Home > Uncategorized > Social Media used for social good for Haiti

Social Media used for social good for Haiti

As the nation of Haiti sift through yet another catastrophe – 7.0 major earthquake – my prayers for hope and recovery, first go out to the tiny yet resilient nation. This country has been through hurricanes and a devastating record poverty, which make the U.S.’s cries of near 10% unemployment seem miniscule. Even with powerouttages and a shut down of their country’s major city, Port Au Prince, Social Media is playing a major role in not only contact efforts, but contributing to sending much needed aid immediately as well.

The American Red Cross has set up a telephone number which cellphone users can call to donate $10 per call. Cell users need only text the word ‘HAITI’ to 90999 and a donation of $10 is sent to the Red Cross on behalf of the caller. Other organizations have a similar mechanism in place as well. Weyclef Jean, noted musician with the now defunct musical group Fugees has set up a relief fund through his Yele foundation at http://www.yele.org. Like the Red Cross model cell callers only need text YELE to 501501 which donates $5 to the foundation and charges it to the caller’s cell bill. Both examples of mobile smart technology use are truly an amazing snapshots of ingenuity within an emergency and cultural context.

While times have changed, natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, tsunamis in South Pacific and now unfortunately Haiti –  which has already seen hurricanes in the past – do not. I can recall when Hurricane Katrina his the U.S. the newest form of instant citizen support was via their computer. Donations were collected via conventional telephone or cell to a designated number or given online. Now that people practically have mobile computers on them at all times, this has enabled much needed contributions to be instantaneous even faster. As a just a few hours ago mobile donation were approaching $1 million.

Red Cross Raises $800,000+ for Haiti Through Text Message Campaign

I realize that the U.S. and the international community are going through the hardest recession/depression in decades. Many people are barely working.  It warms the heart to know that even in this climate,  people worldwide still care for one another enough to dig down deep into savings and give. 

– Maurice W.

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  1. Rob Graham
    January 14, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Great insight Maurice! I was also thinking about how the ease-of-use of mobile devices was making the process of generating a response to an appeal almost instantaneous. According to the Red Cross, the 90999 SMS code generated over $3 million dollars in the first 24 hours. This has translated to faster response times and resources for the people on the ground in Haiti. I can only imagine what response times (and contribution levels) would look like if we were still required to write a check, stick in an envelope and mail it to a disaster relief address.

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