Online forum launched for Haiti relief efforts
WeHaveWeNeed.org connects nongovernmental organizations in need of supplies with donor companies
Aid organizations now have an online forum to get assistance from private-sector donors for rescue and relief efforts in Haiti.
The platform, WeHaveWeNeed.org, was designed by volunteer developers with help from the State Department. The site, which resembles a Craigslist-like forum for organizations working to help victims of this month’s earthquake, allows aid organizations to post their needs and connect with would-be donors to get help in categories such as food, fuel, medical, telecom, and transport.
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“This cost [the federal government] nothing, and was created by a bunch of distributed do-gooders across the Unites States,” said Katie Stanton, director of citizen participation and special adviser on innovation at the State Department.
Stanton brought the idea for a Web-based platform to link nongovernmental organizations working in Haiti with companies that want to donate to the relief effort to a recent meeting of volunteer technologists in Washington. The effort was also taken up by a team of volunteers in Los Angeles.
The “do-gooders” were part of a CrisisCamp, a group working to develop technological tools to help response efforts in Haiti that was organized by the international volunteer network, Crisis Commons, Craigslist isn’t responsible for the project, but founder Craig Newmark recently praised the effort on his blog.
“We helped frame the problem to solve and it was really the public – the community at CrisisCamp – that actually built the product,” Stanton said.
“While the first instance is in response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti, we hope that this will be reusable for disasters that happen in the future wherever they may be,” she added.
Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.