Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Street Stomping: MRN

Over the past few months, I have been developing an online knowledge platform called the Migrant Resource Network. This initiative was started by Compassion for Migrant Children. While I was designing the health education program, I learned about this project and decided to contribute, knowing that it would encourage me to stay update about migrant-related issues.

The best part about this project is that I know this database is necessary, significant, and will bring change to how migrant support NGOs communicate in China. Most NGO work is fairly decentralized in China; fundraising for local non-profits is always a difficult issue; and there currently exists no core Wikipedia-like website that addresses one of China's greatest social problems. The purposes of the site include 1) facilitating NGO communication; 2) attracting more donors; 3) functioning as encyclopedia on all things migrant-related; and 4) functioning as consultancy that will aid grassroots NGOs with capacity-building.

I suppose it is something akin to what Cal Newport over at Study Hacks calls "a grand project." Even though I have a reading-intensive course load completely different from my previous studies at Yale, I have been able to work on MRN weekly by blocking out specific times from Thursday to Sunday. I've found the three to four hours after dinner and before college nightlife to be golden hours to research new material, skim over the database for technical updates and have video conferences with other team members abroad. The database is still under development, but I envision it will be ready very soon.

If anyone is interested in the website, please visit http://www.mrn-china.org.

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