Massive floods are common during Indonesia’s monsoon season. Houses and roads are often inundated with floodwaters, and extreme weather sometimes displaces thousands of residents and causes dozens of fatalities each year. Government early warning systems exist but are unreliable, rarely reaching those living in the poorest and most vulnerable communities. However, most Indonesians have a mobile phone, making SMS communication a natural fit for critical communications in the region. Realizing this, Atma Connect turned to text-based communications to deliver locally relevant alerts to its users.
The organization’s flagship tool is AtmaGo, a web- and Android-based social networking app designed to foster neighbor-to-neighbor communication in traditionally underserved urban communities. Users have taken to AtmaGo to share real-time information about floods and other disasters, help community members find jobs, keep others informed about food prices and availability, and drive communications to local politicians about local residents’ interests.