Information Platform for Refugees (Integreat)
Refugees have many questions when they arrive in Germany, such as how to make demands on medical care, how to proceed in the asylum process, how and where to participate in language courses, how to engage in activities with locals, or how to find a job. Since the number of refugees has risen during the last years, it is difficult to provide every refugee answers to all their questions. Additionally, this information differs from city to city. Therefore, it is a huge challenge to provide refugees with the right information at the right time in the right format.
The aim of the project Integreat is to develop an app that provides refugees with relevant information in different cities in a language they are familiar with. Municipal authorities, volunteer workers, and social services provider have the possibility to share information and offerings among refugees that use the app.
To achieve the project aim, we develop an app for refugees and a platform where municipal authorities, volunteer workers, and social services provider can enter information and offerings. Since refugees do not have an internet connection all the time, the app downloads information packages from the platform and stores them on their smartphones. The app is customizable for each city to cope with differences between cities. In addition, we provide a package with general information for Germany to support and reduce the amount of customizing for each city. To realize this project, we closely work together with experts such as “Tür an Tür e.V.”, an initiative that supports asylum seekers.
Every three months, a developer conference takes place at the Chair for Information Systems at TUM with the goal to work on technical issues and set the strategic agenda for the project
The project provides refugees with relevant information during their first months in Germany. Furthermore, it facilitates the work of volunteer workers and social services providers. As of August 2019, 52 cities and municipalities in Germany use the app Integreat. Collaborations with local job platforms allow refugees to look for suitable internships and jobs.
In July 2018, Integreat was selected as lighthouse project of the Google.org Impact Challenge and awarded 250.000€ to expand the app’s functionality and increase coverage. In addition, the Integreat project received several other awards such as the “Helden der Heimat” Award (by the Adalbert Raps Foundation), the “Integrationspreis” of the Government of the region Schwaben, the Generation-D Award, and the Social Impact Award of the TUM School of Management.
In 2015, Viola Klein inspired the IT domain with her emotional talk at the VOICE annual conference, her tireless commitment against PEGIDA’s activities in Dresden and her ideas how to support refugees with IT and beyond. Prof. Helmut Krcmar, concerned by the situation of refugees arriving in Munich, decided to engage in information system based refugee support in the Munich area in cooperation with Viola Klein’s initiative “Welcome App”, an app that provided information for refugees in Dresden. At the same time, Daniel Kehne and fellow students of TUM working with refugees in Augsburg- approached Prof. Krcmar for support in their project to create an app with information material for refugees in Augsburg under the label Integreat. Our aim was to coordinate IT-supported aid for refugees and to jointly push the idea of providing information for refugees via the digital channel. Together with Viola Klein’s Welcome App team, we created the idea to not only develop stand-alone apps for specific cities but to work on a scalable information platform that can be deployed by any municipality. However, as both the Welcome App team and the Integreat team strived for a fast implementation, technical and organizational divergence lead to two separate platforms: The Dresden-based Welcome App now available nationwide and the Integreat App, an open source project implemented in municipalities in Bavaria and beyond. Good ideas spread fast – therefore, municipalities can now choose from both solutions to support their challenging work for and with refugees.
Technische Universität München, Chair for Information Systems (Prof. Dr. Helmut Krcmar)
Students from the study programs Finance and Information Management (FIM) and Software Engineering (SE): Daniel Kehne, Fritjof Knier, Martin Schrimpf, Daniel Langerenken
Kommune21 (09.05.2019): 50. Nutzer der Integreat-App
Merkur.de (06.06.2018) 250 000 Euro Preisgeld für Integrations-App
Süddeutsche Zeitung (11.02.2016) Ein Platz für internationale Begegnungen
eGovernment Computing (08.02.2016) Studenten bündeln infos für Flüchtlinge
Supported by the DAAD with funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research