Thursday, September 28, 2006

Hockey stick

Several interesting things have been going on the last two weeks. Appropedia has been moved to a much faster server, due to tremendous efforts of Lonny and others in the community. This has given rise to a fun emotional lift, because of the visible improvement. I've also joined the San Francisco Professionals chapter of Engineers Without Borders, though I have not had a chance to attend a meeting. (EWB-SFP is my closest professional chapter, but about an hour away, making for a challenge on weeknights.) I ordered and got personal cards (yay!) which I'm very happy about; now I can easily connect with people and give them my personal email and the Resolution blog address instead of my business info. Finally came across two great international volunteer sites: World Volunteer Web and UN Volunteers.

One of the cool things about joining EWB-SFP is gaining access to their wiki and learning about their long term project in Ngelenge, Tanzania in collaboration with NGEDEA. From what I know so far, the effort began in 2004 with assessment, and this summer included a multi-week onsite project effort. Much of this is documented on the wiki, which unfortunately requires membership even for viewing.

(I don't yet understand why the wiki is hidden. Membership for editing is common, though Appropedia as chosen the open route. I hope to grok that soon, in part because Appropedia aspires to support any and all interested EWB chapters, and it would be great to see it through the eyes of EWB itself. The privacy of other project partners in the development effort is a factor, which may be addressable.)

I also found the Millenium Indicators chart, which gives an easy-to-read glance at where things stand in various regions in the world.

Somehow the convergence of these events has been very exciting for me. I can see the pieces (EWB, volunteer webs, Appropedia) growing on their own in noticeable ways. The Indicators are not all encouraging, and yet I look at it this way. We are at 2006, roughly 5 years into the MDG effort. 2015 is 9 years off. Awareness of the MDG is building, and the infrastructure, including the volunteer sites, EWB efforts, Appropedia, etc are growing. Progress and results are likely to be much higher in the coming 9 years than in the past 5 years. How steep will the hockey stick be? Well, that's up to us and how well we can coordinate.

All together now!

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