Adjacent Fields > Tech for public challenges > Disaster response and humanitarian tech > Participatory aid - (8)

People are using information and communication technologies (like the internet) to help each other in times of crisis (natural or man-made). This trend is the evolution of a concept known as “mutual aid”, introduced by Russian polymath Peter Kropotkin in 1902 in his argument that our natural sociable inclinations towards cooperation and mutual support are underserved by capitalism’s exclusive focus on the self-interested individual. My own reaction is to the bureaucracy’s underserving of informal and public-led solutions. The practice of mutual aid has been greatly accelerated and extended by the internet’s global reach. I introduce the term “participatory aid” to describe the new reality where people all over the planet can participate in providing aid in various forms to their fellow humans. In many of these cases, that aid is mediated at least partially by technology, rather than exclusively by formal aid groups. Formal aid groups like the UN and Red Cross are facing disintermediation not entirely unlike we’ve seen in the music, travel, and news industries. Members of the public are increasingly turning towards direct sources in crises rather than large, bureaucratic intermediaries. Information is increasingly likely to originate from people on the ground in those places rather than news companies, and there is a rich and growing number of ways to help, as well.

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SocorroBot is an interactive guide designed to assist individuals in the process of reporting a missing person in Mexico.

Response Innovation Lab

Designed to open humanitarian response to startups, social entrepreneurs, researchers, and other non-traditional actors capable of contributing solutions to the resopnse



Warsaw, Poland

Official Polish government website connecting those who need help with those who can provide it

Health Sites

Health Sites

Netherlands (the)

Building an open data commons of health facility data with OpenStreetMap

Inspired by the help that people give each other during hard times, we created an application that will allow anyone in need to find help in their daily duties.

Venezuela Hasta Los Tuétanos

Venezuela Hasta Los Tuétanos

Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

Welcome to the ORIGINAL channel of Resistencia, Venezuela Hasta los Tuétanos. It is an information room about the political, social, and economic situation that Venezuela is going through.

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