Sahana Eden

Who Uses Sahana Eden?

Sahana Eden is used by many diverse organizations throughout the world to assist  the response to traumatic events such as natural disasters. From hosted deployments by Foundation Team members to on-site deployments within organizations, Sahana Eden's versatility is demonstrated in some of the following case studies and use cases for the software. While some first responders are coming to assist after an earthquake, others are attempting to reduce risk by gathering information and helping to network and raise awareness prior to a disaster. Coordination of resources, understanding the inventory of available resources, raising awareness, and providing early warning all reduce risk and empower responses that can literally save lives. Here are some stories about deployers and responders using Sahana Eden.

APBV - Portuguese Volunteer Firefighters

With little to no budget, the president of the Associação Portuguesa dos Bombeiros Voluntários (APBV), was seeking better solutions to manage their limited resources.  In the past they had tried proprietary software based solutions which were not maintainable and did not address their needs.  These solutions were costly and did not offer a sustainable method for data management or migration.

After seeing a demonstration of Sahana Eden at the Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM) conference in Lisbon, APBV deployed the Human Resources module to help manage personnel and are planning to deploy the vehicle management system and connecting their GPS-enabled Tetra radios to Sahana Eden's mapping capabilities. They hope that this will become the national standard for disaster planning and crisis management for all of Portugal.

Disaster Risk Reduction Project Portal

The Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Project Portal collects information on all multi-country and national level DRR projects and initiatives in the Asia Pacific region implemented since 2005. By facilitating information sharing across the region, the Portal aims to advance the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) goals in building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters. This includes making disaster risk reduction a high priority on local and national levels. There are many priorities for action, such as knowing the risks, enhancing early warning systems to reduce vulnerabilities, and building a culture of safety and resilience for all people by strengthening networks and working with the media.

This Sahana Eden-powered portal was deployed at the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center.

The Project Portal:

  • Helps effective planning, programming, cooperation, and collaboration of DRR projects and programs in the region by facilitating project analysis to identify gaps and overlaps.
  • Is essential for governments, organizations and donors involved in implementing and supporting DRR projects and program in the region.
  • Is a useful resource for academics, students and the media for obtaining an overview of DRR projects being implemented in the region. 

Haiti 2010 Earthquake Response

We all recall the awful event in early 2010 when an earthquake hit the town of Léogâne, near Port of Prince, Haiti. The loss of life, building, and damage estimates were shocking but trained response organizations went into action immediately.

Anticipating the need for overall organization coordination, the Sahana Software Foundation deployed a public emergency response portal site using the Sahana Eden software. The site was hosted at and the community managed access for registered users - those from charitable organizations, government agencies and educational institutions were given create/edit permissions to the site; while most of the data remained publicly available (read access) excluding sensitive information (such as personal contact information for agency staff). The site went live the day of the disaster.

In the first 48 hours after the earthquake, responders wanted to know was who else was responding, what organizations already had staff in Haiti that could assist, where were they located, and what assets and resources they had available to them. To meet this need, Sahana's Organization Registry (OR) tracked organizations and offices working on the ground in Haiti. The Organization Registry provided a searchable database of organizations responding to the disaster, the sector where they are providing services, their office locations, activities and their contact details. The Sahana database became one of the primary repositories of organization, office and contact information for the relief operation during the first couple of weeks of the response. Organizations were encouraged to self-register and report their office locations or to simply send the Sahana team an e-mail indicating their office locations. Volunteers entered data from pre-disaster lists of organizations working in Haiti available from United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), as well as active contact lists used by United Nations Disaster Assessment Coordination (UNDAC), InterAction and other sources with official and accurate points of contact.

During the second week of the relief operation, requests came from all directions seeking to identify the location and operating status of hospitals and medical facilities within Haiti. Sahana Eden's Hospital Registry organized a volunteer effort to geo-locate approximately 100 hospitals with names and known coordinates over a 24-hour period. The results of this effort added over 160 hospitals to the Sahana Hospital Registry that had been set up to manage medical and health facility capacity and needs assessment. Because avoiding overcrowding and ensuring medical personnel and equipment availability is crucial to its success, this registry was designed to be compliant with the OASIS EDXL-HAVE interoperability standard that provides a schema for tracking hospital capacity and bed availability data during emergencies. A KML feed built from Sahana’s hospital location data provided a visual customizable display of geographic data in Google Earth. This feed remained the most accurate and complete source of operating hospital facilities throughout the first two months of the relief operation and was accessed by thousands of users world-wide.

The technology community's response to the Haitian earthquake was an unprecedented collaborative and cooperative effort on the part of different organizations to come together and to help each other and to not replicate efforts. The Sahana Software Foundation team worked from outside Haiti to deploy and manage the infrastructure being used by local and international responders and contributors.

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) developed a Resource Management System using Sahana Eden. This allows their National Societies to share information on their Inventory, Assets, Staff and Volunteers. Neighboring National Societies and the IFRC can quickly see what is available in the event of a major disaster. This information is blended with data from other Geographic Information Systems (GIS), such as Population Density, Rainfall and Topography to allow for a more informed planning of the response.

The solution allowed agencies to share a common server, yet retain full control over their data and who can have access to it (i.e. a multi-tenancy system). The open source nature of the software was important because it meant there was no vendor lock-in and the software was easy to maintain. For this deployment the Sahana team deployed using Amazon Web Services in the regional data center to guarantee low latency.

HELIOS Supply Chain and Inventory Sharing

The HELIOS foundation ( in the United Kingdom wanted to create a portal to allow Humanitarian Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working in the field to be able to track and share information on their inventory of relief items. The system is planned to allow them to use up surplus items, avoid items expiring and avoid duplicate procurement. Data can be automatically uploaded from HELIOS instances or via manual data entry or uploading of spreadsheets.

Sahana Eden was chosen to allow various methods of data entry as well as to scale for use by other NGOs. Future iterations will include sharing of information on planned procurements to allow bulk discounts shared freight movement and import costs.

This work was done for the Consortium of British Humanitarian Agencies and funded by the Department for International Development (DfID), part of the UK government.