The Sahana Software Foundation makes high quality, open source information management systems for emergency preparedness, response, recovery and resilience. We were recently awarded a microgrant by Open Referral (using funding from Stanford’s Digital Impact program, with fiscal sponsorship from the Alliance of Information and Referral Services) to develop and deploy an open source system for managing community resource data in the popular AirTable platform and making it accessible via Open Referral’s Human Services Data API. Continue reading
Immediately after a disaster, information managers collect information about who is doing what, and where, and then turn this information into “3W Reports.”
While some groups have custom software for collecting this information, the most widespread tool for this work is the spreadsheet. (Indeed, the spreadsheet is still the “lingua franca” of the humanitarian aid community, which is why UNOCHA’s Humanitarian Data Exchange project is designed around the exchange of ‘flat’ spreadsheet-based data.)
During the ongoing migrant crisis facing Europe, a number of volunteer technical communities (VTCs) in the Digital Humanitarian Network have engaged in the work of managing data about these humanitarian services. They quickly realized they needed to come up with a shared template for this information so they could more easily merge data with their peers, and also so that during the next disaster, they didn’t have to reinvent the wheel all over again. …
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, many residents of New York City were left struggling.
Though a broad array of supportive services are available to survivors — from home rebuilding funds to mental health treatment — it’s often hard for people to know what’s available and how to access it. New York City lacks any kind of centralized system of information about non-profit health and human services. Given the centrality that non-profit organizations play in disaster relief and recovery in the United States, this information scarcity means that, for many NYC residents, recovery from Sandy never quite happened… Continue reading