nepal, earthquake, disaster relief, mapping, goonj


The Nepal earthquake in April-May, 2015 was one of the worst natural disasters to have hit the region in over 8 decades: tens of thousands of people were killed, and a lot more injured. Goonj – India’s leading disaster relief organisation – needed to ensure that their resources were spent on actually helping the victims, and not on internal processes.

They now use Collect to automate processes like management of material receipts so that the time and effort could instead be put to better use. Collect also bridges the gap between donor and beneficiary by intimating the donor when the beneficiary receives the material.

Organization and Project Info

On 25 April, 2015, Nepal witnessed an earthquake which proved to be the worst natural disaster to strike the country over the past 80 years, killing more than 9000 people, and injuring more than 23000 others. To pile on further misery, Nepal witnessed another major aftershock on the 12th of May – killing more than 200 people and injuring over 2500. Nepal was left in tatters – millions of people were left homeless, and entire villages were flattened.

Goonj is India’s leading organisation working in disaster relief. They collect and deliver more than 1000 tons of material every year through their network of volunteers and partners. They immediately started their ‘Rahat Quake’ campaign to convert household goods, urban discards and other necessary material into usable resources for the people affected by the Nepal earthquake.

Problem Statement

History has it that exorbitant amounts are spent on disaster relief by both private and public bodies. India alone has spent more than 9 Billion US$ over the last 5 years for disaster relief – this is approximately 50 times higher than the international numbers. Yet, there is no quality data available on where the material is going, and whether or not it has reached the beneficiary. Also, a lot of time and effort are spent on streamlining the receipt of the material – both resources that would be better off being used in actual disaster relief.

Goonj noticed that the time spent on creating and sending the material receipts to the donors could be put to better use if only the process was automated. Also, finding a way to somehow intimate the donor when the ultimate beneficiary receives the item(s) would be a great way of ensuring transparency, and would also act as great motivation for more people to come in and do their bit in supporting the campaign.

Our Solution

Using Collect, the donor drops off the relief material at their collection camps and gets his/ her personal details recorded on the mobile. Donors are automatically sent an email and an SMS with the receipt. This saves all the time of the people involved in actually making receipts and getting them delivered to the donor, thus allowing them to focus their efforts on more tangible relief work.

Once the basic infrastructure in Nepal is up, we will also be able to extend the process automation to include delivery reports to the donor. Thus, once the material reaches the beneficiary, the volunteer will be able to update the status on a smartphone (along with the location and the picture) and the corresponding donor is immediately intimated via mail or SMS. Therefore, the donor knows exactly where his/her material was delivered to, and who benefited by it.

A brilliant venture with an efficient team that works closely with people & brings in a lot of efficiency to traditional systems by replacing them with simple technology.

Ruchika Gandhi, Goonj