The UB creates a chatbot with practical information for migrants

News | 21-01-2019

A team of researchers of the Faculty of Education of the University of Barcelona, in collaboration with five social entities, have worked on a chatbot, available on Facebook and Messenger, which offers practical information on the legal registration office, and information about the citizenship and access to public health and education for migrant people. It includes questions related to these topics and allows interaction. It offers information which would be initially hard to understand, but it provides this information in an easy and intuitive way. The app is available on Facebook, in Spanish, although it will be available in Catalan, English and French too soon.

This tool has been created within the project I&D ‘APPS4ME’, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, which aims to bring knowledge on the uses of technologies for migrant people who live in Barcelona. The objective is to contribute to the development of projects aimed at community actions that enable giving a reponse to the social and digital exclusion.

Begoña Gros, principal investigator of the project, says the objective was to create a phone app to give an answer to the needs of migrant people, and that they followed a participative methodology, with the collaboration of professional and migrant people linked to five entities of the third sector (Migra Studium Foundation, PROBENS, Espai d’Inclusió i Formació Casc Antic (Eicascantic), Apropem-nos and Servei Solidari Foundation).

Gros notes they “opted for a chatbot because, in a previous phase to the design and creation of the app, they made an analysis of the uses of migrant and refugee people living in Barcelona and could see they communicate more through smartphones than computers”. 

They also detected most of them had difficulties to understand aspects related to the daily life and thought it could be useful to create a tool which explains how to go through formalities regarding citizenship, registration and access to public health, in an easy way.