What will be the impact of your idea?
More effective deployment of disaster preparedness and relief services and more efficient use of post-disaster donations could have saved thousands of lives during Hurricane Katrina and tens of thousands of lives in Haiti in the last week. CNN Reported that relief NGOs have now taken the place of government agencies in Haiti.
After disasters, charities are heavily engaged in advertising for donations and may be less likely to reveal capacity limitations and difficulties delivering aid. While negative exposure could impact fundraising efforts, lives are jeopardized when problems go unreported.
The aggregation of updated and independent information in one location will increase awareness of relief groups' actual efforts and allow individuals to engage to the greatest extent possible in a wide range of opportunities (i.e. donating money/time/supplies)
It is critical that the public has access to more objective information on groups' capacities, activities, difficulties, prior experience in the region/community, history of collaboration and coordination with other relief groups, status/presence on the ground, budget size, and prior experience with populations served.
Who will help you develop your idea? Why are you the one to make this happen?
A team of programmers is convening in Austin, TX for one week, beginning Friday 1/22/10, to develop the database. Over a dozen volunteers have already collected information that will be imported into the database when it is created. Once up, the public will add updates pulled from a variety of sources, including those listed by the actual organizations providing critical services on the ground in Haiti. Teams of volunteers will help verify information that is submitted, similar to a wiki media format.
I started the Disaster Accountability Project after managing high-volume Red Cross sites in Southern Mississippi immediately following Hurricane Katrina. I witnessed firsthand what can happen without sufficient public oversight of disaster relief services and I committed to applying my background in civic engagement, issue campaigns, and law to building disaster oversight systems in the U.S. and abroad.
How much will it cost to launch your idea? (This can be an estimate)
This idea will cost about $3,000 to launch. This figure does not include the hundreds of donated hours, server space, work space, flights, and other needs already donated and secured by the volunteer developer team dedicating one full week in Austin, TX. After launch, the database will require maintenance costs of roughly $20,000 per year to cover dedicated staff time, server space, repairs, and volunteer coordination.