Yes, okay, I have not been very diligent writing (neither have my co-authors, so what)… last time I was still in Brussels, with the European Union. In the meantime I have been to Germany, Sweden, Germany again and now – for the grand finale – in the USA. Monterey, California to be more precise, a lovely, little, sleepy, quiet town two car hours south of San Francisco.
I’m getting closer to finishing, and slowly I’m beginning to accept that this thesis is not going to change the whole nature of how we look at humanitarian aid… too bad! As a reminder, I looked into whether environmental management systems (EMS), as they use them in the industry, can help humanitarian organisations to reduce their (often severe) environmental impacts and improve their overall effectiveness in helping the affected population recover. Turns out I didn’t come up with the holy Grail of disaster reconstruction – there are some reasons why these EMS might not be the best solution… for example the fact that up to 100 different aid organisations are implementing projects all in the same area, which makes environmental protection more a question of coordination than of inner-organisational management. If you think now you could have told me that without having to dig through literature and trying to contact humanitarian field workers, then so be it (seriously though, there is still a bit more to the issue than what fits into this blog).
Of course it makes me very sad that in the time I write this thesis such a terrible natural disaster is actually occurring and I think of Nepal quite a lot while writing. Knowing these terribly difficult, messy, chaotic processes I’m writing about are actually happening at this very moment is a depressive feeling.
Nothing the less, it was and is interesting to work with that topic, but I’m looking forward to crossing the finish line in three weeks. A very nice thing is knowing that 26 friends of mine are – all around the world – closing in on our common goal at the same time and that we will all get to meet again in June in Budapest.
…and here a pic of the institute in Middlebury – very nice place to study, by the way.