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How to donate to Haiti in a safe and trusted online environment

Last week I was in the ICANN Studienkreis, when one of the panellists, from Verisign, provided a shocking number: on the UK alone there is around 680 million pound fraud a year on fake charity ngos, being 10% online fraud.

This makes me think about the current times in Haiti and the need for help. I feel disgusted and sick in my stomach by learning that fraudsters and scammers do not hesitate to take advantage of tragic events to make their schemes profitable.

In a world of high connectivity and the increasing digital inclusion that needs to be done with adequate capacity building of users and the implementation of safe environments, this is indeed a challenge. Here is a message that Facebook has sent to users:

So the biggest problem I see here is cognitive dissonance. It can prevent us from taking action.

On the one side, we are afraid of all the scams on the wild wild web and oftentimes hesitate to make purchases and pay for items we need. Some of us prefer even to wait more time, pay higher prices, and have to face traffic jams to make some transactions when there is no perceived security online.

On the other side, we all see how the disaster and chaotic situation needs our urgent help and solidarity. We do want to make a contribution. How?

This is the reason I am writing this post here. One of the great things about the relationship I have with Diplo for half a decade is how we are integrated as a global community of good hearted people. I can easily say I have friends in all corners of the planet. People who I trust.

Personally, I do not know much about which are the institutions that are doing serious work and that are ready to receive my contribution. But I trust my friends who know and are already engaged.

This is an open invitation to our community so we can build a list of organizations. Please add your comments with details and links that we can use to make our contributions.
This space can also be used to ask our contacts in Haiti and the region about the reputation of the institutions of interest - let's use a peer-based approach to add trust in the online space.

I would like to thank Vlada, Deirdre, Marsha and other friends for sparking the idea for this post, and most importantly to our Haitian friend Jimmy Bruce, who has reported recently to us about the situation.

p.s. I received the following information, in Spanish, from Deirdre. It provides clear instructions on how to give support from foreign countries:

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Comment by Diplo IGCBP on March 1, 2010 at 5:21pm
Good news. With the help of many volunteers and special people, many supplies are being sent to those who need. Our colleagues Jimmy and Carlos have shared photos with Marsha and others who got engaged:

Comment by Deirdre Williams on February 2, 2010 at 8:10pm
More information about Carlos' education initiative

On 31 January 2010 09:41, Carlos Miranda Levy (SocInfo) wrote:
> My days procuring stuff in Haiti are about to be over (international org.
> are finally moving stuff into Haiti and hopefully out to people) and I am
> moving to jumpstart capacity building in creativity, innovation, problem
> solving and entrepreneurship through short workshops in the refugee camps.
> There is a camp in Fond Parisien of people who are now homeless and can
> definitely benefit from becoming active in productive activities.
> There are now 200 people at this camp and they are expected to grow to
> 2,000.
> I think we can generate great value building capacity and engaging in
> education activities outside the formal education realm.
> Haiti is expected to reopen schools sometime during the following days, but
> many kids in the camp will not be able to attend the schools, as many are
> wounded and in recovery, or missing parental figures, and a long list of
> issues that should be accounted.
> My starting proposal is for us to work developing on 15-45 min. workshops on
> creativity, innovation, problem solving, entrepreneurship and social
> entrepreneurship, story telling (digital or not),  for the people in the
> camp: children, young boys and girls, adults and the elder as well.
> We need educators to help us put together the content, translators to help
> getting the content in creole and local educators willing to work in the
> refugee camp at Fond Parisien, initially, and other camps eventually. We
> also need blackboards, chalk, whiteboards, crayons, papers and anything
> which might be useful.
> Who's interested?
> Regards,
> Carlos Miranda Levy
> carlos@educar.org
> +1-809-857-2164
> www.twitter.com/CarlosMiranda
> www.socinfo.com/haiti
> www.reseauhaitien.com
Comment by Deirdre Williams on January 29, 2010 at 3:23pm
Judi spoke about usahidi (see below)
This report was published on bytesforall this morning

@ushahidi has been running open-source crisis management software in
Posted by: "George Lessard" media@web.net themediamentor
Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:53 pm (PST)

RT @mediamentor: RT @tshiunghan @ushahidi has been running open-source
crisis management software in Haiti. Here's how it works
http://ow.ly/ 11DV3


The Nuts and Bolts Behind 4636 in Haiti

The 4636 emergency shortcode has been setup to run on the Digicel and the
Comcel networks in Haiti. It has been running for six days now, with a
great deal of usage taking a large amount of communication by the
volunteers around the project. Rob Munro is one of the key figures in this
process. This is his report on how things have come together.
The 4636 Process

1. People in Haiti text location, name and requests for aid / reports
etc. to 4636.
2. The data is streamed from different celtels to a server hosted by
3. 100s of Kreyol-speaking volunteers translate, categorize and plot
the geocoords of the location if possible.
4. The structured data is streamed to different orgs on the ground like
Red Cross and InSTEDD, who act on it / pass it to appropriate people
5. It is also streamed to the main Ushahidi database (the publicly
viewable one) where it is combined with other data, further annotated
etc. and made available to other orgs.

I am making sure that #3 happens, coordinating volunteer efforts. I have
only worked a little on the software – this was put together primarily by
Brian Herbert of Ushahidi who has been an *angel* in getting everything
together so fast. A small number of the volunteers I work with coordinate
directly with people on the ground to get improved data (this also happens
further down the chain).

I am also coordinating the volunteers for migrating Missing Person records
to the main PeopleFinder databaase – many 4636 volunteers do this in
downtime when volunteers exceed the texts coming in, but I’ve got other
groups involved too (Tim Schwartz adapted Brian’s code for this in
lightening speed).
Comment by Diplo IGCBP on January 29, 2010 at 1:50pm
This is the list provided by Carlos Miranda Levy:


Good Samaritan Hospital at Jimaní, Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic's Defensa Civil
Red Cross
Partners in Health
Relief International
American Refugee Committee
Yele Foundation

These I have seen active in the field.

Comment by Deirdre Williams on January 28, 2010 at 4:38pm
Relayed from Yacine Khelladi through CIVIC

Summary of Proposed Actions and ICT Strategies for Haiti Relief Efforts from the GAID Community

This summary highlights and promotes ICT strategies that were presented by some members of the GAID community. This also includes, initiatives that were undertaken to support relief efforts in Haiti.

Coordinated Response: GAID members expressed the need for a well-planned and coordinated ICT-related response to this devastation which could perhaps serve as a model for other post-disaster responses. Closer cooperation in the coming weeks with the Haitian Government, United Nations and private sector officials was required to identify ICT-related needs (connectivity and ICT equipment) in the country and to organize a coordinated response.

Open Channels of Communication: The need for channels of communication, to enable smooth flow of information between the local people and the aid workers to support logistical efforts, especially in remote areas, was reiterated.

GAID Strategy to Streamline Efforts: The GAID Secretariat suggested the formulation of a strategy, under the ledership of the Chairman of GAID, to streamline efforts of volunteers from the community.
GAID members proposed the creation of a volunteer committee (of GAID members) to streamline efforts in the current Haitian crisis and future crises.

Telecom Operator: The need to identify a telecom operator (apart from the local telocom operator) in the region, that had infrastructural, as well as, human resource capacity was proposed, to seek necessary assistance from in this hour of need. Telefonica was recommended, since they were members of the Digital Health Advisory Board.

Short-term and Long-term needs: In the immediate term, the implementation of mid-range communications equipment and satellite dishes was recommended. The need for renewable energy sources were also emphasized as a power source for basic connectivity. The use of satellite phones would be practical in the short-term. Long-term initiatives could follow later. It was noted that in the immediate aftermath of such events, trained professionals, along with security forces, were the ones working on the ground and a simple communications mesh (a vital piece to beginning rebuilding efforts in the medium to long term) was needed. In this regard, some GAID members had established contact with Vice-Recteur of Ecole Superieure d’Infotronique d’Haiti to identify the the needs of their institution.

Proposed Short-term Issues that GAID could address: 1) Help fixing the cell-phone networks. 2) Provide connectivity through satellite communications. 3) Set up an emergency portal that would enable victims to call a phone number and access key information.

Guatemala Earthquake Experience: From the Guatemalan experience, GAID members stressed that in the short-term water, medical supplies and doctors/nurses were needed most to save lives. Communications devices were important to coordinate relief efforts and re-connect family and friends. Security for aid supplies and aid workers was also critical.

Support Pledged by GAID Members
1. ICT4peace (GAID Community of Expertise): ICT4peace set up a wiki page (http://inventory.ict4peace.org/Haiti Earthquake - January 2010) which provided an inventory of critical information sources as to strengthen aid, response, recovery and relief efforts in Haiti.

3. GAID Member#1: A GAID member offered his company’s services, as well as, specific ICT tools for use and for collaborative efforts with other initiatives (www.internetspeech.com), to extend the Internet to significantly more people (both in emergency and non-emergency conditions) using any phone.

4. GAID Member#2: The GAID member reiterated willingness to provide his company’s access to Rapid Deployable Shelters that can be deployed in the field in couple of minutes with one/two persons and can be configured for temporary hospital, medical facility, homeless shelters, schools, phone/internet booths or temporary offices to manage the task force and relief workers.

5. Gaid Member#3: Offered to provide communication and connectivity services through his company-- Sintel Satellite Services.

Support Pledged by Others
Ericsson: The company announced that it was providing essential aid through its usual channel, the Ericsson Response Program. The UN has requested Ericsson to deploy its Ericsson Response organization to aid relief work in disaster-stricken Haiti. Ericsson has kept twenty volunteers on standby and will now send four (all telecom experts) to set up a container-based mini GSM-system to enable mobile communication in the area. Personnel and equipment will arrive in Haiti using UN transportation.

CARICOM: The organization will be partnering with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and to convey queries from GAID to CDEMA.

ITU: The organization has announced their efforts to bring ICT related relief to Haiti, “Forty satellite terminals are being deployed immediately to re-establish basic communication links and a further 60 units with broadband facility are being dispatched along with experts to operate them. ITU will also set up a Qualcomm Deployable Base Station (QDBS), a reliable, responsive and complete cellular system designed to enable vital wireless communications aimed at strengthening response and recovery mechanisms in a disaster zone. ITU has allocated a budget of over USD 1 million to strengthen the disaster response effort in Haiti. In this context ITU will pay for the transportation and use of all the equipment being provided for this relief effort and in addition will provide a team of engineers, who will install and deploy the equipment. The team will also assist with assessments aimed at rehabilitating the disrupted and destroyed telecommunication networks.” Other stakeholders who wished to join ITU’s efforts are to contact Cosmas Zavazava, Chief of Division, Emergency Telecommunications, ITU via phone 41 22 730 5447 or e-mail: coscmas.zavazava@itu.int.

SES Astra (Luxembourg): The company will provide some satellite capacity for Haiti.

ICT Tools
Missing Persons website by David Waters: He is working to create a site of pictures of missing persons in Haiti, which would allow friends and families to identify one another via pictures on the website. He also sought guidance in getting into Haiti operationally to work on enhancing communications, crisis information, etc.

Sahana (ICT tool): This ICT tool was created initially for the 2004 Tsunami relief effort and is making a sizeable impact to the situation in Haiti. The website is a free and open source disaster management system that provides users tools to coordinate, locate, and generally find out what others are doing in their respective critical recovery efforts, and is meant to enhance coordination among all of the various groups. http://www.sahana.lk/

GAID's Mandate and Capacity
GAID members agreed that GAID could only help foster partnerships and ideas about the best ways to help Haiti and other countries in crisis using transformative technologies. GAID could not operate as a field mission, because of its mandate and operational capacity. GAID should continue to formulate long-term strategies to address the situation in Haiti.

Haiti Vidoes
In Memoriam
Comment by Marsha Guthrie on January 28, 2010 at 1:38pm
I cannot add much to what Deirdre and the others have said except to reinforce that Haiti is going to need long-term support and we as a community should remember so that even if you cannot give much via any of the reputable charities now you can always give in future. Just ensure that the organisation you channel your funds through has indicated that the funds you donate will still be going to Haiti. Very often when the news spotlight is turned on the next big story we forget about what happened as well. This cannot and should not be the case for our fellow man in this regard.

I can vouch for Carlos' charity as he is a former participant in Diplo's Internet Governance Programme.
Comment by Deirdre Williams on January 28, 2010 at 2:26am
A most important contribution that all of us can afford to pay for Haiti is our attention. This time let's remember and remind so that the sympathy and generosity of the world can achieve something lasting and good long after the world media has turned its collective attention to the next disaster.
Comment by Judi on January 27, 2010 at 10:00pm
Set up by Kenyans to help out in Haiti.
Comment by Carolina Rossini on January 27, 2010 at 4:19pm
all suggested by Harvard

Give to charities online
Visit the sites of the organizations below to give online:

* The American Red Cross
International Response Fund
American Red Cross P.O. Box 37243 Washington, D.C. 20013
* UNICEF Haiti Earthquake Fund
125 Maiden Lane New York, NY, 10038
* Operation USA
3617 Hayden Avenue, Suite A Culver City, California, 90232
* Save The Children Haiti Earthquake Children in Emergency Fund
54 Wilton Road Westport, CT 06880
* International Medical Corps, Earthquake in Haiti Fund
1919 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 400 Santa Monica, CA, 90404
* Partners In Health Haiti Earthquake Fund
888 Commonwealth Ave, 3rd Floor Boston, MA 02215.
* William J. Clinton Foundation Haiti Earthquake Relief
383 Dorchester Avenue, Suite 400 Boston, MA 02127
* Mercy Corps Haiti Earthquake Fund
PO Box 2669, Dept W
Portland OR 97208-2669
* Doctors Without Borders
333 7th Avenue, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10001-5004
* Direct Relief International Earthquake Response
27 S. La Patera Lane Santa Barbara, CA 93117
* Oxfam Haiti Earthquake Response Fund
226 Causeway St., 5th Floor Boston, MA 02114-2206
* UN World Food Programme Help Haiti Now
Via C.G.Viola 68, Parco dei Medici 00148 Rome - Italy
* Baptist Haiti Mission Emergency Relief
118 Courtland Rockford, MI 49341
* Catholic Relief Services
228 W. Lexington St Baltimore, Maryland 21201-3413
* American Jewish World Service Earthquake Relief Fund
45 West 36th Street New York, NY 10018
PO Box 1871 Merrifield VA 22116-9753
* Better Future International Help Haiti
PO Box 20196 New York, NY 10014
* International Rescue Committee IRC Haiti Crisis Fund
122 East 42nd Street New York, New York 10168-1289
* Net Hope Haiti Quake Relief Fund
PO Box 6704 McLean, VA 22106-6704
* The Haitian Health Foundation
97 Sherman Street Norwich, CT 06360
* World Vision Haiti Quake Relief
P.O. Box 9716, Dept. W Federal Way, WA 98063-9716
* American Red Cross International Response Fund
2025 E Street, NW Washington, DC 20006
* United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund
OCHA UN Secretariat NY, NY 10017
* Friends of the Orphans
134 North La Salle Street Suite 500 Chicago, IL 60602-1036
* World Concern
19303 Fremont Avenue North Seattle, WA 98133
* Merlin USA
1600 K Street NW, Suite 450 Washington DC 20006
* Haitian American Public Health Initiatives
10 Fairway Street Mattapan, MA, 02126
* Association of Haitian Women in Boston
330 Fuller Street Dorchester, MA, 02124
* Catholic Charities of Boston Haiti Earthquake Relief
Bureau of the Archdiocese of Boston, 51 Sleeper Street Boston MA, 02210
Comment by Carolina Rossini on January 27, 2010 at 4:18pm



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