Main FAQ

What is the Sahana Software Foundation?

The Sahana Software Foundation is dedicated to the mission of saving lives by providing information management solutions that enable organizations and communities to better prepare for and respond to disasters. We develop free and open source software and provide services that help solve concrete problems and bring efficiencies to disaster response coordination between governments, aid organizations, civil society and the survivors themselves, such as:

  • Reuniting separated families through registering missing and found persons
  • Tracking and managing requests for help from individuals and organizations
  • Tracking organizations and programs responding to the disaster, including the coverage and balance in the distribution of aid, providing transparency in the response effort
  • Enabling relevant sharing of information across organizations, connecting donors, volunteers, NGOs, and government organizations, enabling them to operate as one

For the more visually oriented, check out our Sahana Software Foundation overview presentation:


What are the goals of the Sahana Software Foundation?

In order to fulfill our mission we have the following goals:

  • Help alleviate human suffering and help save lives through the efficient and effective use of information technologies after a disaster
  • Bring efficiencies to disaster response coordination by facilitating effective information sharing between disaster responders and beneficiaries
  • Empower disaster survivors and responders by providing them with the information they need to help themselves and others
  • Build disaster resilience and preparedness through training, education and the deployment of systems for managing disaster information in advance of a disaster.
  • Provide a nurturing environment for community development of humanitarian free and open source software applications that support all four phases of emergency management

Why was the Sahana Software Foundation created?

The Sahana software platform was initially created by volunteers in the Sri Lankan FOSS development community to help their fellow countrymen and countrywomen affected during the 2004 Asian Tsunami in December 2004. Since then, the Sahana code base has been rewritten as set of generic disaster management tools. The Sahana Software Foundation was created as a legal entity in 2009 to manage the financial and legal needs of the Sahana code base and community.

What products are made by the Sahana Software Foundation? How much do they cost?

All of Sahana’s software products are released as free and open source software, meaning the code is available at no cost through the efforts of our worldwide network of volunteers.
Sahana consists of three main products: Eden, Mayon and Vesuvius. Each product is adapted to the particular needs of specific groups preparing for or responding to crises, and you can find more detail about each on our Products page. [link to products page]

While all Sahana code is available at no cost, the Sahana Software Foundation does seek donations [link to donations FAQ] to support our activities, such as travel costs for volunteers to crisis sites, expenses for hosting workshops and educational activities and other incidental expenses required in support of our mission (e.g. equipment costs, website development, legal filing fees, etc.).

Who creates the products made by the SSF?

Sahana’s software products – Eden, Mayon and Vesuvius – are created by a world-wide network of volunteer developers. We have more than 200 members of our community who contribute by developing software, localizing it and supporting crisis preparedness managers globally. You can learn more about the people behind Sahana on our Team page. [link to Team page]

I am interested in using Sahana software. Whom can I contact?

If your organization is interested in using any of Sahana’s products, you can Contact Us [links to contact form] and we’ll help you get started.

I am a developer and would like to contribute to Sahana. Where do I get started?

You may want to check out our Developers page for links to our codebases and wikis, which contain all instructions for how to get started coding with Sahana software.  We encourage new developers to introduce themselves to the community and coordinate with others on the main discussion and developer mailing lists.

I am not a programmer but I would like to help Sahana’s efforts? What can I do and how do I get involved?

We are actively recruiting volunteers to provide translations of Sahana software, host Sahana related events and make other contributions to our community.  Visit the volunteers page to get started or Contact Us [links to contact form] and we will point you in the right direction.

I would like to make a financial donation to the SSF. How do I donate? Is my contribution tax deductible?

The Sahana Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  Sahana is completely supported by grants, donations and volunteer efforts. We accept donations;  all donations are tax deductible where allowed by law.

I have a question not answered in this FAQ. Where can I go for more help?

We’re here to help! Please Contact Us [links to contact form] with your question.