Soledad Gaztambide – Foundation for Puerto Rico
We seek to pilot a participatory civic technology initiative, re+connect, to close the last-mile disaster relief gap and create long-term resilience for underserved communities with software technology, data intelligence, and social infrastructure. Building on extensive collaborative research and design efforts from the past three years, we aim to mobilize, inform, and coordinate collective action across residents, community groups, and governmental and non-governmental entities in disaster management to direct the right responses, to the right places, at the right time. The pilot initiative integrates an accessible, reliable, and user-friendly software application with an inclusive community engagement program to enable and empower residents to act as “community ambassadors” to crowdsource key information to bridge the gap between essential resources and services provision and community needs in the face of disasters. We bring together a team with expertise and experiences across humanitarian innovation, participatory design, civic engagement, social and behavioral science, disaster informatics, software technology, and social entrepreneurship to both advance knowledge and understanding in key fields related to disaster management and generate measurable, inclusive, and equitable social impacts. Successful implementation of the initiative will enhance peoples’ access to essential resources and services by strengthening social connectedness, improving local disaster information and knowledge inclusion, and facilitating collaboration and coordination across stakeholders to achieve disaster management goals.