Blockchain makes Belgian NGO VIA Don Bosco more transparent

22 March 2019
Blockchain makes Belgian NGO VIA Don Bosco more transparent

VIA Don Bosco invests around 9 million euros in quality education around the world every year. With the implementation of the newly developed blockchain application by SettleMint, the NGO takes the next step in ensuring that every donation is used in the most effective way. By taking advantage of the shared database capabilities of blockchain technology, all financial proof is visible, verified and validated by all stakeholders in near real-time. The immutability of data ensures that the whole system is tamper-proof and thus fraud-resistant. Since only information that is already compliant with donor rules is accepted into the system, it also simplifies the process, drastically reducing the administrative overhead and leaving the NGO more time to focus on its core mission: providing education around the globe.

Whereas blockchain technology can appear complex, the system itself is set up in a very user-friendly way. Users interact with Facebook Messenger to enter expense data and proof and reporting is done via a simple website. The distributed middleware solution of SettleMint handles the connections to the underlying blockchain technology. This even allowed VIA Don Bosco to implement the solution without an IT department.

“This is not about the technology, but about building a new relationship with our donors and beneficiaries. We owe it to all of them to become more transparent and accountable and restore trust in our sector,” says Filip Lammens, CEO of VIA Don Bosco.

The application

The application itself is very straightforward. Facebook Messenger is used for submitting information. An automated chatbot guides the school accountant through the expense submission process and the SettleMint middleware checks the submission against the rules for various expense types encoded in the underlying smart contracts. In this way, no information can be entered into the system that does not comply with donor rules (compliance by design). By using an application that is very common, recipients can complete their expense submissions with their smartphone. Since chat-based data transfer is very lightweight, they can even complete the process from the most remote areas.

Once information is submitted, it is immediately visible throughout the approval value chain. Depending on the role of the user in the system, they you can submit, add information and review, accept or reject financial proof for expenses. The reporting tool offers a complete and transparent audit trail for spend, reducing the time needed to check the financial information for every school and every office in every country from months to seconds.

Future development will focus on two main elements: effectively matching donations to invoices, so donors can see exactly what their money was spent on, and the integration of AI to start mapping patterns and gain even more financial insights.

About VIA Don Bosco

VIA Don Bosco is a recognised Belgian NGO supporting educational institutions and youth employment initiatives in Africa and Latin America. For 50 years we have been providing educational and financial support to local schools. The development of the social and professional skills of disadvantaged young people is the common thread throughout our projects. We help them become active global citizens and find a place in the job market. At the same time, we create links between schools in Belgium and elsewhere in the world. This way, VIA Don Bosco contributes to building a fair society that meets the Sustainable Development Goals.

About SettleMint

SettleMint is a leading blockchain technology company that helps organisations leverage the benefits of blockchain technology — whether those enterprises are looking to improve efficiency, to extend their current products or to completely reinvent an existing business model — by offering them our distributed middleware solution, Mint. Mint makes it easy to integrate blockchain technology. So in short, it doesn’t matter if you are a startup or a big corporation. If you think blockchain technology can be part of your business or your vision for the future, you, or the developers working in your organisation, can start integrating blockchain technology in no time using Mint.

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