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who are the commonwealth?
The Commonwealth Secretariat is an organisation that works with diverse activities across many disciplines, including Economic, Youth and Sustainable Development to Trade open and Natural Resources. The organisation also assists countries in negotiating trade deals and offers legal assistance to the 54 countries that are within the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth Blue Charter is an agreement by all 54 countries to actively cooperate to solve Ocean related problems and meet commitments for sustainable Ocean Development.
The Blue Charter has a set of Action Groups and each group is devoted to specific ocean issues. Topics and causes include Coral Reef protection and Restoration, Ocean acidification, Sustainable Aquaculture and Coastal Fisheries.
Wirebox previously developed an online database for the Commonwealth which presented an Ocean Training catalogue, a database and online user interface which allowed users of the database to find and locate training opportunities relevant to the ten Action Groups.
The database identified and allowed users to locate different types of training, by length of courses, cost, timelines and location. Wirebox completed this project in 2020 and following the success, Wirebox were invited to consult and advise on the Blue Charter Funding database.
The Ocean holds a central role in our natural ecosystems, climate, economies, and cultures yet the funding for Ocean conservation is equivalent to less than one percent of global philanthropy and even a smaller fraction of foreign aid.
The biggest challenge that we noticed was bringing to the forefront the various funds with available resources to organisations looking to embark on projects to aid the Action Groups. In the research stage there were over a hundred funds which were available to be tapped into, for different organisations across the world who would utilise the funds for Ocean related projects. All of the funds were set up with assisting these types of projects, be it supporting Technical assistance, Grants or even as Prizes to organisations without any return, or just the return of the efforts to assist with the issues the Oceans are facing.
It became clear that the biggest challenge wasn’t to Wirebox in developing a solution – the challenge was to these organisations to actually find and identify these opportunities to help with their great causes.
After an exhaustive and extensive research stage, the data collated on all the different foundations and societies created a database which excel was not designed to manage. The data was comprehensive, it identified funds with over £100million which could be made available to different causes, on average there were over 50 funds per action area over 11 different types of funding.
Wirebox initially developed a wireframe to outline and present how this data could be presented on line in a user friendly, intuitive manner. The wireframe (or prototype) allowed the Commonwealth to visually engage with the proposed solution, feedback on options and refine the solution prior to any development or coding.
On agreement and sign off on Wirebox’s proposed solution, it was decided to develop the product in Laravel. The Laravel framework follows the Model, View and Controller (MVC) architectural pattern, it provides an “out of the box” configuration which makes the authentication and authorisation more efficient in delivery.
As a PHP framework, Laravel has advanced features and tools for developers that assists in fast and efficient web application development, this is achieved with simplifying processes and the templating which reduces time in front end development.
within 3 weeks wirebox:
- Developed a Prototype (aka Wireframe) to allow the Commonwealth media team to visualise the system.
- Designed user cases based on members using the system, with a clean graphical user interface and also for Admin / Management team.
- Created a secure platform for different users based on cloud technology with hosting managed client side.
The online web application is now live on The Commonwealth Blue Charter website. Users can view the online portal and view the available funds either by location on a visual map, or filtering through both standard and advanced filters. Users can view and bookmark funds and those that are a good match or are appealing to their cause, can assist in the application process.
Users that register on the portal can access further information and details on the individual funds, The Commonwealth maintains control and access via an admin panel built in the Laravel back end. A content management system was built within the portal that provides the Commonwealth with instant access and total control. The Laravel site sits on a sub domain of the Blue Charter Commonwealth’s main WordPress site, hosted on Azure.
The solution developed by Wirebox can be viewed on https://oceanfund-bluecharter.thecommonwealth.org/