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Author's profile photo Marilyn Pratt

Geeks Making a Difference in the World

Geeks Saving Lives


An amazing community-driven, technology-fueled Humanitarian effort is now in progress and all of us can be a part of it.


“Geeks get together to save lives in Haiti.”  This I heard last night while listening to the radio (you can hear the podcastof  National Public Radio online).  See a YouTube version here.






Crisis Camps are being created as I write this and geeks from all over the North Americas (and in London) are innovating ways to bring relief and tech skills to the tragedy unfolding in Haiti.


What is a Crisis Camp?


“CrisisCamps are hosted in a barcamp style where great minds come together to share their knowledge and expertise for social good. ”


When disaster strikes such as it did on Tuesday, January 12th at 5:14pm in southern Haiti, caring people worldwide ponder how they can help.   My own reaction mirrored that of thousands of others when I donated through the World Food Programme: Help Haiti Now campaign which immediately airlifted tons of food to the region.


It comes as no surprise that hundreds of thousands of us used Social Media channels to be informed, to show our solidarity with the people of Haiti and to attempt to participate.


According to CNN  five million dollars was raised within a day by tweets, text messages and facebook causes initiatives.


But here on the SAP Community Network one cannot ignore theopportunity duty  to remind a vast community of developers, process experts, and domain experts of the power they have to create relief, hope, and solutions for some of the world’s most hard-hit citizens.




Crisis Commons Main Wiki:


Crisis Camp Haiti in London:


Example of Iphone App (Creole to English, English to Creole translation for the iPhone and Android):


Twitter Handle:


Crisis Commons Projects:

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      This is a really inspirational blog Marilyn. It's great to see initiatives of this nature & technology helping to save lives.
      Author's profile photo Marilyn Pratt
      Marilyn Pratt
      Blog Post Author
      Sadly as I read this I see Haiti has suffered yet another catastrophe with the aftershock hitting again at 6:00am.  I also woke to see many additions to the Crisis camps.  Where there aren't such pockets of activities people are creating them. 
      Author's profile photo Jim Spath
      Jim Spath
      Marilyn:  Thanks for the heads up on this organizational effort.  I'll pass the word to my peers.
      Once again, this crisis highlights the actions of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in solving human problems.  I'd like to thank Craig Cmehil yet again for his monumental fund raising efforts for Doctors Without Borders.  Craig is already planning the 2010 marathon.  For more, see: FMR 24 Hour Marathon 2009 and
      Author's profile photo Marilyn Pratt
      Marilyn Pratt
      Blog Post Author
      Doctors Without Borders and World Food Programme not surprisingly were some of the first responders on the ground. Their works are incredible, from a life-saving, logistic, perspective.  Everyone should consider donation to these kinds of organizations. Craigs FMR Marathon and those that helped spread its 5000 dollar influence truly invested in the doing as well as probagating the giving.
      But the distinction I would like to draw here is beyond charitable donation.  I can imagine that everyone engaged in a Crisis Camp is a giving person.  But many of us want to know what we can actually DO.  I'm not a medical professional nor a logistics humane emmissary or frontline "soldier" as many of the WFP workers truly are, but I, as a member of the technology community, would like to roll up my sleeves and not only dig into my pocket.
      To me that is the spirit of this incredible initiative.  I think this is in the spirit of Nigel James' Three little words - 'Change the world' blog as well as in the magnanimous heart of Craig's 24 hour marathon.  Using social media this way is empowering to us who stand "helpless" in the face of such natural force. 
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Thanks for sharing. This takes collaboration to a humanitarian level.

      Also just saw that Bono & Jay-Z recorded a song to help Haiti: They are putting their skills to work to help.