Cats vs Dogs

Who Really Rules Cats or Dogs?

We need your help, we need to meet our donation goal.  We decided to make it fun.  So why is it called the Dog Days of Summer anyway? Don’t Cats count? Really, do dogs rule and cats drool? Tell us what you think by voting now.

 

Vote for Cats

Click the Cat to Vote for Cats

Vote for Dogs

Click the Dog to Vote for Dogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Why are we hosting this small but fun competition between our favorite furry friends?
    Funds will support our disaster program services including a special off site volunteer meeting, your donations help ensure we are there to help the public when they need it most.
  • Is my donation tax deductible?
     Yes, Humanity Road is a 501c3 Public Charity
  • When will voting end?
    That depends on YOU.  It’s a race to see who can reach $1,500 first.
  •  What if there is a tie?
     In the event of a tie, the cat or dog who reaches it’s goal first will be declared the winner. 

OK then. Woof and Meow. #CatsofInstagram, #CatsofTwitter, #DogsofInstagram, #DogsofTwitter. Who will rule the day and who will rue the day?
Let’s all have some summer fun and find out who really rules. Cats or Dogs?

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Tweet your support for the Cats

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ChenggisKhaan Statue

Mongolia – Traveling the Silk Road

After being in Istanbul for the World Humanitarian Summit and now in Mongolia for the Pacific Endeavor planning workshop, I have been thinking about the impact that the Silk Road had on the citizens and communities along it’s path.   Ghengis Khan rose to power at the end of the twelfth century.  The vast Mongol empire he created stretched from China to Europe, across which the Silk Routes functioned as efficient lines of communication as well as trade.   The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes that were central to cultural exchange through regions of the Asian continent.   Traders brought carpets, textiles, spices and silk from China through Mongolia to Constantinople which is present day Istanbul.  The impact these traders had along their journey was large.  They brought cultural changes and innovative ideas to communities who previously were isolated from these strange but exotic goods.

It reminds me very much of today’s new media and innovative technology connected by digital networks.    In today’s hyper connected world digital humanitarian responders travel the same route going from community to community at a much faster speed.  In the process, it brings us to learn about cultures, music, traditions and the people.   Time may have changed the goods being introduced and the method of the travel but we have the same impact on every community when we assist either remotely or in person.   We are a global community of neighbors helping neighbors and each country that I visit I find more beauty, unity and kindness than I ever imagined.

Many years ago my grandfather gave me wise advice, we lived in a small community in Pennsylvania.  He said, “When you are driving if you become lost on the back roads follow the painted lines.”   In rural America the roads with painted lines are maintained by the state and they are roads that connect communities.  This was good advice that has saved me from many wrong turns.   Community roads connected other communities and this in turn opened the doors to travel.

As our communities change and develop we open and share more of our culture with our neighbors.  In doing so we grow and develop new relationships.   We live in an ever changing world, and innovation or technology isnt at the heart of cultural change, its the people.  I am here this week representing our team.  There are 20 countries participating in this year’s Pacific Endeavor exercise which is hosted by Pacific Command and takes place in Australia later this year.  They specialize in restoring communications, bridging that gap to improve recovery.  But the program is much more than communications, its everyday people learning new cultures and building global friendships between their respective countries.

Its through technology that we are empowered to take small steps that have a big impact, but in the end its the people who drive change.  From Istanbul to UlaanBaator, I have had the great fortune to see humanity at its best.

A Day in the Life

A Day in the life of Humanity Road Mar 10, 2011

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.

Libya Crisis Map and Chicago Snow Map from March, 2011

Libya Crisis Map and Chicago Snow Map from March, 2011

Kudos and shout out to Deb Shaddon and Heather Blanchard from Crisis Commons who also supported the Chicago Tribune Crisismap technology needs. While small in scale, the work of the Chicago Tribune Crisis Map was a milestone in creating repeatable processes for local/remote coordination and collaboration.  The response also inspired Tuscaloosa News to launch their own Crisismap just one month later in April 2011 after a devastating tornado struck the area. Humanity Road volunteers activated to partner with Tuscaloosa News and the University of Alabama to provide around-the-clock support for their map.  The newspaper lost much of its ability to report the news, but they turned to social media and technology and won a Pulitzer for their response.

Also, on March 10, 2011 while our media monitoring teams were actively responding to the Chicago and Libya events, we were supporting our first European multinational social media exercise European Command Exercise 24.  The event was in progress in social media and being spearheaded from Stuttgart Germany.  The scenario was a large earthquake and tsunami that strikes Montenegro. We had no idea that within 24 hours our scenario would become reality when a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami struck Japan.  After this engagement, we made a commitment to continue supporting preparedness exercises involving Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR) work and went on to provide key multinational exercise development support for the U.S. Pacific Command in their annual Pacific Endeavor exercise.  In 2014 the exercise scenario was an earthquake in Nepal, which significantly contributed to the Nepal earthquake response in 2015.

This has been a snapshot in the day of digital humanitarian work and how our actions carry through to improve the future of humanitarian work. This snapshot reflects the dynamic changes that volunteers united in service can make. Innovation and change are born from need and opportunity and it’s the small moments that create change.  Never assume you are too small to make a difference.  Every big thing is made of many small moments and acts. We just need to pay attention and step up to the plate when opportunity knocks.

Penguin spreading his wings about to dive in

Spread Your Wings: What We’re Doing in 2016

We all love our comfort zones. But we must challenge them to do anything worthwhile. Humanity Road’s 2016 theme is “Spread Your Wings”: going out of your way to help people, and pushing your limits.

“I was supposed to start my internship with Humanity Road on May 6. That was the plan. But then the earthquake in Nepal happened, and I began my first week ahead of schedule by diving right in… or rather, I was thrown in!

As the crisis in Nepal unfolded, I began coordinating international deliveries of donated medical supplies, live mapping areas of need for responding agencies, and working shoulder to shoulder with dedicated people to sort through thousands of social media messages. I was proud to play a part in a few success stories – we were able to contact doctors in Kathmandu who could receive medical supplies, and Humanity Road Situation Reports were used by search and rescue (SAR) teams in Nepal to prioritize their activities.”  Read Full Story

When Corey Makar took the plunge into the deep end in his first days of volunteering, he spread his wings and helped save lives.  Leveraging the skills and experience of our disaster response volunteers and strategic partnerships with local and international aid agencies, our Nepal response was one of the most effective examples of digital disaster response to date.Reach out, spread your wings, be a mentor

To build on successes from 2015, we are planning on working on four major areas in 2016:

  • Expanding and building our online and in-person training programs and drills to hone volunteer disaster response skills.
  • Expanding our social media reach, by growing our followers.
  • Partnering with other organizations. We are dedicated to strengthening our current partnerships through messaging, amplification, and collaboration. Mutual support of common goals can improve disaster response.
  • Encouraging volunteers to help in their local communities. Reach out in your own community, take a course, be a mentor.
  • We encourage you to spread your wings and expand your world. As the year unfolds, we will share more of our vision and plans. In the meantime, get engaged and #SpreadYourWings!