Content Management for NGO’s: PeaceGeeks is Innovating with Amani

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WordPress or Tumblr, it’s not. The next billion dollar startup, it’s definitely not. Technology with a meaningful impact, it will be.

PeaceGeeks, the global, non-profit volunteer organization, is introducing a new open-source content management platform to help NGO’s, called “Amani”. Amani is for promoting peace, accountability and human rights. They focus on developing partnerships with grassroots organizations in developing and conflict-affected areas, leveraging web and mobile technology to promote greater good.

PeaceGeeks is driven by seeing these grassroots NGOs doing amazing work in their communities. They also believe that there’s no reason that a lack of resources or capacity should keep them from taking advantage of digital technologies.

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Using Amani will make it easier for PeaceGeeks partners to share their stories, collect data and map critical issues affecting their communities in real time. This is an open-source, scalable platform built in Drupal that includes crisis mapping and content management capabilities. Organizations will also have the ability to easily create sites with multiple languages that work on computers, tablets and smart phones. The  first three organization using this platform are:

Amani has similar meanings across a number of languages including: hopes, dreams, or aspirations (Arabic); peace or harmony (Swahili); one who is peaceful, or one who wishes and dreams (Hindi); and security or trust (Persian). The project is a collaborative effort, with PeaceGeeks receiving help from three BC-based Drupal shops: Affinity Bridge and Jibe acting as the lead partners along with Cheeky Monkey Media. As well, Active State made a contribution by providing their cloud tool Stackato.

Executive director Renee Black suggested that “this project is the culmination of ongoing conversations with their partners.”

“PeaceGeeks has supported the work of Egyptian-based NGO HarassMap, which works to challenge the social acceptability of sexual harassment in Egypt. Since inception in December 2010, HarassMap has used a website that is based partly on Ushahidi to map sexual harassment and partly on a WordPress blog to publish content that cannot be shared through Ushahidi alone. The WordPress site has no localization capabilities. We have observed other such arrangements with many other organizations using Ushahidi and we have spoken to several other organizations who could benefit from a site with such capabilities. Our own experience over the past year with our partners, has also demonstrated that there are many functions and design elements that are commonly used. We recognized that the best way to support these groups is to provide a tool that can scale and evolve as they do,” Black told BetaKit.

Black is a big reason that PeaceGeeks is making a big difference. The motivation to make this happen come from her experience “working on international peace issues, particularly on women’s affected by armed conflict. I had the opportunity to see that there were a lot of amazing groups doing incredible work on very difficult issues in their communities, but that they lacked often basic technology to help advance their work. I also realized that there were lots of talented volunteers in areas like web and mobile development, as well as communications design who were interested in helping groups like these. PeaceGeeks was about how to bring these groups together,” she said.

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To sign up for an Amani project users need to submit an application to become a PeaceGeeks partner. Upon qualifying, PeaceGeeks makes sure Amani can help to meet the user’s needs. Depending on the partner’s needs, PeaceGeeks can also match them with volunteer designers to help them with brand identity, logos, infographics, and more.

They don’t yet have a one-click deployment option for Amani, but the repository is public on Git, so anyone is welcome to download it. The PeaceGeeks team is expecting to release Amani 2.0 in early November.

Additionally, PeaceGeeks is actively looking for contributors to help with the development of Amani. If you’re a Drupal development shop, mobile app developer, PHP dev, or hosting company and can contribute please contact them here.

John Gray

John Gray

John jumped into the start-up world in early 2009. He was co-founder of Mentionmapp, a visual analytics company that was acquired in October 2011. John is Launch Academy's Program Facilitator, and is leading their Lean Entrepreneur Program. He's a freelance writer, focusing on keeping the humanity in our conversations about technology. John has a B.Ap.Sc. in Communications and a B.A. in English, both from Simon Fraser University.