Alex Rose, Disaster Program Manager for the American Red Cross (ARC) gave an informal talk at Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) about working with and through volunteers. QCRI is very keen to tie our humanitarian software research and development to real world work. Thanks Alex for sharing your work with our staff and summer interns.
As a humanitarian volunteer and staff, he shared examples about volunteer engagement and motivation. Los Angeles is a large city with a high risk of earthquakes. He wove stories of volunteers with examples on how resilient societies like Los Angeles can augment their communities with logistics planning and volunteer engagement. How would Doha prepare for a large emergency? Do we have the community infrastructure to support the official responders? Ironically, during the whole presentation, the fire alarms were being tested in the QCRI Tornado Tower offices. Always be prepared.
One of my goals in Qatar and the GCC is to create a Digital Qatar or Digital GCC network. We have much to learn from building online communities. Are we supporting healthy ecosystems for people to feel rewarded and motivated? Are we providing enough training and leadership? During the question and answer session, Mr. Rose encouraged both digital and local communities to provide letters of thanks and certificates for training. This is core to community growth and very much a best practice that we can all learn from the ARC. Based on the guest talk, I will be making some refinements to the MicroMappers process to incorporate better engagement.
Traveling to Doha
At QCRI, we encourage technologists, researchers, software companies and humanitarians to visit our offices and provide a session on your work. We want to encourage learning from practitioners and leaders to share their story. Please do drop me a line and I’ll make the arrangements.