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Happy (belated) second birthday to our blog

May 31, 2011

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Earlier this month, the Mercy Corps Blog quietly turned two years old. I missed commemorating its actual birthday — May 11 — because I was on an airplane to Japan. Since then, work has been hectic as can be, giving me very little time to look back on how far the blog has come since 2009.

But I guess that's one thing about our blog: it's not especially demanding. It's there when you need it — like when one of my Mercy Corps colleagues wants to write something about the work they're doing. When readers want a bit of a different perspective on the challenges, issues and news that shape our world. It helps Mercy Corps staff keep up with what others in the agency are doing around the globe while giving supporters an insider's look at who we are and what we do.

And all of that adds up. Since May 11, 2009, the Mercy Corps Blog has featured:

  • 979 blog posts (including this one)
  • 241 contributors
  • Articles from 42 different countries

It's especially helped document the disasters and crises that we're responding to. We've had 180 blog entries from Haiti, 55 posts covering the turmoil across the Middle East and North Africa that began earlier this year and 58 articles about the three-fold disaster that struck Japan on March 11.

I think it's enormously important — and valuable — to have strong humanitarian reporting in places from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. It gives us the chance to present the news from a slightly more hopeful viewpoint. It gives readers the opportunity to take action and help those whose stories touch them. And that's what I think has been — and will continue to be — the strength of the Mercy Corps Blog: personal stories.

Some of the posts I've appreciated and enjoyed most have been those that illustrate the person-to-person connection that is at the heart of what we do at Mercy Corps: the desire to help others despite unimaginable hardship. Making a new friend. How kinship in tough places can have such profound effects on the soul. The thrill of voting to form a new country. And the realization of just how small our world really is.

A confession: most days, I can't wait to get up and check my email to see the blog entries that have come in. They're like little presents every day, because my Mercy Corps colleagues are out there not only doing great work, but sharing a part of themselves. I feel both fortunate to have their writing and lucky to be able to share it with you.

If you haven't spent time perusing the blog, I encourage you to take some time exploring, reading and finding favorites of your own. And, since it's always growing and changing, I also ask for your help: what are some of the places and subjects you'd like to hear more about? What can we do to improve the blog? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

A couple years old now, I guess the Mercy Corps Blog is a toddler now — but I'm pretty sure these won't be the terrible twos, even though I did miss its birthday. I'm looking forward to another year of celebrating the unique voices of my colleagues and those we serve, as well as bringing their stories to good folks like you.