What do Chicago, Libya, Alabama, and Montenegro have to do with each other? All were locations where an Ushahidi map was launched and Humanity Road provided support. This is a day in the life of Humanity Road – March 10, 2011.
On this day five years ago, Humanity Road volunteers were heavily engaged in supporting digital humanitarian work in Libya, the USA and Europe. Working around-the-clock, Humanity Road joined a cross-organizational effort and led a Media Monitoring team that contributed reports to an Ushahidi map of the Libyan crisis for the United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). It was the first time UNOCHA tapped digital volunteers. The digital humanitarian team that responded was dubbed a Standby Task Force, and included CrisisCommons, Humanity Road, ICT4Peace, Open Street Map and MapAction. This work catalyzed the formation of the Digital Humanitarian Network in April of 2012.
Every day, Humanity Road volunteers are online monitoring and standing by to respond to disaster. As the Libya effort was beginning, Humanity Road volunteers were just wrapping up their activation for a catastrophic winter storm in Chicago. The Chicago Tribune launched a Ushahidi crisis map; #Chisnow Map to track requests and offers to shovel snow after a monster storm dumped over twenty inches of snow on the ground. When incoming reports began to reflect urgent needs, Crisis Commons and Humanity Road reached out to collaborate with a local Citizens Emergency Response team (CERT) to provide assistance. The #ChiSnow map was groundbreaking as it was the first time Humanity Road collaborated with a local team to dispatch on the ground while remotely monitoring a crisis map. We coordinated with Crisis Commons and the local Citizens Emergency Response team (CERT) by using a Skype working group. Humanity Road Volunteers read through the map incidents daily for urgent needs and relayed them to the CERT team for resolution.