When a disaster devastates a country’s infrastructure, we tend to think about physical infrastructure damages — roads, telecommunication, delivery routes. But the damage to information systems can often be even more disruptive to post-disaster life, as is the case with human labor displacement. Now, a new service by MIT Media Lab students Greg Elliott and Aaron Zinman is aiming to address this in post-earthquake Haiti.
Konbit is an interactive skill-indexing communications platform that organizes local labor. The free service bypasses literacy challenges by offering an automated voice service, where Haitians looking for work can call and record their skills as story-like messages. Konbit then makes the database of messages available to local NGO’s to search for and employ local labor.
Subscribe for counterintuitive, surprising, and impactful stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday
The service was released in December and over 600 Haitians have called in since. Though most messages are recorded in Creole, Konbit crowdsources English translations via Diaspora, hoping the English translations will attract more NGO’s.
Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine, Design Observer and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.