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5 minutes with Project Lockdown

This week we’re delighted to have spoken with Jean Queralt, the Founder & CEO of The IO Foundation and Global Coordinator of Project Lockdown, alongside two of his team, Editor, Julie Green and HR Coordinator, Rashika Senapathy.

Project Lockdown is a civic tech, interactive platform providing an overview of the state of Human and Digital Rights worldwide and is largely based on the work of volunteers from all over the world. We asked the team a few questions to find out how these volunteers collaborate in order to make such a large initiative.

Project Lockdown website
Project Lockdown overview

Hey team! Great to catch up, could you start off with a little bit about yourselves…

Jean: I was born and grew up in Spain, have a French passport, and have been living in Malaysia for over 8 years. In a previous (and more sad) life, I was a programmer and a sysadmin (system administrator).

Julie: My background is in telecommunications engineering and teaching, as well as working in the humanitarian sector. I’ve had the most amazing opportunities to work in a diverse range of territories and cultures, including the Australian Volunteers in International Development (AVID). I am absolutely passionate about ensuring equal rights and equal access to everyone in the world which is why Project Lockdown resonates deeply with all of my values and beliefs. 

Rashika: I am a Human Resources professional with over 15 years of corporate experience especially in the People Development and training areas. I entered the field of Human Resources with a background of Psychology and Social Work. My work has always revolved around people.

Tell us a little more about Project Lockdown… What do you do and what is the goal?

Jean: Project Lockdown is an open source, civic tech interactive platform that consolidates worldwide information about the policies affecting Human and Digital Rights following the values of Community, Accountability and Impact.

n country statistics
Country statistics on Project Lockdown

Sounds fascinating! How did the idea come about?

Jean: It came about organically, as a response to the impending question, created by the coronavirus crisis, of “How is the world clamping down and for how long will this remain like that?”

What started as a need to visualize that reality evolved into analyzing a broader set of policies considered under the perspective of their observance of Human and Digital Rights. Eventually the project members realized that there was an opportunity to serve a broader purpose by evolving into a broader Rights Observatory.

Lockdown has been felt in so many different ways around the globe. What is the number one thing you have learnt during lockdown?

Jean: How to get even more busy than I thought it was already possible!

Julie: I have learned to reconnect with my husband – it has been amazing! Life is usually so busy and we don’t spend much quality time together, but now we really are…and even working on some consultancies as a team.

Rashika: During lockdown I have learnt to live life one day at a time. I have started volunteering and luckily I found Project Lockdown, where I am enjoying working in a very friendly global team. I have taken up gardening and am growing vegetables. As luck will have it we adopted a puppy a few months ago and she has turned out to be the best companion for the whole family!

We’ve definitely seen a lot more connection, albeit virtually. If you could give your pre-lockdown self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Rashika: Pre-lockdown I was a worrier, always anxious about how things would turn out. I can tell that self to relax and keep doing what I need to and that is enough. Worrying will not get me anywhere.

Julie: Take a chill pill! Expect nothing and be pleasantly surprised when things happen – focus on the positive, not the negative…and above all don’t stress about what might be or could be, just let it happen. They have a saying in Swahilli – ‘hakuna matata’ and it is so, so true!

Jean: You’re good, act as planned. 

Focus on the positive, not the negative…and above all don’t stress about what might be or could be, just let it happen.

Wise words all! Back over at Project Lockdown, what are the main things you need help with at present? 

Jean: One thing we need help with is to ensure proper funding through a suitable Revenue Model.

Rashika: We also need help with our UX/UI, Documentation and Research editors team.

Julie: And finally, we need translation help. We really need people to translate sources, to locate the very best official sources and then verify them, and finally to interpret complex official documents and enter all of the relevant data. We’re looking for anyone with language skills in Arabic and Farsi as well as territories in Eastern Europe. 

As an organisation, you can help out Project Lockdown here or as an individual here.

Detailed statistics on Project Lockdown
Detailed statistics are shown on Project Lockdown

About Jean Queralt

Jean Queralt is Founder & CEO of The IO Foundation and Global Coordinator of Project Lockdown.
For a long while, Jean has been disturbed by the level of intrusion that information and communication technologies have in the personal lives of citizens and societies at large. With an extensive career in IT, first as a programmer and later as a sysadmin, system administrator, he took the leap in 2018 and founded The IO Foundation to establish a more solid and targeted direction to address Digital Rights from a technical standards perspective. 

About  Julie Green

Julie is the editors coordinator for Project Lockdown. She has a background in telecommunications engineering, teaching, as well as working in the humanitarian sector and has had the most amazing opportunities to work in a diverse range of territories and cultures. Julie has worked on long-term volunteering projects with Australian Volunteers in International Development (AVID) in the education sector; conducted feasibility studies using Artificial Intelligence in telephone exchanges; conducted due diligences on clients ranging from eBook specialists to intrasonics; compiled stories of survival in war and conflict for diaspora as a research project and more. Julie is absolutely passionate about ensuring equal rights and equal access to everyone in the world which is why Project Lockdown resonates deeply with all of her values and beliefs.

About Rashika Senapathy

Rashika Senapathy is The HR Coordinator for Project Lockdown. Rashika has over 15 years of Corporate experience in Human Resources especially in the People Development and training areas. Passionate about caring for the human in Human Resources, Rashika has lived and worked in India and USA and simply loves to help people.

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