An Open Source Chatbot Builder for Connected Communities: Empowering CSOs in the MENA Region

In December 2022, I4C MENA and SimSim Participation Citoyenne began an exciting project to support civil society organizations (CSOs), human rights defenders (HRDs), activists, and journalists in the MENA region through technology. The goal was to develop an open-source chatbot builder tool that would enable these groups to optimize their online community-building efforts without requiring technical or coding knowledge.

After months of testing and feedback, SimSim and the MENA Hub released the Chatbot on February 28, 2023. The Chatbot Builder Tool is a “Drag & Drop” web application that allows NGOs to build chatbots for their social media pages using an easy-to-use backend interface. The platform is free of charge and requires no technical skills or knowledge.

The Chatbot offers its implementing NGOs/beneficiaries three main functionalities. Firstly, it helps reduce operational costs by automating communication with social media page users and audiences, eliminating staff training and timing costs. Secondly, subscribers can submit any inquiry or complaint at any time, and a request number is automatically generated without staff intervention, including outside working hours. Thirdly, the Chatbot enables NGOs to respond to users’ and audiences’ inquiries promptly without human intervention and with attractive message templates.

The impact of the Chatbot Builder Tool is significant for NGOs in the MENA region. With the tool’s functionalities, NGOs can build chatbots that streamline their communication processes, reduce operational costs, and improve response time to inquiries from their audiences. This innovation helps NGOs focus more on their mission and impact on their communities rather than the technical aspects of building and maintaining chatbots.

SimSim’s Chatbot Builder Tool is an open-source project, meaning NGOs can customize and further develop it to meet their specific needs. As the Chatbot Builder Tool is rolled out to the public, NGOs in the MENA region can now access the final functional platform, create an account, and build their chatbots to enhance their online community-building efforts. This innovation is a game-changer for the civil society sector in the MENA region, and we can’t wait to see the impact it will have on organizations and their communities.