MEDRIX: Open Source GIS for Non-Governmental Organizations in Vietnam
Water is increasingly becoming a scarcity on a global scale. Moreover, issues of water quality plague countries in the global south, where water sourced from utility lines may contain bacteria or other foreign particles that make it dangerous to drink. MEDRIX is a non-governmental organization based in Redmond that seeks to address that issue in Vietnam using inexpensive ultraviolet water treatment systems deployed in schools located within rural areas. This project will replicate a modeling and evaluation program created from ArcGIS using an open source software alternative. This is a great project for you if you enjoy learning how to operate challenging new systems, find open source compelling, or would like to use GIS in future work with non-governmental organizations.
MEDRIX: Geovisualizing Environmental Processes
Geographic Information Systems are often an integral part of environmental modeling. However, training on geographic information systems often is an expense that can not be met by non-governmental organizations or countries that lack funding for such endeavors.
MEDRIX is a Redmond-based NGO working in Vietnam. MEDRIX staff members are cooperating with a major university in Vietnam to teach System Dynamics modeling principles and methods by distance learning. This project will develop a simplified system dynamics modeling approach and produce documentation to be used in education. This is a great project for you if you have an interest in environmental processes, enjoy technical writing, or hope to work as a GIS educator in the future.
The Homeless Education Program at Columbia Legal Services: Student Homelessness, Transportation, and Housing in Washington State’s K-12 Public Education System
The Homeless Education Project at Columbia Legal Services advocates for the rights of homeless children, youth and families, and works with community organizations to coordinate an appropriate institutional response to the growing epidemic of family and youth homelessness in Washington State. The Federal McKinney-Vento Act mandates that school districts provide stability for homeless students. If a student at one time lived within a school district, the district is required to transport the student in from any location outside the district back to their school of origin. As you might expect, this is a considerable expense. Would it be less expensive to simply provide housing for students? This project will use network analysis to determine the points at which it would be less expensive to simply provide housing. This project will use Google Earth and would benefit from having a group member that knows a little about HTML formatting.
The Homeless Education Project at Columbia Legal Services and Civil Legal Aid Spatial Inequalities Workgroup: Spatial Inequality and Homelessness in Washington State’s K-12 Public Education System
The Homeless Education Project at Columbia Legal Services advocates for the rights of homeless children, youth and families, and works with community organizations to coordinate an appropriate institutional response to the growing epidemic of family and youth homelessness in Washington State. The Spatial Inequality Workgroup is comprised largely of attorneys from the state’s two biggest legal services organizations, the Northwest Justice Project and Columbia Legal Services. Both are not-for-profit organizations that provide free civil (non-criminal) legal services to low-income people around the State of Washington. This project will examine socioeconomic demographic indicators that might suggest high rates of homeless children living within a school district, and then compare these indicators against the district-reported number of homeless children within an area. This is a great project for students with an interest in demographics, legal studies, poverty, or youth issues.
South King County Food Coalition: Bounding Referral Areas for Improving Food Bank Accessibility
Founded in 1983, the South King County Food Coalition is comprised of 11 food banks serving urban, rural and suburban communities in South King County. Collectively, member agencies serve over 13,000 different families each month. In 2010, over 14 million pounds of food were served to clients in need. Confusion over food bank locations and service hours can cost families precious time and resources and can delay their access to food as well as information on other services in their area. This project will first delineate these boundaries as described by project partners, and then produce a series of informational maps to help service providers direct families to the correct locations. These will be in multiple formats, including Google Earth KML, so having a group member that knows HTML will be beneficial. This is also a great project if you’re interested in food justice!
South King County Food Coalition: Mapping Food Accessibility & Assessing Food Bank Reach for Vulnerable Populations in South King County
Founded in 1983, the South King County Food Coalition is comprised of 11 food banks serving urban, rural and suburban communities in South King County. Collectively, member agencies serve over 13,000 different families each month. In 2010, over 14 million pounds of food were served to clients in need. These agencies are interested in a variety of analyses for each food bank service area including demographic analysis of the populations served, information on the accessibility of food, the extent of service to vulnerable populations, and the identification of potentially underserved populations. If time permits, the partner would also appreciate a Google Earth KML layer, so it would be good to have a group member that is familiar with HTML formatting. This is a great project if you’re interested in food justice, issues of access, or demographic analysis.
Penny Harvest/Solid Ground: Youth Philanthropy in Seattle and Beyond
Penny Harvest is a child philanthropy program run by Solid Ground, in which local students raise money and then donate the funds to community-based agencies that offer programming/services they feel strongly about supporting. The last year this course was offered, GIS Workshop students built on the previous years’ demographic studies of the communities and school districts affected by Penny Harvest. This project will seek to update this information with the latest available census data (ACS 5-year 2005-2009 estimates) and produce maps used for advocacy. This project would be a great fit for students interested in demographics, spatial statistics, or youth leadership. This partner is particularly interested in statistical analysis that can be used in policy advocacy, so strongly consider this project if you’re of the quantitative persuasion.
UW Center for Human Rights: Guatemalan Environmental Justice
The University of Washington Center for Human Rights is a multidisciplinary group comprised of students studying human rights, engineering, law, and ecology, and they are working to support an ongoing legal struggle with a group of agricultural communities in Guatemala. These communities are suffering from flooding, water pollution and a lack of water during the dry season. The area was particularly hard hit in 1993, 1994, and 1995 by flooding as a result of improperly designed irrigation systems and major alterations to the ecosystem by removing wetlands, rerouting the river, altering river banks, and building dams. This project will obtain and analyze remotely sensed imagery to construct spatial data regarding the change in the river’s shape over time. Additionally, the center is particularly interested in land use changes if appropriate imagery can be found.
Civil Legal Aid Spatial Inequality Workgroup: Contaminated Water in Low-Income and Minority Neighborhoods
The Spatial Inequality Workgroup is comprised largely of attorneys from the state’s two biggest legal services organizations, the Northwest Justice Project and Columbia Legal Services. Both are not-for-profit organizations that provide free civil (non-criminal) legal services to low-income people around the State of Washington. Massive dairy operations moving into Yakima Valley are compromising the quality of life of their neighbors. While many problems exist in relation to dairy farming, this project focuses on the presence of contaminated groundwater and its effect on small drinking wells. Many families’ sole source of household water comes from a family or neighborhood well. This project will examine the demographics of population served by small wells in Yakima Valley to ascertain whether people with low incomes or of minority status are adversely and disproportionately affected by contaminated groundwater from drinking wells.
Analyzing Access to Financial Services for Households in Poverty
This project is of the Financial Services for the Poor Initiative, a project of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This program seeks ways of providing impoverished households with reliable access to safe, affordable financial tools and services, especially safe places to save their money. Research demonstrates that demand for reliable and convenient deposit services is high among poor households in many parts of the world. This project will map access (proximity) to banks, ATMs, and mobile money agents to visually depict financially underserved regions in our focus countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Pakistan, and India; others to be added if possible); develop a standard metric of ‘access’ to compare levels of financial inclusion across countries; and calculate the percentage of the poor population that is within 5 km of a bank branch, as well as the mean/median distance to a bank branch in each country.