Running a global organization virtually during a pandemic is not easy. We spoke with Jean F. Queralt, the founder of Project Lockdown, to learn about the challenges and rewards of leading the initiative.
Finding Good Data
Project Lockdown has persevered through challenges on the management and technical side. “We’ve had some interesting issues when it comes to finding sources. Some governments don’t allow you to access their websites from outside their own fencing,” comments Queralt. Members on the research team work hard to obtain the data. In particular, finding data for countires lacking developed systems for data collection and presentation is challenging.
The localization of non-pharmaceutical initiatives has also made it difficult to fully visualize what is happening in a given territory. For example, lockdowns or restrictions are sometimes only implemented at the city or province-wide level. Queralt explains, “It becomes very difficult to show all of those in the map because the resources just explode exponentially. The technical requirements to see all of those smaller areas when you zoom in is also a huge challenge.”
Project Management and Human Resources
Of course, like many projects, PLD also faces challenges in project management and human resources. This project needs a lot of people with a wide variety of skills to work on research, editing, UI/UX, graphics, communications, and more. Finding people with the expertise to join the project and the free time to commit to working with the team is always a challenge.
That being said, Queralt remains optimistic PLD will find success, commenting, “As long as the project stays true to itself, all of those people will finally land on the project. It really is a matter of time.”. PLD is also very fortunate to have “a fantastic superhero managing the HR department, Rashika”, who helps the project thrive despite the challenges of managing any project of this scale.
Challenges and Rewards
Just as there are challenges to a project of this magnitude, there are also some incredible rewards. Queralt explains that while PLD thinks big, he finds satisfaction in the small impact too. “For as long as we’re able to help a few people understand how things are, that’s a reward. The gain is by having a number of small projects, like drops in the ocean, they end up creating that change.”
Our volunteers also agree that working with PLD has been an immensely rewarding experience. Our communications officer, Marta Mangiarulo, finds that “everyday I find more points of contact and opportunities for growth”. Volunteering with us is a great way to broaden your education and make a real difference. If you’d like to join our growing community, please fill out this form here!