2008-05-17

Project Hope 2.0

As donation pours in for China's quake victims, many of us continue to donate, acting more out of easing our own grievance than how the fund will be used.

As China's economy grows, the government, with the donations, should have enough fund for the repairing the damage. Some cannot help but wondering how the fund should be used.

However, one question that has been raised (by CCTV as well) is what is called Tofu Engineering. i.e. the relatively new school buildings that collapsed while older buildings stand. No doubt some buildings are less well built, statistically. But it is also true that school buildings are usually done with the minimum budget. School casulies are also magnified because classrooms are usually much more crowded than home, or office buildings.

What we need now is looking forward, i.e. think about how to prevent these tragedies ahead of time. The technology is here and it is not expensive. It is easy and cheap to test the strength and stress tolerance of walls and pillars. It is also straightforward to determine gaps in structure. Strengthening a building may require only adding a few more pillars instead of a full rebuild.

Therefore, I would suggest we set up a special purpose fund for such preventative work. to begin let's focus it in school buildings (because the historic risk exposure is the highest). Let's perhaps call it Project Hope 2.0.

The fund will be used to
1) Identify structural faults in buildings in quake belts (let's start with schools, but it does not have to limit to schools)
2) To fund the structure strengthening, repair, or rebuild of these buildings when the test results show such need

With "Web 2.0", our donor could perhaps be able to trace down how his/her fund is used. i.e. testing structure for which building where or repair/reinforcement of which building, plus a picture of what has been accomplished. I am sure many of us, even those who do not trust charity bureacracy should be comfortable with such structure of the fund.

I wish there is such a fund for other developing countries as well, such as Pakistan. Perhaps the Bill and Merlinda Fund should consider this.

p.s. This post is prompted by a video interview by CNN (Yes, CNN has very good reporting -- most of the times.) on a Pakistani scientist tonight. The scientist did many study after the deadly Pakistani quake a few years ago, where many students were victims. Many of these disasters could have been avoided, if there is enough fund to identify and strengthen the structures of these buildings.
The CNN report also found that this is no coincidence for developing countries, as education is underfunded and schools are much more crowded than offices ot homes.
"Earthquake-resistant buildings there cost about 4 percent more to design and build than other structures" CNN reported in another interview. (there is a living proof in Sichuan: a Project Hope School, supposedly on low budget, was strong enough to withstand the quake in Beichuan County)

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Update (I am replying to comments below from here, since it seems very hard to make comments on blogspot behind the GFW, while blogger.com is not blocked)

(1) Kiva models showed us that we can actually do one-to-one corrspondence between donors and receiver these. For the Kiva model see this Fortune report.
(2) re:HoKafka, please go ahead and set it up. I will try to fill in the skeletons when I got time. (I suppose "create" is faster as it requires no approval? -- I couldn't open the other link

I suppose there is discussion page at the wiki project where we can discuss and edit the project page? we can brainstorm over there?

15 comments:

VC said...

Agree!

Jeremy Dawes said...

Well its true that we get lots of funds from many organizations when these type of natural calamities happen.But I wonder if the amount goes to the needy.

暗黑的卡夫卡 said...

Saw same news and forum posts about the "good" building that was actually built according to specs...

Also, this is a problem that we HAVE to resolve:
"说个我知道的希望小学建设过程吧:
捐赠款40万——>市一级(下拨20W)——>乡一级(下拨8W)——>承包商(5W建成)=学校没使用到5年就宣告变成危房(是幢3层楼的教学楼)!"

As a first step for organizing fund, maybe we can set up a wiki world regarding to the project plan/tasks lists/goals/risks analysis/governance model first?

Sun Bin said...

yes, great idea on wiki world.

please go ahead and set it up. we will do this together.

this will build a process to make sure the fund will be used efficiently and according to the donors' wills......and save lives in the future.

VC said...

facebook it?

"我們關注5月12日 四川7.8級大地震 / We care the earthquake in Szechwan, China at 12.5.08"
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=18338527577

暗黑的卡夫卡 said...

sun bin and vc:
Was away on vacation...will work on this during weeknights now.

暗黑的卡夫卡 said...

Create one
or
Request one to be created?

Trying to figure that out...let me know what you think please?
頭七的希望

We may end up with a google doc first for brainstorm...send me a email if you can then...I will use my personal ones to establish further contact afterwards. Thanks

Sun Bin said...

(1) Kiva models showed us that we can actually do one-to-one corrspondence between donors and receiver these. For the Kiva model see this Fortune report.
(2) re:HoKafka, please go ahead and set it up. I will try to fill in the skeletons when I got time. (I suppose "create" is faster as it requires no approval? -- I couldn't open the other link

I suppose there is discussion page at the wiki project where we can discuss and edit the project page? we can brainstorm over there?

暗黑的卡夫卡 said...

FYI: The "Request one to be created" option means something like this:
http://www.wikia.com/wiki/Evchk

I want to go with that route since the domain is (wikia.com) more popular and got greater coverage.

Regardless, the one I've created is:
http://projecthope2.wikispot.org/

I will set up the structure tomorrow....I am still trying to learn how to invite people to edit it. (hence the reason I wanna go with the wikia.com route)

暗黑的卡夫卡 said...

Request for wikia

Let me know if you need edits on the request.

暗黑的卡夫卡 said...

http://projecthope2.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page

Wikia.com created. let me know if you can access it.

Will get the structure like evchk/wikipedia this weekend. Thanks

... said...

May I recommand a potential collaborator - Open Architecture Network from Architecture for Humanity?

http://139.95.253.31/node/2190

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/54

Depends on whether you wanna keep Project Hope 2.0 Chinese or make it international, I find this network really powerful (given financial/technological backup from giants like AMD, Sun Micro, Creative Commons). Also it's the most established NGO among building professionals... it may be easier to consolidate outside professional knowledge through this network.

Hope it helps!

aw said...

Just played around with the open architecture network... doesn't work for this particular case. The format is quite didactic - only useful for those who're actually starting a construction project from scratch...

Anyhow, this site is a great precedent to look at for setting up project hope 2.0.

(sorry for not introducing myself before posting all these crap. I'm a friend of Kafka in Toronto. I know a bit about building design and structure - hope that would help)

暗黑的卡夫卡 said...

Wikia site got approved now.

PLEASE GO THERE for further discussion(the discussion tab).

I also have a private google doc, send me a email to heartofkafka@gmail.com and I will invite you. Thanks!

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