Diving into diarrhea

Jan 09, 2013


Aaron Ortega
Partner, Umbrella Media


I still remember when the project was put in front of me: "Non-profit needs website support for their Drupal website." Great! We're a Drupal shop, so that's right up our alley. My next question: What's the non-profit's issue? "Diarrhea. Poop." At first I thought it was a joke our Director of Business was playing on me.


Getting involved with non-profits is a passion for my partner and me. When at all possible we want to work on projects that are trying to make a difference. I did some research on DefeatDD and I was really happy with what I found.

They'd just wrapped up their annual "Poo Haiku" contest, a contest via social media in which people from all over the world create haikus based on diarrheal disease and prevention. No one talks about poop, right? Especially not professionals from across the globe on their public Facebook and Twitter accounts! Well, they were. This non-profit had taken something disgusting and even a little taboo and made it light-hearted and easy to come on board. I knew then I had to become involved with these uniquely creative individuals.

Throughout the year I learned a lot about diarrheal disease through large amounts of content creation and the web apps we custom programmed. I remember, in particular, an instance of reading through every page of the website to add the proper content tags to create a new related articles system. Something started to take shape: diarrheal disease really is a problem. A problem that shouldn't be as serious as it is. It seemed like if we could just get the word out to communities that they shouldn't drink muddy water, for example, that countless lives could be saved. It was simple, and DefeatDD was doing it by raising awareness about simple ways to keep children healthy.

If I took away anything from the experience, it was that big problems could be solved with simple solutions. You may think you can't make a difference. You're just one person, right? Well, the DefeatDD arm of PATH is just a few people and they are getting it done.


-- Aaron Ortega is a Partner at Umbrella Media, a creative and development agency in Austin, Texas.


Photo credit: PATH/Amy Gottlieb.