Tomorrow, our practice project will take a whole new dimension. The field component of the project is moving to the next level: Julia, Michael and myself will be in Haiti! We are very excited about it!
This is an opportunity in so many ways! Not only will we gain first hand experience about the real challenges NGOs face, but will learn about a very different culture in a very different location. I did some reading on post-quake Haiti and learned a little about the plight of the people. I think that being there and seeing how they cope with so many constraints will be a huge personal learning experience. I hope to come back with not only a plan for the mental support centers in Haiti, but with a different mindset and rich baggage of experiences.
Packing to leave, Laura Guillen (my thesis coordinator) comes to my mind and thesis pressure feels stronger. I saved what materials I could in my laptop (Thank you, Karen and everyone at Information Center for the valuable e-books option!). I took precautions to mitigate dangers like the cholera outbreak. The question persists in my mind: if I need to take these precautions for just 10 days, how does one feel to actually live there?.. I guess I’ll have the answer by the time I get back.
Having gone with John through the lessons of Afganistan, the IPSO team continued with research preparation for the project: how do NGOs work? What makes an NGO successful? What performance tools do they use? How do they make decisions? What do they do differently from companies and what do they do the same? And then.. how do people recover after shocking experiences, such as earthquakes? What about after long years of suffering, as is the case with war? Who provides relief and how? Does one medicine work for all? What are the cultural, social and situational factors to be taken into account when designing a mental health relief programme?
And all this while the thesis questions also crammed in. I had a thesis idea. Then I had five thesis ideas. Then I was happy one worked. Again research. Literature review: 4 books read, 80 still to go. Revise literature review approach. Theories: one down, 6-7 still to go. Methodologies: still considering. All fun.
This week we are in Konstanz doing field consultancy work for the organisation. The research is paying off, so do the many MBA class presentations we put together throughout the year (so it’s good to have the ILE).
The city is very beautiful, quiet and picturesque. Buildings hundreds of years old. The lake is amazing, and the weather is not bad. Not a lot of time to look around, just enough to appreciate the upside of consulting work. Below: materials from the CPO (Chief Photography Officer).
Research continues. Related thesis ideas are under development. Project work is moving forward. John is making good progress in Afganistan, we are anxious about the debrief back in Berlin. After the first visit to the travel doctor, Julia and Michael are in full immunization process for the Haiti research trip.
We have finally started on our practice projects! I am very excited to be on the team for a very special project for an international NGO. The team is great, the theme is very interesting and we shall travel to Afganistan (John is already there) and Haiti to collect data.
Yesterday I wrote my reflection paper for the field project. I look forward to this experience, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out!