Using Social Media for Disaster Relief Accountability
On October 15, 2013 a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck the beautiful resort island of Bohol, Philippines. The town of Maribojoc, Bohol is the ancestral home for the family of Banshee Cloud founders Rene Campos and Rodney Aspiras. Located just kilometers from the epicenter, Maribojoc was devastated. The center of the town’s spiritual life, the church built by the Spanish missionaries from 1798-1864, was reduced in a matter of minutes to a pile of rubble. Bridges on the roads out of town were destroyed. Homes and shops were flattened. Teachers and children were trapped under a local school. Power went out and food supplies became scarce.
After developing systems to rapidly and inexpensively deploy ecommerce websites, we at Banshee Cloud realized that we could easily adapt this technology to creating fundraising sites to mobilize nonprofit organizations and local government agencies. Providing a secure and reliable web platform for raising money was the easy part.
But the issue came up on how to make sure the money got into the right hands. With every major disaster, scores of fake charities and unscrupulous door to door solicitors descend upon the neighborhoods of America seeking donations. On the side of the disaster, there are issues with similarly greedy counterparts pocketing funds. Worse yet, many disasters hit nations where government corruption is widespread.
So how can we prevent donors’ hard earned money from ending up in the wrong hands? How can we make sure that funds go directly to where they are needed? We think the answer lies with the same technology many of us use to post funny pictures and share our kid’s football scores. Through the internet, mobile phones, and social media we’ve come up with a system to connect donors with disaster victims. We call it the Transparency Through Technology Program and it involves us offering free deployment of fundraising websites to eligible non-profits and agencies…with the stipulation that they have volunteers post updates on the use of funds to the sites we create. Furthermore, we will call upon the donors and volunteers to use tools we provide to help police the charities and agencies. Not just the ones we develop websites for…but any other disaster relief sites as well.
Like much of the software and systems we develop, Transparency Through Technology is only partially about the technology. The rest of the equation lies with mobilizing regular people on a grass roots level to contribute to the system and keep it in line.
If you have a legitimate non-profit that would like to raise money for disaster relief or if you are a government agency in the affected area, please contact us immediately to set up your website.
If you would like to donate money for disaster relief please visit www.BansheeCloud.com for real time updates. We will soon have a website for direct aid to Maribojoc plus any organizations that wish to use our system.
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us at 424-CLOUD-04 (1-424-256-8304)!