In the past, only the biggest NGOs and best-funded government agencies could afford custom information management systems designed specifically for disaster management. Thanks to you, the Sahana community, we are reducing the cost and improving the quality of the information management solutions accessible to communities of all shapes and sizes.
I first encountered the SSF in 2012 when I was part of a community-led disaster response initiative in my hometown of New York City, USA. Our city was flooded by Superstorm Sandy and I was helping set up spreadsheets, websites and databases to support our relief effort. We needed something more advanced than those tools, but I didn’t know what until a friend introduced me to Sahana. As luck would have it, Sahana core developers Fran and Michael were in the USA for work, so they flew to NYC and helped our team set up a Sahana-based system for managing requests and inventory, enabling us to access and ultimately manage a warehouse of donated supplies.
The more I learned about Sahana, the more excited I became about this remarkable community and its software solutions. When I was selected to be the President of the Board of Directors in September, I was thrilled to get the opportunity to contribute to this effort in a deeper way.
It’s an exciting time for the SSF because we’re seeing adoption of Sahana-based solutions not only among large NGOs like the UNOCHA and IFRC, but also by networks of national agencies, municipal governments, smaller NGOs and, increasingly, tech-savvy grassroots groups responding to specific disasters.
Some recent examples of innovative uses of Sahana include:
The CAP on a Map project is implementing the Sahana Alerting Broker in Maldives, Myanmar, and Philippines.
Our Refugees Welcome Initiative has helped five different groups have set up Sahana EDEN systems, including the system at refugees.sahana.io, which was set up by Sahana core contributors Dominic and Fran in partnership with data management volunteers from the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. Learn more about that system and support it with a donation to the SSF.
Many people on the SSF board recognize that our community is the lifeblood of the organization, and that we must do a better job engaging, mobilizing, and most importantly, supporting our community.
Here are some of the things we’ll be doing over the next few months to better support our community:
Reorganizing how we manage information about Sahana deployments so we can get a better idea of who is doing what, where. Check out our map of registered deployments. If you know of deployments that aren’t on that map, please fill out this form.
Launching a new website so our web presence more accurately represents and more effectively serves the needs of our community. If you have any feedback, please feel free to share it with me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or better yet, add your feedback to this document and we can continue the conversation there.
Creating a “Project Council” that enables productive community members to access resources that advance the mission of the SSF.
Building a more meaningful membership experience that enables people to support the SSF and the Sahana community in even more fulfilling ways.
To advance these objectives and the work of the SSF as a whole, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the SSF.
PS: I want to know how you think we can improve this organization! Please send me your thoughts through the form on the contact page.
Image from Poland Public Domain Day