Trinity College Students Develop Android App For Haiti Relief Efforts

I’m a Trinity College grad (’04) and was quite excited to see how some enterprising students and faculty have harnessed the mobile web to help out in the relief efforts currently underway in Haiti. So much more worthwhile than another fart app.

About The App

The students and faculty developed a mobile application for Android phones that will be used by a nonprofit organization to monitor and distribute food to needy women and children in Haiti.

The new app will allow a message to be sent by phone and entered into a database by the end of the day, vastly improving the speed, accuracy and efficiency of the food delivery system. About 10,000 Haitians receive food rations through the current system, although women and children are being added monthly. Another 7,000 beneficiaries receive agricultural assistance in the form of seeds, plants and tools.

HFOSS’s POSIT: Haiti Admin’s Guide from Humanitarian FOSS Project on Vimeo.

A fully functional system was developed in June, including user guides and training materials that were translated into French and Haitian Creole by ACDI/VOCA staff. Also providing translation assistance was Leslie Demangles, professor of religion and international studies at Trinity, who helped narrate the user guide videos in Creole.

The Android-based app uses Short Message System (SMS) text messages to transmit the data directly from the remote locations to the ACDI/VOCA server in Jacmel. Given the relatively large amount of data that must be entered, the system that was designed has a user interface that minimizes typing and keystrokes.
Also, in the remote rural areas, electricity and running water (or other infrastructure) was minimal or nonexistent. To give some idea of the logistical challenges faced in Haiti, the trip from Jacmel to Bell Anse, a distance of 40 kilometers, took more than four hours, de Lanerolle said.

How They Did It

Check out the article for a bit more on the app and its development.

For more information about HFOSS, please visit: www.hfoss.org/

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