Leaving aside the debate around copyright, profits, research and education, this post is about putting what you know best to a public good. Be ready that not everyone will have the same understanding as you of ‘public good’. See, for example, what happens when a graduate student from Kazakhstan tries to give academic journals a Napster moment? -via Washington Post, EurasiaNet and Open Society Foundations https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/this-student-put-50-million-stolen-research-articles-online-and-theyre-free/2016/03/30/7714ffb4-eaf7-11e5-b0fd-073d5930a7b7_story.html
This is grand, I can hear you say. It can be small, yet significant. I was at first surprised myself when i put my project management skills to use in support of an organisation whose mission is dear to my heart. It is called Diaconia, http://www.diaconia.md and it is located in Moldova. One of its projects is called “The social apartment”, a home to 6-7 girls for 9 months in their transition from state run orphanages to independence. It gives them basic life skills and training at a vocational school to help them secure a job upon graduation. Each of these girls comes with a story where abandonment, violence and neglect ruled their lives until the moment they entered the Social Apartment.
This inspired my “Martisor project” (it would be called “background” in a formal project environment). Martisor is a sign of Spring in Moldova (and Romania and Bulgaria). Martisor and Spring are associated in our culture with hope and rebirth.
My project document looked simple: the general objective of the project was to make the Organisation, Diaconia, in this case, known beyond the borders of the country it operates in. The specific objective was to collect funds. To achieve those, i applied networking skills – to get contact people on both sides; financial management skills for budgeting and payments; organisation skills to get 200 martisors delivered 2000 km away; and communication skills to pass the message. In 4 weeks, the project’s objectives were achieved. Representatives of 47 states got to know the organisation. The return on investment was 250%. With money collected, the bathroom in the apartment was fully equipped and furnished. It was a labourous and intense project for the girls who crafted the beautiful Spring signs. It was also a pilot project for Diaconia and me- a Europe-wide Martisor for a safe transition into independence for hundreds of orphanage-graduates next year perhaps?