next steps if you agree
Good morning Christine (And others of you who are kindly following this),
It is very rewarding to hear that you like the first small steps that I have taken over the last day to support your wonderful pioneering Day on 25 September. I would imagine that there have been some Car Free Days in other parts of Africa - they have had something like it on several occasions in South Africa I know, but let us make Kampala's the best, the most intriguing, and the most productive ever. Is it too much to hope that this first car free day in Kampala can serve as a model for other cities across Africa? It seems to me like a worthy secondary goal.
There is a great deal of work that I still need to do in order to give you a website that you and the others can work with easily, but I shall be spending some time on this . My thought on this is to see if I can post draft materials and a certain number of questions to get reactions from you and others who are working on this with us, we can then start to work them into something firm and useful. One Example is the Mission Statement. But there are others.
I will get more deeply into this in a note tomorrow to the group, but for now here are a couple of points I hope you will find timely:
1. Formal launch of web site on 25 Sept.? I am pleased that you feel this is a good goal..
a. This not only give us five full weeks to make this into a great and useful web site, but also yet one more think that can draw attention to the practical usefulness of the Car Free Day.
b. And I am one hundred percent sure that given our contacts we can have quite a number of distinguished supporting messages, including from mayors, NGOs and others who have had successful CFD events in their cites and who are ready to express their best wishes and support for Kampala.
c. And all of this will give your day even higher media importance and general support.
d. I really like the idea of Kampala taking a lead in this which other cities in Uganda and elsewhere in Africa will be interested to follow, and who knows, to emulate.
2. Cooperating organizations: It will be good to give high profile to the support you are getting from TAFMOD and Goudappel Africa, and I can get started on this if you give me their websites and contact information.
a. Also if there any other organizations who are getting behind this year's Car Free Day, let us see if we can also give them some good coverage as supporters of this year's event.
3. Ownership: For the time being what we have here is just an empty box which has been sketched out by a good willed guy sitting in Paris but was not been in Kampala for decades. So we need to set up a process that gives ownership and control to the team working in Kampala.
a. Facebook: One good first step in that direction is to get us all signed up for the Facebook group page, and thanks so much for already signing in to http://www.facebook.com/groups/266190133393713/. You are the 15th member of this little group, and I am sure that others will be joining us shortly..
b. Editorial Team: The second is to bring you and the others who are going to be responsible for the events into the editorial panel, and this you can accomplish by following the short routine that I will right now send you under separate cover.
4. Future content and links:
a. We want SOK to develop into a first-stop shop for anyone interested in the drive to sustainable transport in Kampala.
b. A full set of basic stats and time series data on transport in Kampala (very important and we shall need to give serious attention to this. Based of course on available stats.
c. Ditto for environment and public health data – including traffic incidents, deaths, costs, etc.
d. More telling graphics
e. Links to all the best and most useful sources
5. Envisage Kampala: I would very much like to have your views on this new and I believe important proposed section of the site. IN time we can extend this to include additional tools, including to support more and more effective citizen participation.
So let me leave you so that e can get back to work. I truly hope this is going to serve the people of Kampala and Uganda.
PS. Why am I doing this? I really don't have the time but here I am putting aside other pressing things and working with you all on what I truly think is going to be a useful beginning. But why? Well, early this morning I ran into a short article in the New York Times about the work of a 93 year old gentleman who is a scholar of Persian language and history. Let me tell you his name: Ehsan Yarshater. He is now working 12 hours a day no a project to create an encyclopedia of his country's entire cultural history, which thus far has mobilized 1480 contributors who have thus far created more than six thousand scholarly entries. It is, in a phrase, not Wikipedia. He started the project when he was 75 and is only a bit more than half way through. You get the picture, he's 93 right?
The reported asked him why he did things like this (this being not his first such monster project), to which he answered: "In starting this latest project it was then that I realized I was suffering from a kind of disease. If something is to be done, I have the feeling I should start doing it".