Welcome to Grassroots al Quds Network!

Super gratifying to see the “beta” switch to “www” on Grassroots Al Quds!

GroundTruth, with compatriot of openness Rob Baker, have been closely developing this site with the Grassroots Jerusalem team. We first met them last summer during a month of exploration, training, and challenge with their newly formed team of community mobilizers (written up at the time, Jerusalem, Moving the Ladder). GJ’s approach and philosophy so closely matched our own, to work closely with communities and empower open communication and sharing of their own experience and data … well we were excited and eager to help by sharing a bit of our experience, methodologies, techniques with OpenStreetMap and Citizen Journalism.

This evolved into an opportunity to develop a “platform” for all these activities, documentation, and mapping. Grassroots Al Quds distilled into a pattern we had discovered before in Haiti in conceptual work on Citizen Haiti, and also in Kibera with the “Organizational Directory”. The communities we work in are highly structured, and hyperlocal. Neighborhoods have their own concerns, organizations work directly on the ground, and there’s lots of stories to tell. The concept for the web site pivots around Places, Organizations, and Stories, all kinds of media mapped and openly contributed and collected in various ways (blog posts, stories, SMS reports). It’s all localized, even the map is in Arabic (ala TileMill). We took the dive into Drupal for this one, and we just about tamed the beast.

There are still rough edges, and work to be done, but we’ve hit a milestone here, and I hope the start of something that will benefit local, grassroots communities world wide.

So big thanks to Grassroots Jerusalem for this opportunity, and congratulations on the launch today of your real space, Markaz al Kul and your online space, Grassroots Al Quds!

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