“After Haiyan Working Title” (AHWT) is the working title for one of my projects in 2014.
I remember the night to November 8th 2013. I was online, gathering information about Haiyan/Yolanda. At about 1 AM my time (8 AM Philippine time), I started recording my screen. Here is the screencast (22m 36s):
We knew in advance that this typhoon would be deadly. As news started to trickle and later pour out of Tacloban and other parts of Leyte, we realized just how deadly it was. How many houses that were destroyed, homes shattered, lives lost.
My wife is from Guindulman on Bohol, an island to the south-west of Leyte. I was worried about Bohol, but I knew that Bohol would not be the worst hit by this super typhoon, being south of the projected path of the typhoon:
So, after the media started flodding the city of Tacloban and reports came out in the thousands, we all knew. We cried, despaired, or was numb, trying to fathom what happened here. I remember a few days after the event thinking “Oh, cmon guys, don’t fall into the same old narrative patterns here!”, speculating in when the journalists from the CNN, BBC, Aftenposten and countless others would be called back. When the “Story was over”, so to speak.
Fundraising happened, like it did after the Haiti earthquake in 2010 and other similar events. The whole world was feeling with The Philippines on these days, and money poured in. How much? I don’t know. But I suspect that at least US $150 million was raised in total, from governments and private organizations/people.
On November 14th, I posted this to my Facebook wall:
The last paragraphs of my post was:
Now that the whole world is typing headlines about Tacloban and other affected areas, aid is rushing in. Let’s learn from Haiti, and other crisis areas. Let’s point some of those cameras on Tacloban AFTER the main interest is gone. When the newness of this massive tragedy has passed, and the cameras have been turned off. When the people who lived near the shore are once again returned to just being numbers in our mind. Mindnumbingly large numbers.
I have decided that I want to get involved. Not now, when everyone else is focusing on this, but after 6 months. I will next week start a small organization that will propose a project for “Windows out of Tacloban”. To use the videoblogging meme and let some of the people in Leyte report themselves on what is going on. Not just so that we may feel pity with them (pity is cheap), but so that we also can see opportunities. Opportunities for making things happen.
This organization will have members from Norway and The Philippines. If you are interested, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. I still don’t know how we will do this, but I think the idea can be interesting. Worth the effort.
And I started planning. Thinking. How to do this?
I decided quickly that even though my timeline was for 6 months and onwards from the typhoon, I should start earlier.
I contacted Fae, and I asked her about her situation. Would she want to be involved in a project where she would be commissioned to write articles from Tacloban? She was interested, and in December she wrote four articles that can be read in PDF format here.
December was the month of preparation and figuring out what this will be, and now in January 2014 I will launch this.
The website at www.afterhaiyanworkingtitle.com will be up within a few days. We will have more articles, and this will be a project for all of 2014.
The project will be run as a corporation, a business. I like volunteer work, and I like that people do things out of love. But I think that what we need is more trade in the world (not just aid), and thus, here, we will have a business model around these articles.
The goal is not to have profit, although a profit would be nice. The goal is to create something sustainable.
There will be writers. They will be paid money for their work, be that a written article, or a video, or pictures.
There will be readers. Some will not enter economically into this project, but will just read the articles, think about the questions posed, and wonder how these stories will develop.
There will be subscribers. They will pay a monthly fee ($ level not decided yet, but the market will dictate the price to a large extent), and they will then have access to additional premium content, as well as other benefits.
There will be donors. People who basically just want to support a cause such as this.
I prefer subscribers to donors, actually, as much as a donation is welcome. Readers are of course also welcome – we want to spread the work that is created in this project.
So, here it is, a project for 2014 for me: AHWT!
To be continued…