This research project explores how economically vulnerable people in developing countries are motivated to empower their communities and secure themselves financially for the future. This project focuses on how this idea can be specifically applied to the recent 2020 COVID pandemic.

In order to conduct this, a team embarked on a two week long process where they interviewed farmers from rural India, domestic workers from the Philippines, factory workers in China and many other low income community members in different developing countries. Alongside this, experts in the 3rd sector from the relevant countries of the subjects were also interviewed, for greater perspective and clarity. In total, research was conducted from 5 different countries (Pakistan, China, Costa Rica, Philipeans, India).

These interviews resulted in the teams eventual conceptualisation of the ‘Opportunitree’; a collaborative ecosystem where low income communities, local businesses & government work together to fulfil one another’s needs. 

Although the system takes 3 parties to work (government, low income communities, businesses), it is mainly targeted for low income communities in developing countries. This is due to the team finding that clearly indicated that food, access to it and inflation of prices in relation to it, were the biggest struggle they faced during the COVID pandemic.   

Opportunitree works as a smart communication medium between the government and community. The Opportunitree interprets the communities needs (meals needed), signals both the government of this need, and the people of any potential work opportunities (provided by the government). From this mutually beneficial interaction and understanding, shared meal opportunities according to business demands are offered, in turn villagers willingly offer data as an exchange of value.

The team learnt that community support can be essential in times of uncertainty, such as the 2020 pandemic.