Code for Japan is an organization that uses technology to support the people of Japan by supporting local governments and citizens. Code for Japan has two main programs – their corporate fellowship and their Brigade program.
The Code for Japan has five core team members, twenty volunteers, and over 32 Brigades all across the country. Here’s Code for Japan Representative Hal Seki talking about some of their work at the Code for All Summit.
Code for Japan’s Corporate Fellowship brings talent from Japan’s tech companies and dispatches them to municipalities to work on a project. The fellows for Naime were tasked with helping rebuild community after the Fukushima disaster. Because of the high levels of radiation, the residents were forced to evacuate the area and ended up being spread out all over Japan. To help people stay connected, the city decided to distribute tablets to residents.
While this sounds simple, it was a challenge because the team needed to understand user needs and design the tablet’s software accordingly. Another challenge was that not every resident that received a tablet knew how to use one. To help kick off this process, they held a hackathon with 420 people that generated 770 ideas, and 14 prototypes. Thanks to this project, they helped to reduce the budget for the project by over 1 million dollars.
The team also held over 10 training workshops to teach residents on how to use the tablets including developing an app called Dojo to help residents learn digital skills outside the workshops. They started the workshops after seeing that the app itself was not enough to train elder residents. The team found that after the training the tablets had a 87% usage rate for over 768 devices.
While Code for Japan has had a lot of success, they require additional funding to help hire staff and expand their efforts.
You can find out more information on Code for Japan’s efforts online at http://code4japan.org/