In the fall of 2006, Omni Med board member Kathryn
Johnson had a radical idea. What if Omni Med’s core mission of
enhancing understanding and inspiring direct action among health
volunteers could be expanded to the entire service sector? Over the
next year, Ms Johnson, colleague Leland Russell of GeoGroup, and Omni
Med’s Dr O'Neil developed the Center for Global Service, which
seeks to bring better coordination, technology, and interactivity to
the broader service space. In subsequent convening meetings held in
Washington, D.C., San Francisco and New York, over 140 people from the
service sector, academia, and the business community reviewed the CGS
concepts, sharpening the focus and improving the model. Over 400 people
have contributed via on-line fora. Omni Med’s Database of Global
Health Service Opportunities is a key component of CGS and is now up
on-line elsewhere on this site, open to all. As of late 2008, CGS
remains a concept in evolution, full of promise for a better world.
Best thought of as a “next generation
knowledge network,” CGS seeks to build a state of the art
resource center that will greatly improve connections and capacity
among international volunteers, optimizing their global impact.
Underlying this idea are three basic assumptions:
- That global volunteerism, if reconfigured, has
the power to be a world changing force.
- That global consciousness and unprecedented
collaboration are essential in every sector, including international
- That through intelligent collaboration,
accessing the latest “digital age” technologies, sharing
best practices and tapping into the collective wisdom of global
volunteers we can dramatically increase their effectiveness. As a
result, we can empower global citizens to become agents of change.
A wide range of established organizations are dedicated to global
service and volunteering, deploying tens of thousands of volunteers
throughout the world in ever increasing numbers. The work of these
organizations and volunteers is unquestionably valuable and important
in a world still characterized by extreme poverty, hunger and
malnutrition, inadequate basic health, and shortages of water, food,
housing and education. We know that solutions from microfinance to bio
agriculture, to direct clinical care are yielding results. Yet these
efforts among volunteer sectors are rarely leveraged. We propose to
move Global Volunteerism from today’s highly fragmented and
disconnected model into a “Next Generation “Knowledge
Network,” called CGS.
The Center concept represents a paradigm shift in
the way NGO's and other international agencies currently do business.
It is “disruptive social innovation for change,” offering
an opportunity for NGO'S of all varieties (e.g. health, food, security,
water, housing, humanitarian and emergency aid, agriculture, education,
etc.) to make a transition to an “open source” model.
Collaborating organizations from the entire spectrum of NGO's and
agencies will contribute to and take from the Center ideas, systems,
procedures, shared data bases, leading practices, proven solutions, all
with the goal of reducing duplication and creating synergy. The goal is
not to supplant existing organizations, but to make them more
effective. The design of the CGS is both a bottom up and top down, or
what is called a “PRO/AM,” professionals and amateurs
working together as authors of user-generated information and data,
e.g. a Wikipedia model. As a result, both volunteers and local leaders
function as co participants in the social change process. Nothing like
it exists, yet the need is overwhelming. Please see out pdf summary
below for further details, or contact Ms Kathryn Johnson at email@example.com or Dr Ed
O’Neil at firstname.lastname@example.org
to learn more or get involved.
The following documents, developed by board member Kathryn Johnson and
a special task force of Stanford Business School Alumni involved in the
project, outline the conceptual framework of CGS.
We hope that the concepts and principles developed for this
project will be used by organizations and individuals looking for a way
to become more effective in their service efforts:
Open Education Resources in the CGS
High Impact Volunteering
CGS Smart Power Report
CGS Overview 2011
Foreword to Awakening Hippocrates