What is SwitchPoint?
SwitchPoint focuses on bringing together people to collaborate about the ideas and ways they are striving to make a difference in global humanitarian innovation, global health and technology. SwitchPoint was founded under the idea that:
- The power of collective action is essential to health
- Individuals most closely affected by problems have solutions that really stick
- Bringing together like minds to act collectively is essential for change in the world.
I'm participating in the conference and hosting a microlab so today, I spent time absorbing information from people who live lives that are very different than mine.
Most of the evening was spent with two photo/video journalists, Lisa Russell and Neil Brandvold, who have covered everything from girl empowerment to Ebola to snake handling churches to the Black Panthers to pieces of conflict in just about every area of the world. These are the freelancers who are risking their lives to tell us the story of what is happening in the world.
The world they speak about is nothing like the world we ever have to think about (when was the last time you had to think about how much it was going to cost you to get airlifted out of Sierra Leone during the Ebola epidemic?).
They take a lot of risks. Their stories are captivating. They're usually out on their own.
These journalists are teaching their fixers, translators and travel team how to do quick, lifesaving medical interventions while in the field. Fast acting, rudimentary medical aid isn't something taught in journalism school.
It seems like we could do better than this.
Neil has completed the Battlefield Medical Response training from RISC (Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues) as well as hostile environment training so he can be prepared to handle unexpected, dangerous situations.
This is a world I know nothing about. I know I'll be learning more as I continue to follow Lisa and Neil's work. In the meantime, I've made a measly contribution to help support in some way.
- Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues (RISC)
- Sebastian Junger Launches RISC, Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues in Vanity Fair
- Basic Preparedness by the Committee to Protect Journalists
- Resources for Freelance Journalists in Conflict Zones by The Atlantic