The future is crisis. We are all experiencing how the covid situation is currently transitioning into a cost of living crisis. And we can also see how climate related disasters are becoming more frequent, and more intense. Although different in nature and not always directly related, it seems that the best way to endure - and survive - them is often the same: through local resilience and cooperation.

So how can we strengthen local communities, before, during and after a crisis situation? How can we reduce their dependence on external resources? And how can we promote and amplify internal cooperation?

I'm currently exploring these questions together with Green Releaf. We're working on a distaster relief map / mutual aid platform, which can be viewed at Releaf.Community. Our initial plans are roughly outlined below.

Current situation

  1. There’s a lot being done already, but often in isolation
  2. Most relief efforts are reacting to the situation
  3. Aid is not always directed to the places that need it most
  4. It’s difficult to verify if donations are received / really needed
  5. Organizing relief efforts still requires high tech infrastructure

What we propose

  1. Map and connect the things that are already happening
  2. Anticipate the situation and do whatever we can to prepare
  3. Create communication circles with local communities and aid providers
  4. Channel aid to projects instead of individuals (in partnership with local government / NGOs)
  5. Use SMS and offline data exchange to communicate

How can we do this

  1. Provide tools for data collection and sharing to partners and volunteers
  2. Promote seed saving, water capture and storage, food preservation, etc
  3. Organize local meetings and connect circles with low-tech communication tools
  4. List projects and provide options to donate directly (see Thrivespring for example)
  5. Use Matrix SMS bridge, Kobo Toolbox, OSM offline maps, data mules...

We have a lot of ground to cover still. If what we're doing resonates with you and you feel like helping, then please don't hesitate to contact me.

Project website Field notes