This is my first cross-post from my Dutch blog. Deciding whether a topic should go to my Dutch blog or this one has been quite smooth. Generally speaking, it's been easy to start the Dutch blog, building on the experience with this blog. I'm not insecure about topics, and confident that the audience will grow.
The Dutch blogpost 'Can I blog a visum?' might be interest to a wider audience I believe. In short: I invited an Ethiopian friend to come and visit me in the Netherlands. For the second time, her visa request has been declined by the Dutch embassy in Addis Abeba. The reason is that she has no property and no fixed job, (and no children) and therefore they think it is not proven that she will return to Ethiopia after the holidays. The risk is too high. I understand the Dutch embassy, but think they are flawed in their decision-making process. I think property, job papers etc can not reduce the risk of that Ethiopians with a tourist visa stay in the Netherlands. (might be the contrary??) I think it has much more to do with the context of the visa request and the invitation.
So I started wondering whether in this flawed decision-making process, web2.0 tools could be of help to improve decision-making. After all, it would be better if Ethiopians with the right intentions would be allowed to make a trip to our country -another friend who worked for Ethiopian Airlines and had a free ticket had the same problem-.
I see a lot of potential in blogging. For instance if Addisalem had blogged the two year process, with high hopes and huge disappointments, it would be a great testimonial of how a person with good intentions would suffer from the Dutch policy. And blogs are prone to be authentic stories, it is hard to fake two years. But how to get the right audience? Therefore it might be necessary to have a central space where people with similar problems blog. This could give a lot more insights to the decision-makers involved. But are those decision-makers ready to read? This is not obvious, and therefore a change process may be needed to raise the awareness of the decision-makers and raise their appetite to read. Would this be very different from listening to the stories or formal evaluations? I think blogging has the potential to be different because of the low threshold of putting this information out there on the internet. So blogs make a huge, previously hidden world more accessible. But the change has to go hand in hand with an attitude of learning by reading and searching for pertinent information. RSS feeds and tags will be important to that purpose.