[HOT] Compassion and Self-Care

Willow Brugh willow.bl00 at gmail.com
Mon Dec 23 12:06:09 UTC 2013

Is this from a lack of responders, a lack of boundaries, or both?

Willow Brugh // willowbl00 <http://blog.bl00cyb.org/> // stick figures for
hire <http://viz.bl00cyb.org>
schedule research <http://meetme.so/research>, work<http://meetme.so/gwoborg>
, or social <http://meetme.so/willowbl00> time with me


On Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 10:40 PM, Lindsay Oliver <lindsay at gwob.org> wrote:

> I think it would be incredibly beneficial to talk about our own
> experiences of not doing self-care on the GWOBcast. Adding a personal
> perspective can help people understand that there are real and lasting
> effects when you don't care for yourself, especially in how it affects your
> ability to continue the response effort. Would anyone be willing to
> participate in such a cast? We'll be doing our next one 5PM PDT January
> 8th, 2014.
> Lindsay Oliver
> Program Director, Geeks Without Bounds <http://gwob.org>
> lindsay at gwob.org
> On Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 6:27 AM, Pierre Béland <pierzenh at yahoo.fr> wrote:
>> Thanks for this Heather.
>> Yes this is a community of passionate volunteers that work so hard.  I
>> have worked in almost every HOT Activations and participated to the
>> coordination of many of these.
>> This Activation is very intensive. For the first 10 days, the core team
>> people were often working 16 hours a day. And sometimes waking up at night
>> to assure that nobody was waiting for an answer to an important matter.
>> This Activation is ungoing for almost 6 weeks now.
>> The media have recognized how sucessful was this HOT contribution to this
>> Activation. We work in a context were we always invent new ways of working,
>> bring new technologies, contribute to better logistic of the various
>> humanitarian structures that make intervention.  At the same time, this is
>> a lot of responsability and stress.
>> I agree that we should all take care to have some rest. We should also
>> relativize about what we can do in such missions. I have learned over time
>> that you cannot do more then do your best. And I see that from an
>> Activation to the other we are more an more efficient and make the
>> difference.  This, the various UN Agencies and humanitarian partners have
>> recognized.
>> Let's also take care of ourselves. Let's also take care of people in our
>> organization that make such success with these activations. Let's be
>> careful to not discuss agressively. If we see people deeply involved in
>> these activations that show signs of exhaustion, let's support them instead
>> of throwing rocks at the, if I can say!  If you are angree at what they
>> say, I suggest that you first contact them personnaly and try to explain,
>> to have a friendly discussion. If you see that these people look exhausted,
>> tell them and try to finish the discussion on the positive point.
>> regard,
>> Pierre
>>   ------------------------------
>>  *De :* Heather Leson <heatherleson at gmail.com>
>> *À :* "HOT at OSM (Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team)" <hot at openstreetmap.org>;
>> Willow Brugh <willow.bl00 at gmail.com>; Lindsay Oliver <lindsay at gwob.org>
>> *Envoyé le :* Jeudi 19 décembre 2013 8h26
>> *Objet :* [HOT] Compassion and Self-Care
>> HI Folks,
>> I've been thinking a lot lately about compassion and the volunteer
>> community. This relates to HOT but also the wider network of Crisismappers.
>> Last month I wrote on my personal blog[1] that we participate almost by
>> instinct and we want to do something that 'matters'. One of the qualities
>> we all share include compassion. We know that each communication and each
>> edit is making a valuable change. We know that responders may use our work.
>> This drives us to do more.
>> For those us involved in multiple responses a year (either in HOT or
>> across Digital Humanitarian communities), the risk of burnt out and health
>> issues are high. I know for a fact that I completely burnt out after the
>> Kenyan Elections in March.  The Typhoon response has been going for well
>> over a month. The tone of the mailing list has become strong, pointed. I
>> did not engage in most of it because I was concerned that it was not
>> healthy for me or potentially others. But, I read all the notes. They have
>> been weighing on me. This note is not to reopen those discussions, but to
>> ask us all to get out the wide-angle lens and do a pulse check.  HOT is
>> amazing passionate and talented community. I am in awe of the gifts you
>> continue to give.
>> As far as I know, traditional field responders go in shifts. There are
>> trained professionals to help guide their journey. They are well versed in
>> the results of not taking care of oneself. Can anyone speak to this with
>> some resources?
>> The StandBy Task Force has an in house 'community/ self-care team'. These
>> folks work on taking care of the whole team. We watch the clock and remind
>> everyone to log off, take breaks, go for a walk etc.  Sometimes deep in a
>> response I often found this advice to be extravagant. But, it forces me to
>> really think about the pile of dishes and the breeze outside. The SBTF also
>> time-bounds their responses to take care of the volunteers.
>> HOT activations are lead by amazing folks and quiet participants doing
>> all kinds of contributions. Each of you give hours and I dare say,
>> weeks/months, in a long haul response. I know that we have not coordinated
>> formally in shifts and more often we simply don't have a lot of visibility
>> into all the moving parts that make a successful HOT response. This
>> includes all the conversations around getting and using mapping.  We also
>> have not sought to have in house self-care mechanisms.
>> This morning Geeks Without Bounds posted this article[2] about self-care.
>> I think it is an important read for all of us.
>> The space of digital humanitarians is new. We are all creating an
>> ecosystem to make this possible. It really makes me focus on what matters -
>> each of you. How can we better support each other? What outside help can we
>> get to support those who are deep in response?
>> 1. http://textontechs.com/2013/11/why-we-volunteer-yolandaph/ and
>> http://textontechs.com/2013/11/heart-of-the-matter/
>> 2.
>> http://gwob.org/blog/2013/12/18/self-care-and-humanitarian-response-worker/
>> I am wishing peace and downtime for everyone
>> Heather
>> Heather Leson
>> heatherleson at gmail.com
>> Twitter: HeatherLeson
>> Blog: textontechs.com
>> _______________________________________________
>> HOT mailing list
>> HOT at openstreetmap.org
>> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/hot
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