We were tasked with getting real-time data from food security organizations operating on the ground in Africa into the hands of decision makers working to prevent famines. Our Food Security Map is a pilot initiative to provide visual data on InterAction members' field programs focused on poverty alleviation and food security in twelve African countries.
The site allows InterAction to collect and confirm data once per project, but to display the data contextually based on user needs. The pilot map is centered on contributions to Millennium Development Goals that aim to cut the number of people living on less than one dollar per day and those suffering from hunger in half by 2015.
Many of InterAction's projects overlap between different humanitarian and international development sectors. By reusing the same data and technology developed for another project, creating new websites specifically geared toward new audiences becomes easy and affordable. This particular project benefited from some of our earlier work when we helped InterAction simplify their process for collecting and displaying information about their bird flu programs with their Pandemic Preparedness Capacity Map. They asked us to help them leverage the same tools and concepts to serve other audiences besides public health professionals, in this case, food security professionals. Whether working in human health, food security, or other areas of international development, a common need among practitioners and investors alike is to know what projects are happening on the ground so that they can network to act and invest effectively. This lightweight proof of concept for displaying data in different contexts required just a fraction of the investment needed to build the bird flu site, demonstrating the decreased total cost of ownership that organizations can enjoy by using open source tools.