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How can the community of Instructables help the people of Haiti Answered

What guides would be good to help the people of Haiti? Would it be possible for a contingent to go and provide solutions to the troubles that are happening presently. This is unlikely, because of the looting and killing that usually happens after the demise of a governing structure. Also, what we are told about the impossible movement into that place, and the fact that not enough people have a place to live, so going there may deprive the present situation somewhat.
The immediate situation is being handled quite authoritarianly by the old american presidents presently. But what about in 6 months time? Would the place be safe enough for 1 or more people to go in and help out?
How would they do it? Also, how would they overcome the panic of 'help me my way', in order to open peoples minds to building for themselves anew? Any ideas on how this would resolve?


I was thinking too specifically. Throwing money at the people of Haiti, is not very nice, but its what they need. Except, I didn't want to go do this route, as it is not in the scope of the instructables site. What I was thinking, was which 'ibles would be of use in a situation that they find themselves in, i.e. no money, broken buildings, derelict cars, poles with bulbs and wires but no electricity. I am sure there are plenty trolleys to take apart, but little access to a dremel or angle grinder.

The situation is over a million camping on the streets, which sounds like what happens at the sundance festival, except, these people are in shock and distress as opposed to entertaining.

There is also those in charge of helping others, as well as those taking advantage and getting 3 times what they can, which leaves others left out.
I suppose, one way is to give some people authority to help others, empowering them to do something else for others, so that they feel important.

Another is to have certain people in charge of making things.

Also, for people to work in triangles. So, one person has 10 people to help, those ten have a hundred, etc. Basically the top person helps those below to help others, and each person has 10 people to look after.

Nothing will probably come of this immediately. Maybe, one person from here will be one day be in a position whereby they will think of this topic, and go okay, I could do things like that, or get that guy/girl to make that, which will help those, kind of thing.

Maybe we could have a contest of what guides would be good for being in a drastic situation such as ... what can we think of?

In the event of a disaster like Haiti, a website like ours is of no direct use to the the victims of the disaster.

The best way we can be of immediate help is the same way as anybody else - send cash to those who are already skilled in disaster relief.

A second level of help would be after the initial disaster, simply going along with whatever tools you can get through security controls and  help rebuild the infra-structure.  Again, this would be best coordinated by the experts, but I am sure that there are people on this site with the on-the-spot creative making skills to solve the unique problems that are bound to arise.

In the longer term, though, the best way we can help is in advance of a disaster.

We could come up with archives (groups, guides) of projects suitable for use in the aftermath of a disaster.  In no particular order:
  • Designs for survival stills and other water purifiers.
  • How to dig, clean and refurbish wells.
  • Designs for shelters built from destroyed buildings (suitable for various climates)
  • Safe, hygienic ways of dealing with wastes (locating and digging latrines, digging and managing drainage ditches.
  • Heating and cooking with scavenged materials.
  • Communications - sending messages with flags, kites, foxhole radios, "bodging" landlines, repairing roads.
  • Medical aids - devices to help people badly injured in a disaster, such as the hand-pedalled vehicles mentioned elsewhere.
  • Building serviceable roads in a variety of conditions.
  • How to replace destroyed bridges (rope bridges and upwards).
As I said, such projects are of no immediate use to the victims, but should be made known to the kind of people who would end up helping in the case of a disaster:
  • Fire, police, medical emergency services.
  • Local militias.
  • Local doctors.
  • Schools and teachers.
  • Churches
  • Ranger stations
  • Hotel managers
As well as making sure the existence of these projects is known by these people, they should be encouraged to own hard-copy versions, since the time they actually need them will be the time the internet goes down.

Maybe a future Instructables book could be a Worst Case Survival Guide, containing the projects above - sales of the book to the general public could be used to finance free copies being issued to those identified as needy (more use than sending solar-powered bibles!), or special offers could be run like they did with the $100 laptop (buy two, get one, send the other to a desired location).

Anyhoo, that's my two penn'th of blue-sky thinking.

Yes, Kiteman, yes.

Makers Without Borders.
I want to see little roaming groups and individuals wandering around the world, working with locals, showing them how to make some basic life improving stuff with what they have at hand.
Maybe hand out some basic tools, a Maker's fieldbook is an excellent idea, but mostly just answering questions, imparting knowledge, hammering nails, getting your hands dirty.

if we have a handful of designs which can be tailored for the local situation, show people how to make use and maintain them, how to set up little businesses selling them to their neighbours, let them innovate, disaster proof themselves.

And the cost to the makers in question would travelling the world, spending time with good people, making more of a difference than it would be otherwise conceivable to make.

Being there in person is so much more than handing out a book and expecting someone to read it. So many of those in need are not literate, and many do not understand how to pick up a tool even if they do look into a self-help book. That shows you what school did for us. It gave us a load of books to read. Some go on to read more while others do something else.
I agree with your hands on attitude, although 'makers without borders' could get funding if it could prove worthwhile. This is 'grass roots' stuff. What could we learn from those that we could teach?
Windmills is something I'd like to do. Tho' I like what Kiteman said too.

"So many of those in need are not literate, and many do not understand how to pick up a tool even if they do look into a self-help book."
You seem to have missed the list of people I suggested as recipients:
  • Fire, police, medical emergency services.
  • Local militias.
  • Local doctors.
  • Schools and teachers.
  • Churches
  • Ranger stations
  • Hotel managers
Literacy skills are usually required in those jobs...

Absolutely, but I hadn't intended those as recipients. I think the focus was 'those in need', and absentmindedly went to those who are affected emotionally and physically.
When rebuilding a society, some people don't hang around, and those that do are the ones that pick up the pieces, and keep the fabric of the society together. The tourists that come and go do help, but those who can teach are most likely going to read the book. Those with a strict agenda, like emergency services incl. doctors would hardly read this. Hotel managers would probably be trying to get insurance claims through or fleeing, depending on the extent of damage.

I don't mean give them the book after the fact, I mean distribute it to those kinds of people in areas at risk.

Establish the skill-base, just in case.

Minus possibly the militias.

But yes, your point stands.
Looking beyond those groups though; there's no need to constrain ourselves soley to existing bureaucracies and infrastructures. I'd like to see people making their own stuff, and a lot of them might not have had access to a lot in the way of education and electronic media.

We don't need to wander - the internet gets most everywhere.

Just highlight the existence of the groups I suggested (should they come to exist), and that should do the job.

But I want to wander...

The net, yes, will reach many more people, but I think less effectively. Working with someone directly is easier than watching a youtube video. Also people can only find something if they know to look for it.

Both, I think, is the answer.

There's a strange phenomena of people wanting to be volunteers, but not being able to afford it. It's actually quite expensive, giving your time away for free.
If it were possible for people to train themselves up on making these things, some general problem solving knowledge, and then be able to draw a small salary to cover their expenses while they're away; I can personally think of over twenty people I know who would do that in a second. Probably more.

Anyone feel like setting up an NGO?

Before going in at the deep end, how about we come up with a 'Grass Roots Survival List', and put together a list of ibles that would fulfil a disaster recovery guide for a group called Makers Without Borders.
Sugarandfat, whereabouts are you based anyway?

I'm all over the place, but currently in Madrid. Got here yesterday and turns out it's real sunny this time of year. Which helps me out enormously.

I think this survival list / field guide thing is sounding like a really good idea, and I'd love to see it in print as well. Two sections, maybe; one for setting a place up, one for rebuilding it?

If I'm going to be out and about, I'd buy one of these for sure.
That's usually a good rule of thumb that it'll be of use generally.

I'd include something to help teach children how to build things in school.
If we concentrate on whats possible in a school workshop. Going back to what you said:
First to set up
Second to rebuild

I fail to see the possibilities of rebuilding. Maybe you give an example.

So 1st the setup.
How do you build a workshop, maybe?
The difficulty with this is that in a society that has completely broken down there is the immediate needs to be taken care of first, of self, others and environment. People working towards self sufficiency, would need their own power, their own working space, and also a way to transport material.

Any instructibles to use, if it was to turn into a book, I think would need some kind of method of acquiring permissions, or are these 'ibles already in the pblic domain, and if it turned into a book, would a thank you to each author serve?

> I fail to see the possibilities of rebuilding. Maybe you give an example.

As in putting things back up that some disaster has knocked over.

But it occurs to me that the the stuff you need the day after a disaster is pretty much the same as the day before. Fresh water, light, cooking,  shelter, roads, etc. You might have to make it quicker with less, but it's just the basics of life either way.

Maybe just one section then: how to make gear which stops your family dying.

I keep thinking of that kid from Malawi who built a windmill from a bike, uninsulated copper wire and a electronics textbook in English. Imagine what people like that could do with a hand drill, a roll of gaffa and some info in their language.

Okay, so starting we have to find the beginning. We can't jump to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_J._Gingery and say build a lathe to build your other stuff.
That kid that built the windmill is an inspiration for me too. Is that what we are doing .. gathering ideas that other people can take advantage of to make themselves businessmen/women?
It certainly would sell like that.

>>..putting things back ..
you mean like with gaff tape at 5£ a roll or a roof that just came off the house? And my point is that materials cost a fortune that people in disaster struck areas do not have.
The stuff you need after a disaster is the home that just got demolished, and soon, as with haiti, the floods will come and 1.5 million people will have to find is dry land. So, we could try the ARK approach, but I think that would be distasteful for some. I'd love to build an ark, but it I think is a big big project.
Carrying on: Fresh water, light source (can we reuse streetlights?), food finding, cooking and storage, (gimme) shelter, why would we need roads? could we use a truck that goes motocross? Of course, transport is essential but maybe outside the scope of this guide.

Quicker with less is a nice strapline.

Section one title: Keeping yourselves alive(?)
description: how to make gear which stops your family dying, and also that which we can relate to ..

.  You said that much better than I could have.
.  In many cases, any "ambassador" we might send would just get in the way (eg, have to be rescued themselves). Help those that know how to help the victims (eg, American Red Cross). In most cases, the best way to do that is with cash.

One small thing we can all do is to email the IMF and ask them to drop Haiti's debt.

Go to this page and fill in the blanks.