A free, open resource to solve our third world problems

Jonathan MathewsPublic

A free, open resource to solve our third world problems

Corruption, poverty, war, hunger, healthcare, education, safety. These are only a few of the problems faced by people in developing countries. Many of these problems are caused by exclusion, fear, intimidation, broken infrastructure, and lack of money, resources, access to information, and tools.

These are hard problems to solve but, as Theodore Roosevelt said:

“Nothing in this world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty.”

At the core of open source are communities. Communities of like-minded individuals, working together, openly and freely sharing ideas and solutions for the benefit of others.

Because of the diverse group of global contributors in the open source community, problems are identified and surfaced faster. And, more often than not, progress towards a resolution happens faster and the underlying problems are solved better because of this diversity.

The Third World Problems project

The Third World Problems project was conceived and built around the idea of using open source, open data, collaboration, and community to build a free resource of information and tools that will help people everywhere create a better future for themselves.

It’s envisioned as a resource to identify and surface problems and bring together people to suggest, build, or assist in building solutions. A platform to inform and amplify the amazing work that is already being done by open source communities all over the world.

Third World Problems is now in its germination phase. As far as projects go, the biggest project is Third World Problems itself, meaning the platform through which the organization will initate contributions to solving the problems of people in the developing world. It will be where challenges are described, where people will ask for help.

A potential project scenario

Through the platform, there are innumerable projects we potentially can undertake.

For example, I recently read an article on the New York Times website, “Hackers Find ‘Ideal Testing Ground’ for Attacks: Developing Countries.” This headline was not a surprise to me. Of course, developing countries would be fertile ground, as they face so many other challenges that digital security often falls by the wayside.

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