AyudaPy ("HelpPy") is an initiative implemented by the Paraguayan Red Cross to create citizen support networks to face challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The AyudaPy.org website was designed with the support of a group of young civil society programmers.
Problems and Purpose
The Paraguayan Red Cross's "AyudaPy" (in English: "HelpPy") website aims to create citizen support networks to connect citizens who need help during the COVID-19 pandemic with those who want to help. Those interested can register to ask for help, to give help, or to volunteer. In addition, this citizen platform also contains updated information on donation and collection centers.
Background History and Context
At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, about 65% of Paraguay's workers earned their living in the country's informal economy, leaving millions of people with little or no access to government programs that could provide a safety net. 
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
In response to this rapidly changing crisis, the AyudaPy platform was developed by Marcelo Elizeche using open-source software. 
Broad-based implementation of the platform was provided by the Paraguayan Red Cross with the support of a group of young civil society programmers. Other organizations that helped provide a network of volunteers included Telethon, Rotary, Rotaract, JCI Paraguay, AJE Paraguay, Don Bosco Alumni Federation, the Scout Association from Paraguay, and others. 
Participant Recruitment and Selection
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Methods and Tools Used
The AyudaPy platform used georeferencing and crowdsourcing to coordinate the ability of individuals to make essential needs (food, medicine, childcare, and hygiene products) known to volunteers who would then try to meet their needs.
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
Shortly after the website was launched, thousands of messages were posted daily by people who described their situation and asked for specific types of assistance. Here is a small sample of the types of messages that people continued to post more than one year after the pandemic began.
- March 22, 2021: "Due to the current situation, any work of whatever is welcome."
- April 26, 2021: "The pandemic affected us a lot and we live for rent and we are sorry with the expenses and we have a young child if they have enough food or things that they no longer use to be able to sell and buy merchandise ... thank you very much"
- July 2, 2021: "I NEED HELP WITH WHAT I CAN LIVE, I HAVE 3 SMALL CHILDREN. I need any xxg brand diaper, groceries milk, flour, sugar, yerba bread, egg."
The fieldwork of volunteers who worked to meet these requests consisted of (1) receiving the donations at authorized points (places with paved or asphalt access) throughout the country, (2) disinfecting the donations, and (3) distributing the supplies.
AyudaPy's sponsoring organizations provided PPE (personal protection health equipment) to volunteers who did the field work. The volunteers were required to pass a test demonstrating that they could put the PPE on and off in a safe, appropriate manner so as not to infect themselves or the people to whom they delivered the supplies. 
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
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Analysis and Lessons Learned
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- “Paraguayans go hungry as coronavirus lockdown ravages livelihoods, The Guardian, 12 April 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/apr/12/paraguay-coronavirus-hungry-social-inequalities.
- “In Paraguay, a programmer created a website aimed at providing assistance to vulnerable people.," Outriders, 21 May 2020, https://radar.outride.rs/en/in-paraguay-a-programmer-created-a-website-aimed-at-providing-assistance-to-vulnerable-people/.
- “HelpPy needs volunteers,” La Nacion, 17 April 2020, https://www.lanacion.com.py/estilodevida/2020/04/17/ayudapy-necesita-voluntarios/