A trustworthy technological platform for when disaster strikes

Type: Behind the story
Topic: Humanity
Topic: Legal & Policy
Publication date: 18 Mar

Commit Global creates open-source digital interventions that are free to use and ready to deploy in disaster zones all over the world.

We live in a time of systemic crises. Democracy is on the retreat, humanitarian emergencies are proliferating around the world, and the existential threat of climate change is exponentially showing its claws.

It is impossible to predict when a globally significant crisis might hit. Whether sparked by earthquakes, extreme weather, or international conflict, recent years have shown that disasters can strike with little warning, leaving many people injured, displaced, or forced to leave their homes.

Huge international aid agencies like the Red Cross and the United Nations work all over the world to support people caught up in conflict zones and natural disasters, while local NGOs are set up to manage refugee crises and mass migration. It is complicated work requiring technical knowhow as well as more specific humanitarian aid services. But, despite these types of challenges reoccurring frequently, there is very little in the way of shared digital infrastructure that can be integrated quickly to support NGOs in their time-critical work.

Commit Global was set up to address this specific issue, and to bring cohesion and collaboration to international aid efforts. Its team of experts creates and maintains a series of digital resources which are all built using open-source code, and can be repurposed within hours. These are then deployed for free to multiple stakeholders across different geographies whenever disaster strikes.

Last year, Commit Global found a new home at The Hague’s Humanity Hub, and it is using its location in the heart of the International City of Peace and Justice to raise global awareness of its important work.

Collaboration in a time of crisis 

When a natural disaster like an earthquake strikes, international aid efforts swing into action. This includes the creation of software, apps, and other digital resources that can support workers ‘on the ground’ and help refugees find food and shelter. But there is often no thought for the future while this coding is done. Brilliant work is utilised once, and then lost forever, meaning similar resources have to be built again from scratch in a different country, by new teams of developers, when the next earthquake hits. 

Commit Global was founded by a group of Romanian developers committed to making sure the best digital services are freely available for NGOs working in disaster areas anywhere in the world. Its mission is to create an ethos of shared expertise, open source data, and true global cooperation. More than anything, it is about providing resources that can be launched in mere hours - rather than the weeks and months required when building them from scratch.

Bogdan Ivanel, Founder and CEO, Commit Global “Our digital interventions are based on three main pillars: Civic, Humanitarian, and Climate infrastructure. In practice, this means maintaining a suite of resources that are already built, and just need minor adjustments before they can be deployed in a new location. In this way we avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts and we can save time, dramatically reduce costs, and, undoubtedly, save lives too.”

Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine was a turning point for Commit Global. There was the feeling that the work it had done domestically in Romania could be replicated in Ukraine, and help the millions of people fleeing to the country’s borders. Of particular importance was its shelter management tool - a kind of ‘matchmaking service for refugees and local people willing to house them’. 

The Commit Global team was able to take its existing software developed in Romania, translate it, clone it, secure it, and redeploy it for the Ukrainian refugee effort almost immediately. Within months, this technology was being repurposed again, to help those fleeing from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.  

Planning for the future 

One key goal for Commit Global is to secure the long-term future of its resources and build on these nascent synergies between the worlds of IT specialists and humanitarian workers.

Olivia Vereha, Co-Founder and Director of Product, Commit Global We have launched the first ever academic course that trains both humanities students in IT skills, and also technical specialists in understanding the real challenges faced by displaced people in times of crisis. Issues like women’s reproductive health, personal medication - even funeral support and repatriation - these are the things the world might not focus on, but are vital to the wellbeing of refugees as they try to navigate life in a new country. We want to ensure future generations of coders and aid workers can come together to provide these vital interventions for the people who need them most.”

Bogdan Ivanel founded Code for Romania in 2016 which rapidly became under his leadership the largest and most impactful civic technology organization in the world with 50+ digital solutions that have served over 30 million people in need. He first started working on the vision of a globally shared digital infrastructure for good in 2017 as the first manager of the Code for All network. He took this vision further in 2022 when he founded CommitGlobal with the objective of consolidating tech for good efforts from around the world and putting technology at work for NGOs and the most vulnerable no matter their geography.

Commit Global has now found a natural home in The Hague - with the city’s Humanity Hub forming an ecosystem of likeminded organisations, all devoted to encouraging international cooperation.  

“We are delighted to welcome Commit Global to The Hague. Ours is a city that encourages collaboration at every level of justice and humanitarianism. Commit Global is now where it belongs, operating at the heart of the International City of Peace and Justice. We will do everything we can to raise awareness of its vital work, making digital resources available to NGOs and aid workers all over the world.”

Jan van Zanen, Mayor of The Hague

Empowering EU Democracy through We Vote for EU

We Vote for EU, powered by Commit Global, provides all EU citizens with essential information on how to cast their votes and find polling stations quickly, regardless of their location. EU elections are not just a series of national votes but a collective celebration of shared identity and democratic values. 

More information about Commit Global What is the Infrastructure for Good? By Infrastructure for Good we understand the body of open source digital solutions that are built and integrated strategically into ecosystems meant to tackle a critical global issue and made available as such on a continuous basis to NGOs all over the world in order to grow their effectiveness and response capacity.
PTSD Help App available for all Ukrainians all over the world PTSD Help is developed for vulnerable individuals affected by the crisis in Ukraine, living in Ukraine or refugees who have found shelter in other countries, including Romania. It is also valuable for any individual in vulnerable situations, impacted by any type of traumatic experience - war, violence, aggression, accidents, etc.
Why is the Netherlands suitable for IT and Tech companies? The Netherlands is Europe’s hotspot for leading information and communications technology companies. 60% of all Forbes 2000 companies active in the IT industry have already established operations in the Netherlands. The Hague is Europe’s 4th fastest growing tech hub in 2018, according to The State of European Tech 2018.
The Humanity cluster in The Hague For over a hundred years, The Hague has been the backdrop for those who want to work on issues of peace and justice. Being a host city to international courts and a variety of other International Organisations and NGOs, The Hague has been widely recognized as the the International City of Peace and Justice. Here, International Organisations, NGO’s, knowledge institutes, diplomatic missions and businesses join forces to foster a more peaceful and just world