An online service providing 1:1 video-based language skill training for immigrants and refugees in Denmark. The service is provided by Red Cross volunteers working from their own home and when it fits their calendar.
In the first weeks of the Covid19 2020 spring lockdown in Denmark the Danish Red Cross launched an online video-based visitation service to people suffering from isolation called “SnakSammen” (TalkTogether). From launch 150+ digital visits were made weekly and almost half of the beneficiaries were immigrants or refugees. Thus, Danish Red Cross identified the need for a similar 1-1 video-based service focused on providing training in the Danish language for immigrants and refugees as the language schools had been suspended during the lockdown.
“Sprogland” (Language Country) – as the online language skill training service is called – was launched June 1st, 2020. Following the launch, it was quickly evident that there was a great demand for the online language skill training also post-corona19.
Today, over 1000 language sessions are being held every month on the platform.
Technical details & Operations
Sprogland is a free browser-based service that provides language skill training to immigrants and refugees through 1:1 video calls with Red Cross Volunteers. For both the volunteers and the end-users the online service is very flexible and easy-to-use. The volunteers are trained and onboarded by the Red Cross but work from their own home and through the system they offer timeslots for the end-users when it suits their calendar and plans. The end-users browse the website to find an available and suitable timeslot and book it.
End-user and volunteer receive a confirmation by e-mail and text message. Five minutes before the video call both the volunteer and the end-user receive an e-mail and a text message with a direct link to the videocall. The service works on computers, tablets and smartphones. No installations needed.
Danish Red Cross delivers the service nationwide in cooperation with a company called Boblberg with whom Danish Red Cross has a formal strategic partnership regarding a citizen-to-citizen-platform with 350.000+ users. Boblberg and Red Cross share GDPR-responsibility and co-own user data. The Sprogland-technology is developed by Boblberg and the Danish Red Cross and is built as an add-on-service to the citizen-to-citizen-platform.
Deployment & Impact
Sprogland was launched as a minimal viable product (MVP) and has for the past three years been further developed and improved based on the needs and input of the volunteers and beneficiaries.
Taking place online and with flexible hours, the support offered is extremely useful and essential for many people. Some of the beneficiaries live in remote and isolated areas with little access to public transport, others work during the day or are alone with kids, as is the case for many people from Ukraine. Today, more than 1400 people have used the platform and every day more than 30 online language sessions are being held.
However, the flexibility also allows people with busy schedules to volunteer. Since the beginning, more than 400 volunteers have been involved in the project.
“I find that Sprogland is a brilliant invention. It is a very easy and manageable way of supporting other people” says a volunteer.
Through this specific project, the Danish Red Cross is seeing growing numbers of volunteers from companies which offer their employees the possibility to volunteer during working hours. As the time they can dedicate is limited, the online opportunity is very suitable due to its flexibility. Thus, it makes it easier to recruit new volunteers, as many people who are still in the workforce also have the opportunity to help.
On a strategic level Sprogland is part of a portfolio of digital services that hopefully will make the Danish Red Cross meet the needs of more beneficiaries, facilitate new business models, and engage volunteers in new ways.