing how many potential hosts were registered and verified with a ‘per day’ filter and a daily stat data newsletter sent out to NGO admins;
- Implementing REST API connection in Salesforce Hub with regulated FinTech service providers for a seamless backend document verification as well as a Zendesk integration;
- Adding an option to assign a Freedom ID agent to run a manual verification in particular cases when the photo vs ID match level is insufficient;
- Implementing various email notifications for potential hosts – they receive either a confirmation of a successful verification (>90% match) with an invitation to further cooperate with the referring NPO, a decline, a request for additional documents or a request to hold while the information is manually validated;
- Developing a notification system for the Freedom ID agents to receive status updates on every case.
Further plans for Freedom ID tech stack include automated matching of refugees with the hosts, supporting individual requests in addition to group organizational accounts, blockchain usage to create unique verification tokens. They are also looking at an opportunity to create a bank for the refugees in collaboration with charities to collect instant cash, which is what people need most. Those would need extensive verification and it is where the Freedom ID platform would come in handy.