Humanitarian Dating Hooks Up Social Consciences

Are you an SWF at the WFP, looking for an LDR with an FWB who might be WTR to Angola or Brazil? If so, Humanitarian Dating could be the social network for you. The site's the brainchild of veteran aid worker Robert Simpson; several years back, he decided to vent work frustrations in typical style—by starting a satirical blog about an incompetent humanitarian worker. On it, he posted phony adverts, including one for a singles service. When the fake ad started getting real traffic, he realized he'd stumbled upon an untapped need in the development community—hooking up lonely-hearts with social consciences. Simpson launched Humanitarian Dating in 2007 with his partner, Tamara Prinsenberg (they carried on an e-mail courtship while he was in Ethiopia and she was in Burma). For aid workers, dating can be "a little bit difficult," Prinsenberg says. "You're always moving." The site's 4,500 members are mostly expats and community organizers, though anyone with a social conscience can join (no word on whether Obama's signed up). And while Simpson hasn't yet heard of any spectacular site romances, members report they're making lots of connections with "like-minded" activists. Still, while friends are well and good, "I hope to maybe meet someone," one member—a caregiver from Bogotá—says. "You never know."