Public Service Announcements for International Disasters

As part of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) has conducted a Public Service Announcement contest since 2006.

The contest encourages individual and group-based contestants in colleges and universities nationwide to create creative, compelling print or video PSAs that encourage Americans to practice Smart Compassion when helping people affected by disasters.

The winning PSAs appear on National TV and print publications to raise awareness for the fact that the best way to help people affected by disasters is by providing monetary donations to reputable relief organizations working in disaster-affected communities.


The original website had a few video blogs explaining the benefits of submitting PSAs, allowed users to submit their PSAs via email, and had a small collection of previous submissions. It was built through an old version of Joomla and was difficult to administer on the front-end as well as manage the submissions on the back-end. CIDI also wanted to encourage more group entries and control the model and copyright releases required to allow winning entries to be broadcast in the future.


Our front-end designer designed and developed one version of in 2013, incorporating all the new features and a responsive design. In 2015, we gave the site a facelift to match the new and more contemporary brand of PSAID.

In both incarnations, we conducted a full responsive design and development effort as well as custom application development. The site was setup in WordPress with a fully custom theme and incorporated custom plugins to process key areas of the PSA submission process. Visitors can now browse through every year of PSA submissions, including both videos and print designs, access media assets for creating their own PSAs, and learn the rules of the contest.

Contestants can register for a new account either as an individual or as part of a group. They can submit the PSA details, upload videos, JPGs and EPS files, and upload all related model releases and certifications. On the back-end, contest administrators have a dedicated interface for reviewing submissions, ensuring they are complete, contacting contestants, working with the panel of judges to vote on the winners, and uploading the submissions when the entry date closes. The new system greatly reduces manpower in administrating the program and brings a new level of awareness and excitement to attract new contestants.