Global Pulse 2010 had real impact for me and my organizations. This final blog in my 3-part series on it is a love letter to #GP2010 that I sent in email form to Rob Lalka (@RobAtState), Global Partnerships Liaison for the Global Partnership Initiative in Secretary Clinton’s Office. In it I mention Jim Thompson (@JimAtState), who is Regional Director for Partnerships and former Acting Director of USAID’s Global Development Alliance.
I know I’ve said this in small ways via twitter, my blog and my comment on Mashable’s Global Pulse piece, but I wanted to express my appreciation for this remarkable initiative at more length.
Before I do I want to say that although my organization works in developing countries we do not have partnerships with USAID or any other USG office or program and are not seeking them. Similarly, we do not receive federal funding and do not seek or intend to seek it. My comments are sincere and not an attempt to flatter anyone into some kind of partnership or special consideration for any of my non-profits.
I can’t begin to articulate just how impressed I was by this landmark effort in government and more importantly, just how much value it was to me as an individual and to my organizations. My initial goal as a participant was to find new partners for Big Love Little Hearts and to address the lack of a singular source tracking all of the groups and agencies doing work in developing countries. I have another group, The 4F Club, that is a non-profit for other female founded NPO’s aimed at organizations that are still young (start up – 10 yrs) and lacking in resources. We are still in the development and strategy phase and I believe in a “bottom up” approach to both. Being able to interact with what I knew would be a large pool of both US and international young, female non-profit leaders was my ambition at Global Pulse for 4F Club. To say that these goals were achieved is an understatement.
I made more than a dozen new partnerships for Big Love Little Hearts over the course of GP2010. This will enable us to do more in the countries we’re already doing work in and has provided us opportunities to expand our work into new countries. Because of the kind of work we do this equates to countless more lives saved. Beyond that, through comments to my thread on Development Mapping and others posts in various forums, I was made aware of segmented mapping databases that will have an immediate impact on the efficiency of Big Love’s main program. Again, this will save countless lives – the kids we help, to put it bluntly, have expiration dates. If we can help them in time they live, if we can’t they die. Anything that speeds up the process of matching resources with need is highly impactful in our work….
…which brings me to what came out of GP2010 that I didn’t anticipate. Quoting my thread in Building Stronger Partnerships:
“Primarily we work by playing case worker and matching these children up with other NPO’s/NGO’s who already have a pre-existing mission team of pediatric heart surgeons traveling near them. When we can’t find them we find hospitals that are equipped and staffed appropriately and work with them to fund these surgeries. Transportation to and from, housing, aftercare and government regulations are just a sampling of the ancillary processes involved in getting surgery.
All of this takes help from a plethora of organizations and we do our best to locate any humanitarian or government group doing any kind of work anywhere near any of our kids. Despite the years I’ve been doing this I find out about new groups everyday and through various sources: google, twitter, facebook, word of mouth, etc.
There has to be a more streamlined source for this information. Is the U.S. Government working on any kind of database that tracks all of the various groups and agencies doing work in developing countries that NPO’s and NGO’s can have access to?
We have built amazing partnerships but it has taken a tremendous amount of time. I can’t imagine how much more efficiently we could all do our jobs if we were just aware of EVERYONE there was to consider building a partnership with.”
There is no more important factor in the success of Big Love Little Hearts’ mission than the development of the kind of interactive database I refer to above. Working around the lack of one is the single biggest time investment we make. In cases where children need surgery to repair their heart in their first month of life, lack of this kind of resource often contributes to lost lives. I spend countless hours thinking about and researching how something like this could/would function and who would have the capacity to build and fund it. Obviously it’s a project far too large for me or any other small non-profit to take on, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking about it because I am always thinking about the kids who ask for our help and how we can better help them.
To read Jim Thompson’s response to my question was an incredible relief. Knowing that this was something the USG is already exploring and hearing how it was being approached in such detail gave me faith that its’ fruition was more than just possibility. The opportunity to engage in the Development Mapping discussion via Jim’s Google Group outside of and after Global Pulse is to me, a testament of just how seriously USAID and other USG offices took GP2010 and an example of how you are truly using it to inform initiatives. With 7 million children on a waiting list to have their heart repair funded worldwide, I care deeply about the end result of any Development Mapping project – I greatly appreciate the ability to have even the smallest input into the shaping of it.
On a personal level, as I mentioned in my mashable comment, this was the largest discussion between people from hundreds of different countries, cultures, religions & politics where I have seen no hate speech of any kind. It was an inspiring and beautiful insight into the thousands of people whose daily lives are driven by the desire to effect positive change in the world. I was blown away by how intelligent and high-thinking the conversations were. I don’t know everyone who was involved in the creation and implementation of Global Pulse but I suspect you played a large role given your tweets. Please extend my sincere gratitude and congratulations for this incredible achievement to the appropriate people.
Founder, Big Love Little Hearts