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Empowering Homegrown Environmental Monitors

Energy & Environment Philippines

Designing effective monitoring systems is a major problem in the developing world. In the Philippines, government authorities lack the capacity to effectively monitor illegal and environmentally destructive coastal black sand mines. This project is addressing this problem using two key development innovations: (i) we design and evaluate a novel community monitoring system combining SMS, Twitter, and a custom-built dashboard and (ii) we piggyback off of an existing, homegrown Philippine community group who is truly invested in the monitoring. Monitors tweet reports via SMS to a dedicated Twitter feed, which are compiled in the monitoring reports from the feed and sent to an online dashboard accessible to Philippines authorities. The dashboard works to generate easily digestible charts and reports on usage, trends, and activity. Philippines authorities can use the dashboard reports to improve their efforts to shut down mining operations. Local communities will benefit from reduced mining, which erodes the coastline, leaving areas more vulnerable to typhoons, and causes saltwater inflow into agricultural water sources, reducing crop yields. The project is working to evaluate the impact of this ICT technology.

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