Problems

Open Food Network - Making it easy to buy and sell local food

Updated 1 year 1 month ago

Our not for profit Open Food Web Foundation has already been working on a general solution to the problem of “making it easy to buy and sell local food" (see below).  The problems we pose for RHOK are specific and stand-alone but related:

1) Bulk Food Ordering: For many people, organic and sustainably produced food perceived as (or is) too expensive. Bulk buying can enable dispersed groups of people to access wholesale prices, making good food more affordable. However, there are currently significant transaction and administration costs for people and coops who are working together to bulk buy.
2) Sharing Transport: The problem of moving food around at minimum cost / greenhouse emissions, requires users to be able to work together to plan shared trips e.g. one farmer bringing produce from multiple farmers into the city.

General problem - Making it easy to buy and sell local food.  Many consumers  want to “know their farmers” (where they are, how they farm, what price they get) while still having wide choice and the ease and convenience of local pick-up/access.  They don’t necessarily want to have to “do the research” or deal with farmers directly - they just want to deal through someone who they can trust to make sure the food meets their preferences whatever they may be (good quality; affordable; ethical; organic; healthy; fair for farmers; etc). 

Many farmers want an alternative to commodity markets that is easy (ie not having to deal directly with many customers); provides a good return and is fair.  However, many don’t have the inclination, time or skills to sell through farmers’ markets or launch their own direct marketing strategy.

There are a growing number of ethical/locally accountable SMEs providing valuable distribution / processing / retail etc services to farmers and to customers. For these enterprises to supply affordable good quality food to customers and a fair price to producers, they need to be able to achieve administrative and logistical efficiencies in the supply network. Business models for these enterprises are diverse (box schemes; cooperatives; community run; for profit; wholesalers; food processors etc) so a “one size fits all” approach won’t work but they have a lot in common in terms of basic business processes.  

General solution - the Open Food Network prototype - We have developed a prototype open source online food marketplace in response to these needs.  It is being tested by two separate “distribution” enterprise users, who each use it for trade with many farmers and consumers.  The key organising principle is that transparency of product and price is maintained from the producer, through the supply network, to the customer. The next version will enable “networked” trade by multiple distribution enterprises trading with many producers and many customers.  A one stop shop(s) for local food that is affordable, convenient, fair and trustworthy.

General info: http://openfoodweb.org/foundation/ofn/ 
Tech overview: https://github.com/eaterprises/openfoodweb/wiki/Orientation

Categories: Agriculture, Environment, Food Security, Transparency, Transportation

MedShare International Mobile App

Updated 1 year 1 month ago

Someone from MedShare International needs some help with app development.

This is a little background info:

I am looking for something like this, but even more awesome: http://www.toms.com/apps/iphone/l

Here is a little about our organization:

MedShare desires to build healthier communities locally and globally by preventing excess medical supplies from going into landfills and redistributing the same useable, unexpired materials to free clinics locally, and to hospitals and clinics located all across the world.  This year we celebrate fifteen years of delivering on our mission to bridge the gap between surplus and need and it is our vision to continue to make a remarkable impact on healthcare systems in underserved communities.

In Atlanta, we provide a meaningful experience for companies and employees who value social responsibility and civic engagement and want to share their good with others.  Each year, over 12,000 volunteers sort medical supplies that have been discarded by hospitals, but are perfectly usable, unexpired and often in their original packaging.  If MedShare did not reclaim this surplus it would end up in landfills and add to the millions of tons of waste that is accumulated annually. Instead, we redistribute these items – syringes, sutures, gauze, bandages, gloves, gowns, IV tubing, and other consumables, to free medical clinics in Georgia and to hospitals located in over 90 countries.

Globally we support all facets of international aid – from responding immediately to disaster relief efforts to, supplying specifically requested humanitarian aid, and by supporting long-term efforts to strengthen health care systems in developing countries.   We believe a healthy world is a stronger and safer world.

If you know anyone or can help feel free to email them here:  LConville-Canney@medshare.org

Thanks in advance.

Categories: Environment, Health

Disaster Recovery and You (D-R-Y)

Updated 1 year 1 month ago

Aim: To create a website to report different types of disasters (natural/man-made big/small) and what percautions/measures helped people to survice those disasters.

 

This will be simple Website with membership (preferably OpenID login using Facebook/Google id). members can post their story in one of the categories, other members can rate it / like it, so relevant posts bubble up and spam precipitated down!

 

Utility of this website will be to showcase measres that worked in disaster situation, thus helping people likely to face disasters or in disaster situation already. This can also become reference for local governing bodies to help in case of natural disaster!

Categories: Disaster Resiliency

Creating an Accessible Cloud

Updated 1 year 1 month ago

 

Introduction

Technology has become highly indispensable in today’s day and age. Its impact can be felt by people from all walks of life. Basic facilities of education, access to information and security are the fundamental rights of every person. But still, there are few sections of the society that are deprived of these rights. Two such sections are that which constitute of women & visually-impaired individuals.


 

Background

Visually-impaired as a section of the society have always been looked at as a burden, a dependent set and have always been perceived to be capable of doing jobs of lower ranks in spite of their healthy qualifications. However, the changing times have been contributed towards a change in their lifestyle. The past decade has seen a significant enrichment in their lifestyle and technology has played a massive role in bringing about this change.


 

Solutions and Challenges

With development of screen readers, text-to-speech software like JAWS developed by Freedom Scientific inc., the visually-impaired can now access computers which has enabled them to reach beyond boundaries in their professional careers ranging across management, legal and banking services, journalism, information technology and highly proficient academic fields. They have also ventured into previously unimagined arenas such as accessibility testing,, website development etc, where they lead to challenge their sighted counterparts. Another piece of creation which enhances the success path of the non-sighted people is the mobile phone. It has proven to be a great tool fitting the palms of their hands. The mobile screen reading software’s like Talks from Nuance communications & Mobile Speak from Code Factory not only gives them access to the basic features of making calls and messaging, but also the advance features like browsing internet, using GPS navigation systems, connecting to social networking channels amidst others. Some key statistics that harps on the reach of these solutions in India:

  • JAWS users: 20,000.

  • TALKS Users: 6000.

  • Mobile Speak users: 5000.

  • IPhone, Android & Blackberry phone users: 500.

However, the assistive technologies available in the markets today are not indigenously developed and thus very expensive and not affordable by the common man.


 

Agent of Change

With “Technology” being its key tool for imparting knowledge to the visually-impaired, Voice Vision commenced its operations in year 2000 in Mumbai, India. Started by a visually-impaired woman herself, at the time it was one of the first computer training institute in India for imparting computer training to the visually-impaired individuals. Today, it has emerged as an organisation focused towards the overall development of this section. In 2010, the organization launched its highly interactive & accessible website www.voicevision.in, hosting many ongoing projects such as the Reader-Writer, Parent Support Group and the Matrimonial section to name a few. Till date all of these projects have been completely self funded and solely for the benefit of the visually-impaired. Voice Vision constantly conducts various knowledge sessions on topics of utmost importance. However the reach of such sessions is limited to the physical boundaries of Mumbai city. Increasing the boundaries beyond the geographical limits will help reach the masses on a wider scale.


 

Thus, to bridge the gap of knowledge & awareness, education & reach, usability & affordability we have a few solutions.

  1. Unique online course: Looking to harp on the usage of both computer & mobile technologies and using our website as the facilitator, we wish to begin online courses using a computer at one end and a smartphone on the other. Where a user connects to our website from anywhere in India, registers for the course, attends sessions & appears for the examination online.

  2. Designing inexpensive Optical Character Recognition software (OCR) for mobile: OCR is the software which converts the scanned image into editable text recognizable by screen readers. Today’s smartphones are equipped with cameras, using which one can click photograph of a printed document and read it. The KNFB reader is one such OCR which is compatible with symbian OS based phones.

Benefits:

  • Flexibility, (time & place)

  • Cost-effectiveness, (no investment on a computer)

  • Time & space saving.

  • No need to leave the comfort of one’s home

  • Making printed material accessible.


 

Support required:

  • Designing an accessible online training tool, for access through computers & smartphones.

  • Designing inexpensive OCR software for mobiles.

  • Suggestions for reducing the cost of designing and implementing such applications.

  • Suggestions for reducing the cost of smartphones, so the technology can easily reach the masses in rural areas.

  • Supporting the projects by funding them.


 


 

Categories: Education, Human Rights

Visualising patterns of seasonal changes in trees to monitor climate change

Updated 1 year 1 month ago

SeasonWatch.in (hereafter SW) is an India-wide citizen science programme to monitor patterns in tree phenology (i.e. timing of flowering, leafing and fruiting). The objective is to track changes in these cyclical patterns over space and time, and see how these are related to changing climate. There are about 100 species of trees being monitored of which there are 25 focal species.

Users register online, and select one or several trees to monitor, add basic information (one time) viz. Species, user-defined nickname, geographical location, girth, species, name, and start submitting data. Data is to be collected weekly on six phenological aspects – (1) fresh leaves, (2) mature leaves, (3) flower buds, (4) flowers, (5) unripe fruit, (6) ripe fruit. For each of these, the observer assigns one category out of the possible four (1) none, (2) few, (3) many, (4) don't know.

The Problem: interactive visualisation. At the moment graphical summary of the observation is static and very limited. We work particularly with schoolchildren, and are interested in simple interactive graphics that 8-12 year-old children will find interesting and appealing. The users should be able to visualise data summaries (their own contributions AND contributions from other users) on particular individual trees or tree species, and customise their visualisation using one or more filters e.g. (1) time-period, (2) state etc. Secondly, users should be able to visualise comparative summaries (1) between different species, (2) between different locations, and (3) between different years. People coming to the site should be able to choose a tree species they like and visualise the information (spatial and temporal) that has been contributed by all participants.

URL: www.seasonwatch.in

 

Categories: Environment

Make No Mistake - Engaging youth to get them bushfire prepared

Updated 1 year 1 month ago

Make No Mistake - bushfire survival planning is the responsibility of individuals, including young people and it can be a bit boring!

In areas of high bushfire risk there are many households without a bushfire survival plan. If there is a plan it is often made by the the adults for the enitre household. Young people, especially teenagers do not always understand the risk and may not pay close attention to the plan (if there is one).

Many households plan to just leave early. Great. What happens when it is the third day of Code Red fire danger in a row. The pressure is on to go to work but the local high school is closed. What's the plan for the teenagers? What happens when a fire starts in the area and there is no option to leave?

We need to inspire these young people to understand bushfire risk so that they can get involved in bushfire planning. 

Our young people are typically avid internet and social media users. We need to develop a way of engaging with young people online in the high risk bushfire areas to get them bushfire prepared and potentially save their lives.

With the help of RHoK we would now like to increase the level of knowledge of bushfire risk and preparedness amongst our teenagers. "Make No Mistake" will be a game (web-based and/or mobile) that is fun, educational and interesting enough that teenagers will play it! 

Some of the issues to be addressed are:

- teenagers being left home alone on high bushfire risk days (school holidays, sick, pupil free days)

- teenagers from out of the area coming into a high risk area to attend school

- teenagers from high risk areas who attend schools out of the area (knowing when it is safe to come home)

- understanding information available (eg. fire danger ratings, weather conditions, warnings & incidents)

- how to survive if confronted by a bushfire event

- letting people know where they are on days of high bushfire risk.

The key features required are that it is a GAME, it is FUN, there are THINGS TO DO and QUESTIONS to answer.

 

Categories: Disaster Resiliency, Youth

Peace Corps Recruit Me App

Updated 1 year 1 month ago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1x_ADGSb9A

 

An app that allows perspective volunteers to see on the individual level if they have the necessary skills to become a Peace Corps volunteer before they apply.

Coming from a recruitment office, the most common question I receive via email from perspective volunteers is whether they are qualified to be a Peace Corps volunteer with their given education background, volunteer history and language skills. Currently, due to the large traffic of correspondence our office receives, our advice is for those interested in Peace Corps service to apply (even if they are unsure their skill set meets the basic requirements to be a volunteer). This causes a lot of extra traffic for already busy recruiters who have to sadly tell the perspective volunteer that they must gain additional skills and apply again at a later time. This smartphone app will tell perspective volunteers before they even apply if they are eligible for service or not using their answers to specific questions including educational background and past work experience. If they are eligible, it will encourage them to begin their application. If not, it will tell them exactly what they are missing before they begin an application and even meet with a recruiter.

This will eliminate a lot of traffic to recruiting offices; and therefore make the entire application process more efficient. This will bring about stronger batches of Peace Corps volunteers in the future.

Categories: Education, Transparency, Youth

Bagong Barrio Education Fund (BBEF) - Breaking the cycle of poverty through educational sponsorship

Updated 1 year 2 months ago

The Bagong Barrio Education Fund is a not-for-profit sponsorship program that focuses on education as a means of breaking the cycle of poverty.

The program supports the educational needs of the children of Bagong Barrio, the second largest slum village in Manila. It brings together Australian (and international) 

sponsors who fund the education expenses (books, uniforms, transport) of individual students.

100% of the sponsors’ money goes directly to the students.

For more info: http://www.bbef.org.au/index.html

 

 

Categories: Education, Youth

On the Map - Utilize cell phones to map rural communities

Updated 1 year 2 months ago

Accurate and accessible mapping services have changed how many of use see our place in the world. Whether it's interactive street maps, satellite imagery or detailed maps of natural resources it is easier than ever to have accurate knowledge of where we call home. Many communities in rural part of the world are not accurately mapped, current maps are not easily updated, or in many cases communities are not mapped at all. Professional GPS technology and GIS software can be very costly and very complicated, especially for those with little to no experience with computer programs, like many who live in rural communities.

Utilizing the location services already on many cell phones, location way-points could be saved and uploaded later to a simple web-based service for map creation, editing and publishing online or printing. A user would open the application on their cell phone, or location service device, and stand at a landmark or way-point. The application would save their geo-location and give them the ability to name the location and label it under a category (such as 'road' or 'water source'). Later, the user is able to upload their data-points to a web-based mapping service. Current free online mapping services could be used, like GPS Visualizer or Open Street Map, or another service could be developed. This service would be more integrated with the mobile application, designed for the purpose of mapping unmapped locations, and more user friendly to people of different world languages.

Giving rural villagers maps of their communities will provide opportunities for villages to: measure their local resources and create natural resource management plans; view infrastructure (such as water pump locations) on a village wide scale so needs and improvements can be modeled to benefit the greatest number of people. An accurate local map would be a useful teaching tool to increase spacial reasoning skills for primary and secondary school geography lessons, students could also have a chance to create their own maps of landmarks important to them. Accurate maps would also greatly help emergency planning and disaster relief efforts. Lastly, empowering individuals to define and explore their community through maps broadens minds and gives people a better understanding of their sense of place in the world. It is an opportunity to put their communities 'On the Map.'

Categories: Disaster Resiliency, Education, Environment, Transparency, Transportation, Water, Youth

Smart Giving - The Social Network for Social Giving

Updated 1 year 2 months ago

Smart Giving is a platform where individuals, charities and businesses will  interact and support each other. We are aiming to develop a web App which will allow people to give any thing they like e.g. time, skills or money and get rewarded for social giving. We are gamifying the concept of giving and making it fun. Our members will earn Joys (points) for whatever they give, which can be converted into cash back discounts offered by our business members. Its simple, we are part of nature and it has a simple rule, more we give the more we get. 

All public donations will be transferred to member charities. We have established a charitable fund called Smart Giving Trust, which is Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) endorsed by tax office and holds fundraising licenses to collect public donations throughout Australia. At this stage, we need help to build a very basic application to get some feedback. We have uploaded a presentation which help you understand our long term vision for a global platform. http://bit.ly/14610Ed

 

 

Categories: Agriculture, Disaster Resiliency, Education, Energy, Environment, Food Security, Gender Equality, Health, Human Rights, Trade, Transparency, Transportation, Urban, Water, Youth

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