Environment & Micro-Donations with iPhone apps.
- 15 December, 2009 06:59
[by Jonathan Falk]
Our daily behavior is the more important factor, it's extremely contagious and can bring unbelievable results! Reducing your ecological footprint, supporting a children's project in Africa, helping your neighbour without expecting something in return… Small actions that can make this world more “sustainable”.
iPhone apps & non-profit world?
If you have an iPhone, surely you know the idea of Micro-Donations when buying in AppStore. The trend begun with the italian ICT company Zirak s.r.l., that is giving 10% of its iPhone apps revenues to environmental and social projects: in 2009 they are funding the Environmental Programs of Amurt-Haiti, a small and efficient NGO that works in one of the poorest and driest communities in Anse Rouge and Gonaives Communes. A small act like buying a 2$ GPS tracker or a syncronizer for your online photos is a big help for other 0.20$ that are added for a good result.
Not many software houses like Zirak s.r.l. are saying that they are “not interested in profit-maximizing, but to be sustainable and give maximum support to the volunteer’s world”; in fact, the company that started Micro-Donations with iPhone was founded by professionals coming from environmental activism background that have been supporting in the last 10 years several non-profit social and environmental projects in Europe, Africa, South America and South Asia.
What can you do, apart from enjoying some funny and useful apps on your iPhone? Spread the idea of Micro-Donations via social networks, forums, your personal blog, or send it to friends that are ecologically conscious, and if you have interesting suggestions, tell them directly through their support website. Small actions are changing the world on a daily basis, not big theories.
Taking care of our environment, of people and of all the inhabitants of our planet, is a must to survive, a step to become really sustainable. Only recently technology allows to deal efficiently with a large number of small donations; in a very simple way, even small companies can become direct sponsors of projects through Micro-Donations.
Micro-Donations help individuals to be aware of the big impact of their small contributions, as in the butterfly effect. Funding with small amounts of money allows the development of small size projects, that are usually excluded from traditional funding entities.
As stated by Munnecke and Ion, “these values would arise within the community, rather than being imposed through some form of moral or political authority. Perhaps people might just start being appreciative of each other and discover that compassion is contagious on their own accord”. Funding small scale projects shifts radically the viewpoint, like in the micro-credit: the presence of active volunteers, the need of smaller fundings to implement actions, and the smaller amounts of money involved prevents potential temptations for improper money usage.
Environmental Programs 2009 – AMURT Haiti
Haiti has suffered for decades from uncontrolled environmental degradation, which has resulted in severe rates of soil erosion, cyclone impact, tree cover loss, and species' stress. AMURT-Haiti has consistently followed a development strategy of environmental restoration in the area of Anse Rouge through community empowerment and education. Since 2004 more than 280,000 tree seedlings have left the community managed tree nurseries, supported by the NGO, helping several protected watersheds and private yards.
The protection and rehabilitation of the fragile environmental balance of the NW Artibonite has become one of the NGO greatest priorities. From watershed management and soil conservation to mangrove re-introduction and environmental experiential education its programs increasingly focus on empowering the local communities with the training and support needed to envision, plan, implement, and sustain "green" programs. AMURT Haiti have chosen to decentralize its operation in order to allow maximum grassroots involvement, to decrease costs, and to increase the sustainability indicators of each initiative. It is a paradigm shift of sorts, one which has allowed it to increase its ability to respond in a more fluid and flexible manner to the local needs and conditions.
The reduced costs of the programs and its high popularity amongst the local communities has increased its sustainability indicators, and has empowered individuals and community committees to take charge of the environmental issues of their villages.
When ICT goes green – Zirak s.r.l.
Zirak s.r.l. is donating 10% of its revenues to small non-profit entities in the whole world, that are working to implement environmental and social service projects. The choice of the associations is meticulous and will be monitored by international institutions who will also verify that 100% of the donations will benefit the projects, without money lost “on the way”, as regularly happens in bigger dimension projects.
- EasyTrails GPS
Considered one of the best GPS trackers at the moment, useful, professional, and with a clean design. Allows to record, analyze and share trails of any outdoor activity. With its low cost, is often recognized as a very useful application for iPhone.
A pocker scanner for daily documents using the iPhone camera: allows to enhance/organize them into multipage PDF DOCUMENTS, and transfer them over Wi-Fi, e-mail or publish in internet (Google Docs, iDisk, WebDAV).
A simple app that lets you browse through photos in iPhone camera roll and online photo galleries (eg: Picasa or Flickr accounts), and mirror your preferred galleries locally so that you won't lose them even if they get changed by the original author.
Zirak team announced that another apps was already sent to AppStore, ready to be published; soon the choice to support Micro-Donations will be even bigger.
A quotation from their website that resume the spirit of the initiative:
If we're dreaming together, our dream becomes a reality!”
(Don Helder Camara)