PEOI 2003 progress report

November 1, 2003

prepared by John Petroff for November 2003 board meeting


This is a follow-up on July 2003 progress report and PEOI's 2002 Annual Report.html.

All the conclusions and strategy adjustments presented in July 2003 progress report continue to be fully applicable. The major development in the past four months is a shift in PEOI web site from an introduction of new features and branches, to a consolidation and a finalizing these additions. Most of the teething pains are subsiding but PEOI is far from mature. This is observable in several aspects:

1- Web improvement: Three new languages, Arabic, Chinese and German, were set up over the summer. Major difficulties were encountered because of the extended character sets for Arabic and especially for Chinese. But the procedures seem to be functional now. There is still a substantial amount of translation to be done. No additional language appears necessary. What is needed is to have the pages in the existing languages brought to the same level of text as the English.

2- Board of directors: The appointment of new members in July created a fully staffed and independent board with diverse skills, locations and backgrounds. But while some directors have been eager to participate in PEOI planning, most are inactive and three are expected to be lost. Consequently, recruitment for new board members will continue in the coming year, and directors will have to become more active (such as in participating in committees) or leave their posts to others.

3- Volunteer staff: The large number of volunteers is a real blessing for PEOI. But the majority of the volunteers drop out probably because of insufficient interaction with them that would keep them interested in helping PEOI. Two processes seem to help. One is the presence of coordinators in each language (except Spanish). In addition to Sandrine who has been very active in the French group, Verena has made good progress with a small German group, Jian heng has been instrumental in moving the large Chinese group, and Karam seems to start to galvanize a Arabic group. Second, group discussions and forum discussions start to allow some sharing of ideas and give volunteers a sense of belonging. But both processes are not deeply established and are unlikely to be until an administrative backbone gives them strength.

4- Outreach: A number of promotional materials have been developed, such as flyers, posters and guidelines for various volunteer functions. These tools are necessary to move forward with the primary thrust of PEOI current strategy of recruiting course authors. But these publications have not reached their final form (for instance, in the lack of a logo currently being designed by a group of volunteers), and the postponement of their use delays the entire strategy.

The conclusion in all above four aspects is that progress continues to be made, but much work remains to be undone. The continued assistance of the large number of volunteers gives confidence that, with just a little patience, things will fall into place and PEOI will reach adolescence in the coming year. Evidence of the fact that PEOI is no longer a novelty just introduced, seems to come from the first donation received by PEOI from Eggleston Foundation. The amount is not very large, but demonstrates that PEOI is starting to be taken seriously. And this is a very uplifting vote of confidence even too some extent more valuable than the money itself.

For the next board meeting in March 2004, PEOI should prepare its first complete Annual Report with sections for each language group and input from authors, translators, partners, directors and staff. Directors should be prepared to insert their views in this process.