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Faber’s 2020 Day of Service – Serving Together while Physically Apart

Faber Daeufer & Itrato recently held its 2020 Day of Service by revisiting a worthwhile cause serving the urgent needs of the most vulnerable people and places across the globe. The risks and necessary precautions of COVID-19 placed some limits on the firm’s Philanthropy Committee as they searched for this year’s activity, but they found the perfect fit with an initiative that Faber supported for a previous day of service.

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) is an international organization using open mapping to further humanitarian actions and community development. Working with volunteers worldwide, the team creates and provides map data that reduces safety risks, transforms disaster management, and furthers Sustainable Development Goals.

Many parts of the world have been uncharted, which complicates the efforts of emergency responders when disaster strikes. To combat this problem, thousands of volunteers come together, both virtually and on the ground, to create open map data that enables disaster responders to better reach those in need. Through the Missing Maps project, HOT creates maps of high vulnerability areas where data is scarce. Their efforts put millions of the world’s most vulnerable people and places onto OpenStreetMap, a community-driven free and editable map of the world. The resulting tools are provided to organizations free of charge and are consistently utilized by partners such as Red Cross societies, Doctors Without Borders, UN programs, government agencies, and various NGOs.

Susan Litterst of Faber’s Philanthropy Committee helped coordinate the service project. “If there’s a catastrophe or a need for medical supplies, some of these places are literally not on the map,” she said. “HOT has volunteers from all over the world working on this initiative.”

While disaster response is the organization’s primary goal, it is far from all they do to assist global communities. Their mapping efforts also help with a variety of other initiatives, including:

  • Disaster Risk Reduction – These projects focus on mitigating the impact of natural disasters on local communities. Working with localities and disaster management agencies, HOT uses mapping to identify risks and develop comprehensive data sets to produce realistic natural hazard impact scenarios for better planning, preparedness and response.
  • Poverty Elimination Projects – This initiative maps the lowest income areas of the globe in support of humanitarian and development programming. According to HOT, mapping access to financial services helps individuals living in those areas become more economically stable.
  • Refugee Displacement Assistance – There are currently more than 22.5 million refugees worldwide. These individuals often choose to resettle outside of traditional camps in cities and host communities. Mapping of human displacement, resettlement, and access to services has become vitally important to geographically dispersed responses.
  • Gender Equality - HOT prioritizes the inclusion of all members of society in decision-making processes, including the empowerment of female mappers and support for projects promoting equal rights. The organization also encourages mapping of features important in understanding gendered issues.
  • Environmental Mapping – These projects monitor changes in environmental features such as coastal erosion and wetlands to address climate change, flooding and sustainable livelihoods.
  • Public Health Projects – HOT provides data to NGO and government initiatives on issues related to malaria prevention, cholera outbreaks, maternal healthcare, vaccination campaigns, and HIV awareness to connect local people with necessary public health services.
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