Introducing Aselo: enabling child helplines to help even more children

Lifeline Childline Zambia and Childline South Africa are the first to integrate the new Aselo platform, which enables children to connect with counsellors through modern social media channels and text messaging, and gives child helplines great new tools.

Child helplines are on the front lines of responding to children in crisis, with calls increasing by as much as 50% during the coronavirus pandemic. Modern technology holds the promise of enabling child helplines to operate even more efficiently and opens up new avenues for children and young people to seek help via social media channels and text messaging. To address these acute needs, Tech Matters, a Silicon Valley-based nonprofit, has launched a new Software as a Service contact centre platform, called Aselo. Created in partnership with Child Helpline International’s members, Aselo is an open source, customizable platform that supports the entire global crisis response movement, rather than each child helpline having to pay to create individual tech solutions. It also integrates new cloud-based tools to increase child helpline effectiveness and make remote work by counsellors more practical—something that has become essential to accommodate shelter-in-place restrictions because of the pandemic.

The result of a two-year collaboration, Aselo can be a critical tool for building the capacity of child helplines to better serve the needs of children. Globally, child helplines receive more than 30 million calls annually, but with limited resources and a reliance on voice calls, many of these calls go unanswered. Through Aselo, it is expected that within five years child helplines will be able to serve 100 million children annually.

Aselo allows child helplines to communicate with children not just via the phone, but also on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, webchat and SMS. By bringing the child helplines to the major online platforms, Aselo will greatly strengthen their ability to deal with online exploitation of children. Aselo uses a single-screen, browser-based interface, enabling counselors to help more children/youth at once. The shared platform is fully customizable to address the needs and languages of individual helplines. While protecting the data of children, Aselo makes it easier to gather crucial data about the state of the world’s children, and provides powerful tools for advocacy.

Initiated with One Family Foundation, other major supporters of Aselo include the End Violence Fund, Twilio.org, Schmidt Futures, Facebook and the Jenesis Group. More information on Aselo, including a downloadable brochure and answers to frequently asked questions, is available at Aselo.org or via e-mail at contact@aselo.org.