What is Khoj?
Khoj is a mobile platform, that can be used to track, report and find missing children. The platform integrates social media, real time tracking, and mainstream media. For now, it’s only radio partners and a crowd sourced platform, combined in one unique package.
How did it start and to what lengths did you have to go to get funding?
It began with a very simple idea, that had the scope to go very big. And the best part was that, we designed it ourselves which saved us the hefty cost of getting any design firm to do it for us. Hence no funding was required for us to start Khoj and put it on the Play Store.
Tell us a little about the start-up process.
We often saw posts on “Desperately Seeking Dhaka” in “Facebook” regarding missing people. This fact disturbed us, as it occurred to us that, within an hour or so after the post, it was likely to get lost in the vast sea of information on Facebook. Also, if anyone actually thought they might have seen the missing person, it was still very unlikely for that person to be reported. And even if reported, where would they report? So we started our research on the topic of missing people and to our surprise, found that about 20,000 children alone, go missing in Bangladesh every year, and only a few cases get reported due to complexities in our legal systems.
Tell us in detail about how Khoj operates, whatr sets them apart from others, and also about the current progress of it?
When a person is reported missing through the app, the app saves two locations to start off. “The location of the reporter” and “the location pinned by the reporter of the missing person”. The location of the reporter is saved for security purposes and discards chances of “prank reports” on the app. After the final submission, the data is sent to our main database.
Our radio partner 92.4 FM broadcasts the message of the missing person immediately. Meanwhile, a Facebook photo is also uploaded to Khoj’s Facebook page, provided the reporter himself has a Facebook account, which is optional. The whole system is designed to make sure that the information of the missing person reaches as many people as possible.
If, after the information is relayed, a person thinks he might have seen a missing person, on the app he can click on ‘List of Found/Missing People’ and select the profile he thinks that he might have seen. Also location of anyone who reports is tracked. This way, as our system grows and people report more of the missing people the law enforcers can use our data and create a more accurate perimeter of where the missing person might be in.
The app hosts one final feature which is ‘Found Missing Person’ which basically let’s anyone report a person they think is lost; a person who has not been already reported through Khoj.
Who are your target group?
The current target group are Android users, but, the team is already building the app for all Windows and iOS devices.
When you initially started out, what concerns did you have about your initiative? Also tell us it’s current status?
The biggest concern with Khoj was not having enough outreach, and people not taking it seriously because it was being designed by a small group of teenagers from Project Be. That did not stop the team though, and once they actually got the app up and running, they had a huge response from a lot of people who loved the idea of finally having a proper system to report, track, and find, missing people without any complexities.
Anything you want to say to the target group/readers?
To the readers downloading the app, it takes only about 4 MB of space on your phones but it has the potential to help someone get their loved ones back. The more people we have on this app the better it works.
KHOJ - Android Apps on Google Play
“It is very often we are mistaken as teenagers with big words, big dreams and very little action. People usually seem to fail to perceive that we don’t just talk the talk we actually get things done. Khoj is among many projects undertaken by Project Be and we believe that we care enough to make a difference” Team Khoj