Tag Archives: Pakistan

Using Drupal for Good

Ok, so I admit, www.davidmartinwhite.com isn’t Drupal. Obviously. But you know what? I’m more of a fan of Drupal than I am of WordPress. I may even move this into Drupal soon… but that’s beside the point.

I just sent an email to some of my coworkers at Acquia, because I think that Drupal could be used to help the situation in Pakistan. Here’s the large majority of that email:

For those of you following me on twitter, you know that I’ve been very vocal about encouraging the response to the floods in Pakistan to increase; I also see myself as a “volunteer knowledge transfer agent” of sorts on twitter, and I did the same thing after the Haiti earthquake. I think I’m in a bit of a unique position to do this, because I have friends and experiences with several nonprofit organizations, but I’m also sitting behind a computer all day, understand a lot of the technical stuff that goes on behind the scenes, and can pass on knowledge hopefully to NGOs who are following me, and who are “listening.”

You may or may not be familiar with CrisisCommons. It’s a website of programmers, technicians, volunteers, etc… from around the world who donate their time during crises to build web platforms, increase the flow of knowledge, etc… related to the region / country in crisis. It really got going after the Haiti earthquake, and that’s when I heard about it and volunteered during 1 of their “crisis camps” in Boston and became a member of their website.

Recently, there’s been a lot of tweets flowing around about Volunteers that are needed to help read incoming SMS messages from the field, translate them (if necessary), categorize them, and spit them back out so that people on the field can access them.

I’m thinking Drupal can do all of this, automatically. Views, taxonomy, building a simple module that would read certain twitter feeds (hashtags) (is there anything that does this already?), and then it could go to town. I’d even be willing to take one of the leads in building said Drupal site.

I am working on getting in touch with the people at Crisis Commons & Ushahidi to find out if this would be beneficial. My gut tells me “yes” because Drupal is so powerful – it can do all of this automatically, but in addition, the site could be built out to include other features as well, like importing all of the different maps that Google, OpenStreetMap, & Ushahidi have built and put them into a central location to view, we could build out a low-bandwidth version of the site that could be loaded quickly from places in Pakistan, etc…

If you want to be involved in this project, please contact me or post a comment below.

Give more Aid to Pakistan: An Open Letter to Senator Scott Brown

I submitted the following email to Senator Scott Brown at http://scottbrown.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contactscott?p=EmailScottBrown.

Mr. Brown,
My name is David White and I am a fairly new resident to Massachusetts. I will be voting for the first time in the upcoming elections this fall.

I am writing to you in regards to the flooding in Pakistan and am requesting that you and all of your colleagues file a bill that will enable more aid to be sent to Pakistan, immediately. According to CNN, as of early August 19, only $460 million of aid has been promised to Pakistan, much less than the $13 billion that was given to Haiti.

However, the crisis in Pakistan is much larger. There are currently 20 million people affected by the flooding. 1/5 of the country has been ravished. Thousands of acres of farmland have been washed away. And millions of people are getting sick, do not have access to clean water or food.

The United States and the United Nations must do more, as the current response of only $460 million in 2 weeks is absolutely unacceptable. However, the response should empower the Pakistani government. This is not the time for political games. The Pakistani government must be seen as being in control by its people. If the US and the UN does otherwise, you will be harming the Pakistani government by making it look like they do not have power. The people will loose faith in their government. And as a result, the Taliban power and presence will only increase.

Thank you in advance for what you will do.

Sincerely,
David White