Are you ready to help change the world?
C4I for Humanity is.
We seek to provide interconnectivity (C4I) to help other relief organizations function best and work together.
C4I for Humanity is (or at least with your help, will soon be…):
A Non-Government, Non-Profit, Relocatable, Modular System with support personnel which supplies Communications, Command, Control, Computer, and Intelligence aid to Humanitarian Missions for both Third World Development and Disaster Relief.
From the founder:
Without your help, this is nothing more than a dream. You can help make this a reality. Join our Facebook group and volunteer. We can’t even begin until we have a Board of Directors. YOU and only YOU can make that happen. Join today and let us know you’d like to help.
I volunteered transcribing scanner traffic over IRC in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. During that time, two things became apparent: First, that IRC was a pretty amazing protocol with scalability and redundancy you pretty much never see anywhere else. The second thing I noticed is that there was a severe lack of coordination between relief organizations. Sure the State of Louisiana had it’s official hub, but volunteers often had to wait hours when trying to deliver aid. Finally, the Governor collected access passes from people in the headquarters (who, already being there, didn’t need them), handed them to a State Trooper and gave her the mission to drive to the border where the convoy of aid was held up and pass the access credentials around to get the trucks through.
That got me thinking. I was working for a technology company at the time. Most tech companies use a trouble ticket system to track bugs, requests and progress on tasks. When you talk to support and they give you a case, ticket, or tracking number, this refers to their ticketing system. If you ever need to call back, the person you reach can bring up all the relevant info with that number. I wondered why the state department of emergency management wasn’t using a similar system. Access credentials and personnel ID’s could be tied to the ticket number. In the case of the convoy with no access, with a ticket system, they could have called ahead, said they were coming, and logged the named and drivers license numbers of the people and vehicles involved. They reach the checkpoint and give the guard their ticket number and ID. The guard calls them in and the ticket system shows they’re clear. Bam. Done.
Additionally, you could run this on a publicly accessible server. Anyone with internet access (and training) could volunteer to help out. HAM operators could relay to the system and give people ticket numbers. Volunteers can man phone banks. Agencies with internet access can also use the system. Tickets with donations can be linked to tickets with needs and from there, to tickets to make the delivery.
I soon after discovered the Sahana Software Foundation. They were developing a specialized system that did all this. Sahana certainly looks like a major component of what needs to be done, but there is a lot more that would be needed. A text chat system would need to be added. (IRC is still the most robust and cost effective solution here.) Whoever does this would need to set a lot up ahead of time. Not just the server itself, but backups, security, etc. If the usual communication infrastructure was knocked out, there would need to be something put in place to get rudimentary communication up and running.
Someone would have to….. Wait. Who? Sure FEMA might be able to do this in the US. Local and state emergency management agencies might also be able to do it. But what happens when say… an earthquake hits Haiti? What if something Like Hurricane Irma comes along and hits multiple nations? US and US Sate governments are no help here.
….and thus the idea for C4I for Humanity was born. With a small team of under a dozen working full time during a disaster, a moderate budget, and plenty of pre-disaster training and preparation, this could be something that can make a HUGE impact with very little resources. With about half the team staffing a headquarters location and the other half deploying to the site of the disaster, a mobile communication network could be deployed to talk to the coordination center. Once nodes are deployed, the on-site team could rendezvous with local authorities and provide liaison and support services. After the disaster, when the local communications are somewhat restored, the remote team can retrieve the nodes and return home. Longer term relief coordination could continue using the online services established for this disaster and after action reports can generate lessons learned and archived for posterity.
With your help, we can make this happen and in the process, save lives. We can’t really do anything without a Board of Directors.
That’s the first step in helping the world in times of need. Will you join us?
* C4I is an acronym that stands for “Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence“. These are the five services we facilitate. We provide the tools and infrastructure for those in charge of a situation to work with those providing relief. We do this by using off-the-shelf technology and Open Source tools where possible. We deploy and distribute these where they are needed and provide the expertise to use them in the most efficient manner possible.