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COVID Blog #1: How tech is bringing communities together in a time of social distancing

In a few short months, COVID-19 has caused widespread anxiety around the world. Yet in this time of uncertainty, the impact of community and collective action is undeniable.

Technology has a critical role to play during times of crisis. That is particularly true in this situation of a global pandemic with highly restricted mobility. Here are just some of the platforms and resources that have been created to support communities through the power of tech. If you’re looking to set up your community of support during this challenging time, check out these and other mutual aid resources:

  • The Coronavirus Handbook: Started by a tech nonprofit in the UK, this ever evolving resource brings technologists, civic organizations, public and private institutions, researchers and specialists from around the world together to collaborate on a response to the coronavirus outbreak and its subsequent impacts. While providing a space to work on proactive solutions, the handbook also provides essential personal tips for self care and remote working.
  • Catchafire: On a self-proclaimed mission to “mobilize the world’s talent for good”, Catchafire’s volunteer platform connects professionals looking to donate their skills with organizations in need of their talents. They’ve taken measures to give special assistance to work relating directly to COVID-19 and have short-term projects and a virtual volunteer pool in the areas of website management, operations, marketing and HR support.
  • Started by a few software developers in California, Help with COVID is an online marketplace where people can recruit volunteers for projects that are supporting the community through COVID-19, and volunteers can find projects to contribute their skills towards. The listed projects are especially in need of volunteers in software development, bio, medicine, manufacturing, and grant writing.
  • Here in Vancouver, a site has been set up to support mutual aid efforts in the wake of COVID-19. The website is filled with people offering their services – from running errands and picking up groceries, offering dog walking services, or simply offering to be there for someone on the phone and lend a friendly ear, it serves as a beautiful example of how communities come together in a time of need.
  • COVID-19 Coming Together (Facebook Group): Another Vancouver based group, this community on Facebook was created for members in the Greater Vancouver to come together and support each other during this critical time. With over 26,000 members, there are heartfelt stories of support, creativity and encouragement for those who need it most. One offers their sewing skills and calls for fabric to create face masks that will be donated, another calls for someone to help run errands for her father who is in self-isolation. People can also donate to their fundraising page where all proceeds go to Vancouver individuals and families’ basic needs such as rent and groceries.
  • NeedsList: The online platform NeedsList matches needs and offers within communities in real time, and tracks the value of all in-kind supply needs and offers coming through the community. This is a great way to figure out what you can give based on specific needs.

Have you come across other initiatives we should know about? Let us know in the comments.

We at PeaceGeeks hope that you are also able to find time for self-care during this difficult time. Stay safe and healthy — we’re in this together.

Mar 24, 2020
Category: Technology