Thanks to all your effort throughout our a comprehensive community planning process we now have a Strategic Plan for the next year: . This is a high level overview:

I would like to thank the following people who contributed to the process by providing input, contributing to the discussion and feedback throughout: Devin Balkind, Fran Boon, Don Cameron, Chamindra de Silva, Ramindu Deshapriya, John Fisher, Graeme Foster, Doug Hanchard, Michael Howden, Somay Jain, Michael Joseph, Dominic König, Tim McNamara, Sandy Pabilonia, Jacqueline Parisi, Louiqa Raschid, Nuwan Waidyanatha, Martin Thomsen, Pat Tressel and Connie White.

I’m really happy to be at this point and am looking forward to the next steps we can take to move the Sahana forward. Over the next weeks my focus will be to work to moved forward:

  • Engage Potential Major Donors
  • Develop Sahana Partnership Framework
  • Establish Sahana Response Support Team
  • Prepare & Circulate Draft Sahana Local Cluster Guidelines
  • Implement Fundraising Plan

Please get in touch if you’re interested in actively contributing to move any of these forward, otherwise we will share specific opportunities to contribute as we move forward.

VMware Sahana Usability Review

Over the past months, Rafae Aziz, Danny Walcoff and a team from VMware have worked on a UI/UX Review of Sahana through a series a of half-day sprints.


Sahana has been deployed as customized solution in a wide number of different contexts, so to focus their review the VMware team reviewed the Los Angeles Community Resilience Tool and Puget Sound Maritime Common Operating Picture templates of the Sahana Eden Open Source Disaster Management software.

After their first sprint they came up with a proposed set of wireframes, which were designed with a mobile first strategy. This was an valuable perspective for the Sahana community as until now we’ve been primarily focused on a desktop user interface. These wireframes were shared on the Sahana mailing list, and served as a good catalyst to for the community to explore a number of ideas, including using an inbox-like “News Feed” to present more information and the challenges of supporting multiple different workflows for different types of users.

In the second sprint the VMware team were able to dive deeper in our homepage, reviewing how it could be made more useful and easily customizable for specific context.

Working with the VMware team was a great opportunity for us to look at our software from a design approach. Because Sahana is used in so many different contexts, we do face a challenge of identifying the specific types of the users and workflows we’re designing solutions for. We’ve already begun work documenting some of these requirements and we’ll continue this as we move forward with our planned release of Sahana Eden 1.0.

We’d like to thank the VMware team and also Emma Irwin and Celine Takatsuno from the SocialCoding4Good for matching them with Sahana and making this all possible. We’re look forward to more collaboration like this the continued evolution of Sahana.

The Sahana Software Foundation is holding its Software Development Internship Program again this year from 13th October 2014 until 13th March 2015. This is a virtual internship and is open to applicants from any country. This program was highly successful last year, with two of the interns, Arnav Sharma and Somay Jain going on to participant in the Google Summer of Code program with the Sahana Software Foundation. If you want to learn more about the Sahana Eden work on developing solutions which help people affected by disasters then this is your chance! During the internship you will be working on a variety of tasks such as supporting deployments, fixing bugs, writing tests, porting and refactoring code and your own small projects.

This internship is for people who are interested in getting more guidance and mentoring to help them. It is only available for existing contributors to Sahana Eden, so if you are not already contributing, please look at how to get started.

As the Sahana Software Foundation is based on the voluntary contributions of our community of members, these internships are unpaid. We do offer mentoring from experienced community members, flexible working schedules, future opportunities for paid work and the opportunity to contribute to a humanitarian cause which has impacts around the world. However do not want an individual’s financial situation to exclude them from an internship opportunity, so a limited scholarship fund may be made available on a case-by-case basis. The scholarship will vary based on the individual situation of each intern.

Apply Now for this internship. Applications close 25th September 2014.

Today Sahana was featured in a post on the Google Open Source Blog about our annual conference which they helped to sponsor.

One of the priorities for the Sahana Software Foundation is to find out where the community wants to take Sahana over the next years and support the development of a strategic plan to guide us together on this journey. A strategic plan will help to communicate priority goals for volunteers to choose to work on or, if we decide, to help us develop funding proposals to get more resources. We have already run strategic planning exercises with the Board and the community in Sri Lanka which have been used to prepare the outline for a Sahana Strategic Plan.

Please feel free to review and contribute your input to the Sahana Strategic Plan document.

With consultation of a number of community members I’ve put together a process and schedule for finalizing the Strategic Plan over the next weeks:

  • Finalize the Mission Statement & Vision (by 15 Aug)
  • Identify & Prioritize Goals for the next year (by 29 Aug)
  • Develop Strategic Plan and determine next steps (by 13 Sept)

Developing this plan will be an open process and everyone is welcome to participate in any of the follow ways:

In additional, I’ll be hosting a number of optional Virtual Meetings over the next weeks focused on the steps. Notes will be taken in all of these meetings and no decisions will be made during them – so don’t worry if you can’t make them:

  • Mission Statement & Vision – 11 Aug 2014 0900 UTC & 2100 UTC
  • Goals – 25 Aug 2014 0900 UTC & 2100 UTC
  • Strategic Plan – 8 Sept 2014 0900 UTC & 2100 UTC

Details to join these meetings can be found in the Sahana Strategic Plan document or on the Sahana Meeting Calendar

Please let me know if you have any questions otherwise I look forward to seeing our strategic plan emerge from everyone’s input!

Hello All,

It is my great honor to have been selected as the Chief Executive Officer of the Sahana Software Foundation. The Sahana Software Foundation is an amazing organization with a very rich history. I have to thank both Mark Prutsalis, who has lead Sahana over the past 5 years, all of the volunteers who originally developed Sahana in Sri Lanka, and those who have continued to improve it since. I am really looking forward to working with and supporting our diverse community of contributors in our shared mission to use information management solution to help people affected by disasters. Over the next months, I will be reaching out to everyone in our community to understand how we can best do this.

I have been using technology to support disaster management for almost 10 years since I started volunteering with an NGO working on the Tsunami Recovery Program in Indonesia. This soon took me to remote field offices Pakistan and Uganda training staff to use the simple logistics database I had developed.

Five years ago, I co-founded AidIQ to “help provide intelligent business solutions to the development community.” We chose Sahana as the software platform to do this. Through my work with AidIQ I have supported Sahana solutions for the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, UNDP, Los Angeles Emergency Management Department and the Governments of Timor Leste, Nepal and the Philippines.

I will be stepping down as a Director of AidIQ and handing over my responsibilities as Managing Director of AidIQ to Fran Boon. As a founder and director of AidIQ, I bring significant experience in creating a sustainable business doing good in the world with Sahana software. I will leverage this experience during my time as CEO to increase the diversity of the Sahana ecosystem, particularly to support more service providers to build Sahana solutions. To ensure that all users of Sahana get the support they need, I will continue my relationship with AidIQ as a consultant. We are still planning the details of this and welcome any input from the community.

I’m excited to have the opportunity to continue this work as the CEO of the Sahana Software Foundation and look forward to supporting the ongoing development of our software and promoting it around the world. I’m also committed to working to bring the community together behind a shared plan for how we can best achieve our mission. We’ve gotten to this stage through the power of our community’s passions, and retaining and building that joy in collaboration will be an integral part of our success in using information management solution to help people affected by disasters.

It’s going to be an exciting couple of months as we work together to plan our next steps – if you’re interested in getting involved, have ideas to help us in our mission or anything else you would like to discuss, please get in touch. We’ll also be launching a strategic planning process within the next weeks – so watch this space!

I’m still going to be based in New Zealand and am going to start having regular “office hours” every Monday 2100 UTC and Thursday 0400 UTC when I will be available on IRC, Skype and Google+ for anyone who’d like to talk.


Michael Howden
CEO, Sahana Software Foundation
skype: michael.howden
+64 (21) 126-1360
+1 (213) 261-4250

Sahana Software Foundation is pleased to announce Michael Howden will be the organisation’s next Chief Executive Officer.

Michael served as Managing Director of AidIQ from 2009-2014, and since 2012, as a member of the Board of Directors in Sahana Software Foundation.

This is an exciting moment for the organisation. I have already had the opportunity to work with Michael for some years, both at the time where he was a board member and as secretary of the foundation. Every one of us at the organisation are thrilled about that we after a few months of deliberation have been able to turn to Michael Howden as our ideal successor.

Michael has already assumed his new post on 23rd June 2014 following the Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors.

Martin Thomsen

It is with great pleasure that I can announce, that Sahana Software Foundation effective 23rd June 2014, reconstituted the Board of Directors, following the Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors.

I am especially pleased that we can congratulate Chamindra de Silva and Brent Woodworth back on the Board of Directors. I look forward to our continuous cooperation at the board, as we take further steps in direction of developing Sahana Software Foundation to live up to its mission.

On behalf of the Foundation, I will also like to warmly thank Past Board Director Louiqa Raschid for her outstanding leadership and determination as the Chair of the Sahana Board from 2007 to 2009, and her true commitment and dedication to the function as Treasurer and Chairman of the Financial Oversight Committee the past 5 years; just to mention a few of all the things Louiqa have contributed with. We are so fortunate that Louiqa has promised to stay engaged with Sahana. We warmly thank Louiqa and wish her all the best.

I will also like to warmly thank Past Board Director Leslie Hawthorn for her commitment to work for Sahana. As some of you might remember, Leslie has been a strong supporter of Sahana for years. She has run the Google Summer of Code Program for Google as their Open Source Programs Manager, helped us to move our infrastructure over to Oregon State University Open Source Lab (OSUOSL), and has also supported our community development initiatives. Unfortunately Leslie has to concentrate on other projects which she feels will not do justice to Sahana. We warmly thank Leslie and wish her all the best.

Martin Thomsen

We had a great Meetup  this week with 15 people – 10 in Sri Lanka and 5 joining virtually. We started off together, and then split into a virtual group and a on-location group before reporting back together at the end.

We were lucky to have Preeti Jha from UNDP to share the work she’s been doing on her deployment of Sahana in Nepal and Viraj from World Vision talk about their plans to explore Sahana.

Here are some of the links that were shared if you want to find out more:

We’ve planned the next meetup at 4pm IST, 16th July. And will have a more focused agenda, with training to learn more about coding with Sahana and guidance to start working on some smaller tasks – hopefully to help Preeti upgrade her instance of Sahana! Looking forward to “seeing” you then. For more details and to sign up see the Sahana MeetUp – Colombo, Sri Lanka + Virtual Facebook Event

Thanks to Chamindra de Silva and Ramindu Deshapriya for organizing,  Virtusa for providing the venue in Colombo and Cisco for providing the virtual venue with a free WebEx account!

Virtual Participation


IOTX Sri Lanka : SahanaCamp was a participatory workshop on the use of Disaster Management Information Systems with a focus on the Sahana Open Source Disaster Management Information System. It gave participants

  • An introduction to real-world Sahana disaster management solutions
  • Hands on experience using Sahana to manage information and make decisions in a disaster simulation.
  • Analysis of how disaster management information systems could be used in your organisation

The SahanaCamp was opened by Mr. William Weinstein, Deputy Chief of mission for the US in Sri Lanka as the chief guest.


His keynote speech was followed by a talk on history of Sahana by Mr. Chamindra De Silva. He has been one of the key person in the development of Sahana and has been involved since the beginning. We came to know about the various phases in the evolution of Sahana.


Michael Howden from the Sahana Software Foundation gave a session on various deployments of Sahana all around the world.

These morning sessions were really insightful in the role Sahana has been playing in disaster management around the world. They made me feel great to be part of this organisation :)

We also had demonstrations of various deployments of Sahana. I was presenting Los Angeles Community Resilience Mapping Tool (LACRMT). The tool was developed by the Sahana Software Foundation in collaboration with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and RAND corporation. The purpose is to prepare people and organisations of Los Angeles for assessing and responding to any kind of disaster or social disturbance using data and maps. One of the key aim is also to ensure that the community bounces back to its normal social and economic state as soon as possible. The demographic data for the tool is taken and constantly updated from US census and hazard data is from USGS.


Dominic explaining features of Sahana Eden at the Sahana Camp demo

The highlight of the day was a session by Michael Howden on using Sahana Eden. It was attended by people from organisations involved in disaster and risk management like Red Cross Society. Me and my fellow Google Summer of Code  interns were helping out Michael. Being a developer for Sahana Eden, it was insightful for me to observe people using it. As most of them were new to the software, so we got some ideas of improvement but most of them were able to quickly navigate through the features. After session everyone gave a very positive feedback and the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society guys I was helping out, they were delighted with the mapping tool.




Michael getting feedback from participants from Sri Lanka Red Cross Foundation

Thank you to the Sahana Software Foundation and Google for supporting me to attended the Sri Lanka IOTX Sahana Events in the beautiful capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo.