What is Watsi?

Scot Ulmer

As our society develops into more and more of an online, tech-savvy world, often, we get distracted by the likes and notifications and forget to notice the true beauty of how technology can help save lives. Online websites and profiles have helped people around the world get the medical attention they need through various funding efforts and awareness. One platform that comes to mind is Watsi, but what is Watsi?

Watsi is an online platform founded in 2012 by Chase Adam, a Peace Corps volunteer, that helps provide medical care to individuals who need it, despite their income or medical situation. Adam came up with the idea of this technology-driven philanthropy when he was traveling through Watsi, Costa Rica, by bus and was witness to a woman on the bus asking for donations to help pay for her son’s medical care – which as we know, can be extremely expensive. When Adam returned to the states, he used Kiva, a crowdfunding website, as a model for creating an online platform that was easily usable and accessible to help low-cost, high-impact medical treatments for people who need the help.

Often used by citizens of underdeveloped or developing countries, the web platform caters to a wide range of needs – from setting broken bones back in place, to removing a complex brain tumor. According to an article published by Philanthropy News Digest, “To be considered for funding, a patient must have an injury or condition that, if left untreated, will severely affect his or her quality of life,” (Watsi). Once a patient is considered for funding, the Watsi team (which is based in San Francisco) helps find a doctor, donor, or anything related to the specific injury, that can help the patient out. Over the years, Watsi has partnered with the African Mission Healthcare Foundation, Project Medishare, and the Children’s Surgical Center in Cambodia, along with other highly recognized web platforms like Google, Dropbox, and Periscope to help assist with funding and medicinal needs.

Since September 1st, 2015, more than 13,400 donors have provided assisted healthcare for over 4,800 patients around the world. Also, according to Philanthropy News Digest, “The Watsi team offers a guarantee that 100 percent of any donation will support the procedure toward which it has been given” (Watsi). Watsi is an incredible example of how our predominantly technologically-driven world can be used for the benefit of humanity. Other online platforms should look to Watsi as an example of a well-thought-out, and well-received, web source that points to where the future of technological innovation should be heading.