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One year, almost 500 stories, 145 authors, 31 countries — and you

May 11, 2010

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A year ago today, we launched this blog to be — just like the tagline says — "a daily look into the work, thoughts and ideas of our team around the world." Mercy Corps is blessed with a diverse and vibrant staff that does amazing things every day, and we wanted to do a better job of getting their stories out to our readers and supporters.

In many ways, the blog has succeeded much more than we could have imagined. In just a year, we've had:

  • 493 blog entries (counting this one)
  • 145 different contributors (including many who'd never written for a blog before)
  • Entries from 31 different countries (78 percent of the countries where Mercy Corps works)

And the range of blog entries has been remarkable as well: in those nearly 500 pieces, we've seen a first-hand account from a historic election in Iraq and an on-the-ground eyewitness to an unfolding coup in Honduras. We've had dispatches from the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and the World Urban Forum in Rio de Janeiro. We've read a poignant farewell as a country office closed and a recollection of how Mercy Corps began more than 30 years ago.

We even got a poem from a colleague in Southern Sudan — which was, to me, a heartfelt validation that our blog was becoming a way for our staff to express themselves in a very personal way.

But perhaps the most immediate and timely use of the blog was during the emergencies to which we've responded over the last year. For disaster responses like the tsunami in Samoa, the West Sumatra earthquake, the earthquake in Chile and the recent earthquake in China's Qinghai Province, the blog has given us an unprecedented — and again, deeply personal — way to share our efforts on the ground in the wake of devastation.

This was especially true in Haiti in the aftermath of the January 12 earthquake. Since then, we've had more than 100 blog entries from 29 different bloggers - with a 30th blogger, Lisa Hoashi, now on the ground reporting from Port-au-Prince.

We started blogging about our emergency response for Haiti an hour after the earthquake hit, as we began mobilizing our team. Once our first responders landed in Port-au-Prince, they reported what it was like to be there. Sent photos from the scene. Posted videos of what it looked like and how the work was going.

The blog gave our readers and supporters —as well as Mercy Corps staff — a different perspective on Haiti from what we were all hearing, reading and seeing from the mainstream media. And we will always strive for that kind of deep, personal reporting here.

And so, after a year full of shared stories, I'm looking forward to more. We're excited about opening up the blog to new voices. We will continue reporting from some of the world's most challenging places and bringing you details you might not hear anywhere else.

We'd love to hear from you about what stories moved you most. What you enjoyed reading. And what you'd like to see in the year to come. Please feel free to leave a comment and make your voice heard.

I want to thank all of you for reading the blog — and, most of all, I want to thank the dozens of colleagues who have shared themselves to make this blog possible.