Tuesday, October 10, 2006

How to sign yourself up for a Mission

Well, we've been busy over at Appropedia. So busy (most visibly, we just went live with our new Main Page) that I haven't been doing my homework! So, of course, I'll take it out on you.

Here's my assignment: answer 5 questions as a part of developing a new mission statement for Appropedia. This came up on a discussion page a couple weeks back, and Lonny recruited a friend who knows how to do these things. She came forth with the questions below (which are currently on the "Talk" page of the Mission page linked above). I'll work on answering them here.

First, clear your mind. Now, envision Appropedia 5 years into the future:

What are your highest hopes for Appropedia?
  • My hopes are not for Appropedia as such. My hopes are for the masses of struggling people. I mean the billions that are living at or near the poverty line, living on a dollar a day. My hopes are that the millions, perhaps tens or even hundreds of millions, of concerned and relatively well off humans, will have the information and tools that they seek, and are able to work together to drive change in other parts of the world, as well as at home. (I am also hopeful for the wealthiest billion, who I believe are at long term risk of losing a home, but that challenge is probably beyond 5 years.)
What do you see happening as a result of Appropedia: within your field, locally, nationally, globally? Who is involved in Appropedia?
  • I see dozens, hundreds, perhaps thousands of small independent organizations, from volunteer groups to think tanks to large charitable groups to local 3rd world community groups, coming to Appropedia (or "son of Appropedia") to share or get the information they need and to reach other groups that they seek to connect with. Successes will breed successes: here is an effective way to drill a well; over here is a good process for assessing community health needs; this page tells you about the best solar cookers; another page shows how to build school houses out of appropriate local materials in a variety of environments; all of this can be done with less environmental impact to assure that progress is not short term, only to slide back. Common errors are called out to help guide success. Contact information for experienced hands-on experts is available. Volunteers prime themselves by reading articles on the region and type of project. Like-mineded people can connect with others.
(I grouped two questions together because they seem inseperable to me.)

What has changed from the present state?
  • The biggest change from the present state is that it becomes easier to share the information you have developed, and easier to find the information you need.
What are the greatest accomplishments?
  • In a 5 year timeframe (2011), the greatest accomplishment will be the demonstration that the Millenium Development Goals are in fact achievable, by 2015 as targeted, through achievements of a massive army of well informed and aligned volunteers, charitable organizations and local community groups.
And another cool thing is that my 3 year old son will grow up watching this happen. When he's 8, he'll have a much different perspective on the world than I did when I was 8. Now that's inspiring!

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