August 8, 2022 By IBM Academy of Technology 2 min read

The Academy of Technology (AoT) is an all-volunteer community at IBM where participants work on projects that benefit the company, our employees, our clients, and the world. Members of the Academy and participants across IBM volunteer time outside of their day job to solve problems, working across geographies and business units, regardless of their skill set or job level. When the war in Ukraine broke out, IBMers began looking for ways to help, and the AoT pulled together teams to provide assistance to those affected by the refugee crisis.

The AoT launched three initial initiatives to:

  • Identify critical requirements and design an application
  • Identify and validate links to humanitarian resources in applicable countries
  • Find reusable open-source assets for use in creating the application

Through interviews with refugees and those assisting them, as well as with others who had chosen to stay behind in Ukraine to help, we gathered information on resources that could make the journey easier. This information became user requirements that helped to inform design thinking sessions. Based on these sessions a clickable prototype of an application was created, bringing to life the work of the team and visually sharing the critical requirements.

It was also critical to identify and validate the humanitarian resources that would be shared with refugees. It was important to ensure that only trusted links were provided to keep users safe from harm. From the prototype to the gathering of resource information and translation provided by extended team members, the next step was to begin development of the Humanitarian Emergency Aid List (HEAL) application. Development and production was supported by the IBM Cloud team and IBM’s CISO team provided expertise to keep the application and data secure.

We embraced IBM Cloud holistically for build, deploy and run of the application:

Infrastructure Services

  • IBM Cloud VPC Infrastructure services
  • Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Cloud
  • Schematics

Secure Application Development Services

  • Continuous Delivery Service and OnePipeline
  • Secrets Manager
  • Cloud Object Storage
  • Databases for MySQL

From infrastructure to application, the teams saw patterns and best practices that can be used to vastly accelerate future humanitarian support efforts. The HEAL application should be online and available within the next month, and our hope is that the combined efforts of IBMers can support refugees – regardless of where they are from or the crisis they face – find the support and assistance they need.

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