Why did I choose to take this class, and what do I want to get out of it?
I had actually wanted to take this class before knowing much about it, because my cousin had come to Tufts last year, for a seminar on crisis mapping. That triggered my interest in it, and once I found out more, I was sold.
The main reason that I choose this class is because I’m considering a career in the developmental field, possibly coupled with policy work. Crisis mapping seems to me to be crucial to the effective implementation of programs, particularly disaster relief operations, particularly to minimise unintended consequences. In carrying out projects, it isn’t simply about the work and effort that you make, but the outcome that you achieve. The road to hell is often paved by good intensions. We have to look out for the unintended negative consequences that could the effectiveness of any initiative. I think it’s a simple, yet brilliant idea – using our current technologies (which can only develop even further) to bridge the gaps of knowledge. It’s an important skill to have, because of the potential that it holds to evolve and finetune itself. In fact, I’m starting to think more and more that it is a skill that every NGO should have.
I don’t have a clear idea of how crisis mapping works, or even what crisis mapping exactly is. At the basic level, what I want to learn from this class is knowledge- based: what it is, how it is applied (that is, through the various technologies), where and when it can be applied. It is vital to know how to get the most out of the technologies available, not just to maximise the potential, but at a more basic level to make sure that it is used correctly (otherwise, we create more harm than we do good). I want to be confident in crisis mapping and how to use it, and perhaps even consider other areas and issues where it can be applied. I also just want to get a better sense of what developmental work will be like, and how to be more effective – I have little, if no experience in that area, but would really like to learn more about it. I’m a blank slate – and I’m excited to learn as much as I can.