Press Release

Global Community Experts and Volunteers Tackle Development Problems Through Random Hacks of Kindness

By SpaceRef Editor
June 4, 2011
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Global Community Experts and Volunteers Tackle Development Problems Through Random Hacks of Kindness

SEATTLE, June 3, 2011 Today Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK), a global community of experts and volunteers working on open source solutions for problems in disaster risk management, is broadening its scope to tackle any development challenge.

RHoK made this announcement during their third Global Event, happening simultaneously on six continents. RHoK will also give organizations and individuals the ability to run their own RHoK Community Events. The first Community Event lined up will be a “Water Hackathon” organized by the World Bank dedicated to finding out whether new ideas, open data and a global community of hackers can help to solve the world’s single largest cause of illness: lack of safe water and inadequate sanitation.

RHoK works by bringing together experts in development and volunteers with a broad set of skills in software development and design. The goal is to produce practical open source solutions to development problems. Events give the community an opportunity to sprint on projects, but the community continues to collaborate around the year.

Random Hacks of Kindness was founded in 2009 in partnership between Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, NASA and the World Bank. Since then thousands of volunteers have worked on applications that are already making an impact. I’m OK, an SMS service that lets people inform their families of their status, was used on the ground during the devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile in 2010. The World Bank is piloting CHASM, software for visualizing landslide risk, in the Caribbean. Other apps have received support and interest from governments, NGOs and international organizations around the world.

“RHoK is embracing the concept of ‘open innovation’, the idea of bringing together thousands of people from around the world to crowd source some of our toughest challenges,” said Deborah Diaz, Deputy Chief Information Officer at NASA. “NASA is excited about this critical step for the innovation community. This expansion of the RHoK mission will allow more creative interaction with NASA’s open data to develop impactful solutions.”

“Microsoft was founded on the belief that software can change the world and Random Hacks of Kindness is a shining example of how we can all come together to make a difference,” said Mark Hindsbo, Vice President of Developer Evangelism at Microsoft. “Expanding the mission to cover broader development issues makes perfect sense.”

“Google is glad to see Random Hacks of Kindness broadening its mission, and applying its success in disaster response technology to other critical topics in climate and development,” said Alfred Spector, Google Vice President of Research.

“The RHoK volunteer technical community is growing rapidly around the world and it has the capacity and the initiative to develop critically needed technologies that can make the world a better place,” said Elizabeth Sabet, SecondMuse, RHoK’s operational lead.

For more details, see the Random Hacks of Kindness website at

SpaceRef staff editor.