During the immediate aftermath of a disaster, it’s the neighboring communities or unaffected people in the area that activate to assist the victims with the basic needs of food, water, and shelter. However, the local community response cannot cope beyond the first 24 hours and need to reach out for external support. Often it is the victims closer to the main roads or town who are seen and receive support; while, tucked away hidden communities are left behind.
The Sahana Relief and Rehabilitation solution (termed as “ShaRe”) is being designed and developed to manage the demand for such aid requests and for Public, Private, and NGOs to commit to the required response; leaving no one behind.
The real need for the ShaRe solution was recognized during the onset of the 2017 Southwest Monsoon instigated flood and landslide events in Sri Lanka. The UN Resident Coordinators Office (UNRCO) of Sri Lanka, supported by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP), developed a simple 3W (“Who does What Where”) template.
Lessons learned made them realize the need for a more versatile and comprehensive solution using the Sahana Eden platform. Currently, a project is underway in implementing ShaRe for Sri Lanka, coined as ShareHub-Lanka. In addition to UNRCO, members of the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) are involved and are supporting the role out and use of the system to manage future crises in the Island.
Theory and Practices
Social ties are an important ingredient for a speedy recovery and for communities to bounce back to life. Daniel Aldrich, discusses the evidence and need for such ties in his inspiring PrepTalk on social capital and community resilience.
Typically, in a country like Sri Lanka, it is the bonding social capital, within inside the communities and villages, that become the first response. Subsequently there is a need for bridging social capital for the longer term relief, rehabilitation and recovery. While Governments in developing countries like Sri Lanka cannot cope with the relief and rehabilitation response, it is citizen groups, private sector, and non-governmental organizations that step into fill the gap. Without such social ties it’s challenging to overcome those problems.
Devin Balkind, Sahana Software Foundation President, spoke about the strengths of the “open aid movement” at the Open Source Bridge conference. It would make perfect sense for a community such as the Sahana Software Foundation to foster such a bridging application that brings together people in need with people who are committed to help. The mission is to build a simple brokering solution for communities to request for assistance and for the willing to commit to and track the supply of aid.
The Share-Lanka hub would link simple accountability methods such as allowing for aid receivers and other concerned citizens to publih micro-blog media like accounts of the social kind. Public view those accounts along with other indicators would present insights of the performance as to who was served and who wasn’t. Additionally, situational-reports and documents with important information will be archived for the greater good.
Sahana Eden, a proven platform, has the capability to build such a unique and versatile solution. Moreover, Sahana as an open source movement, is encouraging a communities of practice approach, employing agile and user-centered design, where by the Sri Lankan HCT become part of the development and take ownership of sustaining and enhancing their own implementation.
The ShaReHub-Lanka project is made possible through funding made available by the UNRCO in Sri Lanka and the deveoted personnel from the Sri Lanka HCT.