Since there are no currently active contests, we have switched Climate CoLab to read-only mode.
Learn more at
Skip navigation
Share via:


Manage during and post-disaster needs by calling, sending SMS, voice or donating money to #CrowdCriMa- an Open Source platform



The proposed #CrowdCriMa would be a disaster management platform based on an innovative, interactive and accountable Digital Governance Framework- in which common people, crisis response or disaster response workers, health workers, decision makers would participate actively. This application would be available for mobile phones and other smart devices.     

Crowdsourcing Unheard Voices

The main function would be to help collecting voice messages of disaster victims in the forms of phone call, recorded voice, SMS, E-mail and Fax to seek urgent help from the authority and spread those voices via online media, social media, SMS and etc to inform the world about the situation. As still in developing countries, Fax communication is more powerful than SMS or email, we have also included FAX as one of the reporting tools.

People will be able to record their observations, potential crisis, seek helps and appeals for funds for disaster response works, different environment related activities (e.g. project for pollution free environment and etc). To have all functions in the #CrowdCriMa platform, an IVR system, FrontlineSMS-type software will be developed / integrated in the proposed platform. 

A cloud-based information management system would be used to sustain the flow of information. This would help not to lose any information if communications infrastructures are not functioning properly during and after the disaster.


Another function of this #CrowdCriMa platform would be the crowdfunding function. When individual donor logs in, they find the list of issues / crisis where fund is needed. An innovative and sustainable approach would be taken to meet the financial need in crisis / disaster and post-crisis financial empowerment work for victims. 

Some services are available differently but innovative parts of this proposal is several services to deal disaster would be in platform so people do not need to use different platforms for disaster management work. 

Category of the action


What actions do you propose?

It is a proved phenomenon that new technologies can play an important role in good governance in crisis response work and that can facilitate transparency and accountability. However. In several occasions, it has been noticed that people are developing and using new technologies haphazardly and without any sustainable planning. 

Digital Governance Framework for Crisis Management

In the context of crisis response, an ideal framework for digital governance during any crisis should involve the common people at every stages of development. All citizens have the rights to know what is happening on the ground. They need to know the real situation without any information cover up. Exact and real time information from the ground help to provide better and smart services. The proposed ‘Digital Governance Framework for Crisis Management’ considers a chain of communication during any natural crisis. The main idea behind this framework is to develop a participatory digital framework where common people along with the different ‘Crisis Response Unit’ (CRUs) of governments together can play a greater role to deal the situation properly and to resolve any crisis within very short period of time. As it is the urge of the hour to have accurate information on right time, people expect exact information all time especially during emergency situations. Hence, this framework suggests operating it as a chain system starting from the very beginning i.e. reporting information about an incident to the end i.e. receiving feedback about the action taken by the Crisis Response Unit or different other government authorities. The diagram shows an ideal and accountable communication system during emergency that aims to provide information and update to the victims and other people starting from the very beginning to the end of the rescue operation.   

Based on the Digital Governance Framework for Crisis Management, I propose to develop a platform to report incidents directly to authorities in forms of phone calls, SMS, email, fax, voice message (IVR) using simple mobile phones. Secondly, would be an interactive platform where victims would be able to seek for different types of help including, rescue work, urgent medical help, food, shelter, etc.  Thirdly, the same platform would also work as a crowdfunding platform- that would be dedicated for crisis issues.

Now, let me describe these three things would work in the platform.

How ‘Crowdsourcing Unheard Voices’ would work?

As I am talking about sending SMS, email, Fax using mobile texts and record voices of victims by calling a particular phone/ mobile number, let me explain how some of these functions would work.

Sending SMS to Authorities:

Step 1: A victim or an activist sends SMS to a particular mobile number connected with #CrowdCriMa platform.

Step 2: #CrowdCriMa collects the SMS and store it / directly publish it and forward it to the authority. Or

Step 3: The admin of #CrowdCriMa platform checks SMS and publish it via different social media channels.

Step 4: Once published, SMS will be auto forwarded to particular pre-added email id (e.g. for fire service 56926356360 or for flood 6745699700 etc).

Sending E-mails using Mobile SMS:

Step 1: A victim or an activist sends SMS to a particular mobile number connected with #CrowdCriMa platform.

Step 2: #CrowdCriMa collects the SMS and store it / directly publish it and forward it. Or

Step 3: The admin of #CrowdCriMa platform checks SMS and publish it via different social media channels.

Step 4: Once published, SMS will be auto forwarded to particular pre-added email id (e.g. for fire service or for flood etc).

Recording Victims' Voices:

Different Steps of a possible Scenario:

     As I am proposing for setting up an interactive platform that enables crisis victims and / community leaders and / activists to record messages and listen to messages of incidents, innovative indigenous ideas to protect environments, meeting and trainings on climate change issues, new proposals of meetings, trainings and etc. recorded by others, let’s see how users’ experience would sound:


  • Press 1 to record new crisis report
  • Press 2 to listen to crisis reports recorded by others
  • Press 3 to spread your idea to protect environment
  • Press 4 to listen ideas recorded by others to protect environment
  • Press 5 to inform about new training session of protecting environment
  • Press 6 to listen different upcoming training sessions on environment protection
  • Press 7 to ….do this...
  • Press  8 to ….do that.. etc.


Step 1: A victim or an activist calls the mobile number to record a crisis report or environment related information or information on training etc…

Step 2: A GSM modem links the voice traffic to the local machine and connects the caller to the tool. The caller records the report using the tool. The user presses 1, 2. 3. 4..etc to record a report.

Step 3: The digital tool converts the audio file into a video and uploads the video corresponding to the recording reports on the configured YouTube channel to get approval from a moderator.

Step 4: The YouTube moderator signs in on the YouTube channel to see if there are new recordings that await his approval. The YouTube moderator approves or rejects a recorded message on the basis of the content or quality or both.

Step 5: If the moderator rejects a report then nothing happens. If the moderator approves a recording then the following steps execute in parallel:

  • The back-end tool uploads the audio file corresponding to the approved YouTube video on the configured Dropbox folder.
  • If approved by moderator, the corresponding video is posted on the Facebook page of the platform.
  • If approved by moderator, the corresponding video is posted on the Twitter profile of the platform.
  • The content is available for consumption by the Internet audience on the Facebook page, Twitter profile and YouTube channel.
  • Other users of the voice forum are able to listen to the message posted by the user when they call the number and press 2.


Step 6: It will also be possible to preset auto-forwarding function to forward full report to authorities once uploading is completed.

How Mobile SMS2FAX would work?

The ‘Crisis Response Communication Cycle (CRCC)’ would be followed to complete the crisis response work successfully according to the proposed Digital Governance Framework during Crisis. There should be some consistent steps that need to be taken to deal any crisis or emergency situation. 

Different Steps of a possible Scenario: (Please check the Fig. 1)

  1. Citizens noticed an incident i.e. earthquake, tsunami etc.
  2. They inform the Crisis Response Unit (CRU) by sending SMS to a CRU short code or a given mobile number / making phone calls / sending a Fax / submitting reports on web portal / updating social networking spaces / sending an email etc.
  3. Information reached to the Crisis Response Unit (CRU) and they verify the information.
  4. After verification, the CRU takes instant decision about the coordination of the crisis intervention.
  5. The CRU informs different Rapid Action Team(s) (RAT) i.e. Police, Hospital / Ambulance services by calling them / sending fax / email or SMS. In an ideal situation, the CRU also needs to inform the victims about their planned actions and / publicizes their proposed actions to deal with the crisis.
  6. During the rescue operation, different CRU also continues communicating with the victims of the incidents to know the further needs of the victims and also sends regular information / report to other units that are working on the case.   
  7. End the rescue operation, the CRU informs the victims and other citizens about the operation.


Crowdfunding Gateway:

As it has been mentioned earlier that crowdfunding option will be integrated in the #CrowdCriMa platform, an online and a telephone payment gateway will organize safe and secured donation and loan to deal any crisis including any natural disaster. Individual donor will have different options to donate for disaster / crisis recovery work. For example: 

  1. Debit / Credit card through online gateway and over voice call
  2. Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) protocol (e.g. Mobile Airtime (SMS), Mobile money option etc.
  3. Mobile phone to pay online (


Some basic principles will be applied on every donation. 50% of each donation would interest free loan to victims towards their long-term economic empowerment. For example, this contribution could be used for small-scale projects like farming, start business individually or as a community etc. 49% would be just contribution to meet some short-term needs like food, shelter, cloths, medicine, and rest 1% would be contribution for service and maintenance work of #CrowdCriMa platform. 

Who will take these actions?

  • Common people
  • Disaster rescue and relief workers
  • Government relief officials
  • Humanitarian organizations including INGOs
  • Media etc. 

Where will these actions be taken?

  • Places of disaster incidents.
  • Place of Campaign work
  • Place of Training
  • Developing countries.


What are other key benefits?

Key benefits are:

  1. A ‘total’ package for disaster / crisis management.
  2. Community involvement through active participation in disaster management.
  3. Parallel involvement of Common people, Disaster rescue and relief workers, Government officials, Humanitarian organizations, media etc. for disaster preparedness, response, recovery and reconstruction
  4. Democratic governance in crisis response work
  5. Self-empowered disaster management communities 

What are the proposal’s costs?

  • Platform development / Software development cost = 40,000 USD
  • Supporting activities for five years = 80,000-100,000 USD every year and will depend on number of reporting, crisis, training, etc..


No negative side effects but a barrier to send money in some countries where strong laws on foreign currency regulation are in place.    

Time line

Short term (5-15 years):

  1. The #CrowdCriMa platform will be created and tested by end of 2015.
  2. The platform will be launched in 2016.
  3. By 2025, all humanitarian organizations including different UN organs and EU organs, research institutions would be the main stakeholders of #CrowdCriMa. The platform would work
  4. By 2030, the #CrowdCriMa would work as worldwide centralized platform to deal a disaster response work. The back-end data center of this platform would be the single data center environment related issues. People, governments and other organizations would find all information and resources they need to deal any environment related crisis or disaster.  


Medium term (15-50 years): Not yet studied

Long term (50-100 years): Not yet studied

Related proposals




2. Mobile-based Crowdsourcing Platform for Post-2015 Governance: Possibilities for Developing Countries 

3. IVR Junction-


5. FrontlineSMS -