Why I contribute to DistributeAid
In this post I introduce myself for a DistributeAid contributor spotlight and talk about the work I do for the non-profit.
I first heard about DistributeAid at Øredev 2019 in Malmö, and was immediately inspired by their idea to use technology to improve the distribution of donated goods for displaced people. And in the last three years we have seen that the network of grassroots organizations which DistributeAid supports is needed to help people who have been affected by political and ecological disasters, caused after all by the global north, which I have the privilege and luck to be born in. Besides the ongoing imprisonment of migrants and asylum-seekers on the southern European borders, DistributeAid's team helped with logistics during the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe and the United States. And most recently got involved in welcoming Afghan families to the United States after Kabul was taken over by the Taliban in 2021. The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian dictator Putin in 2022 created yet another region where DistributeAid is involved to provide people with basic everyday items.
As a code contributor to DistributeAid's projects, which you can find on their GitHub repository github.com/distributeaid, I can work on digital tools that are used to achieve the organization's goals. I worked on a digital COVID-19 guide for aid organizations, integrated APIs from shipping partners, and most recently built a low-code tools used to assess the needs of aid groups they support. I enjoy that DistributeAid has a people-first approach to contributions and we try to provide software projects that are both easy to get started with and easy to change. After all, done is better than perfect and areas of focus can change quickly. Because we contributors are distributed around the world, we need to keep our codebases well in shape, which means that we write a lot of tests, and keep our documentation up to date, so others can contribute big and small features without needing to be in the loop constantly and new contributes can start with smaller items quickly.
What has kept me engaged with DistributeAid over nearly three years now is knowing that the code that I write is making a difference. And I am extremely impressed by Sara, Taylor and many other contributors who put their professional skills into this project without making this about themselves. Everyone is extremely humble and helpful. I wish all tech projects could be like this. And then I wish we wouldn't need DistributeAid. This is the dichotomy we all face when engaging with DistributAid. But this team has your back, because everyone knows that you can't burn the candle at both ends and you need to be in good mental state, before you can help others.
If you are interested to contribute to our projects, just reach out to me, or any other Distribute Aid team member!