John Cropper describes what #gotyourback means to him


John Cropper describes what #gotyourback means to him

By John Cropper

Lead, Program Management and Humanitarian

At the Humentum conference earlier this year, I was given a couple of lurid T-shirts (green and orange, if you must know) – both of which have #gotyourback emblazoned across the back.

My own sadly lacking understanding of hashtags (I am still unsure why people insert them into conversations) has recently prompted me to think more about #gotyourback – one of Humentum’s hashtags – and what this means. Whose back, exactly, am I supposed to have?

I hear a lot of people using this as organisational shorthand to mean supporting each other. Someone has a problem and #gotyourback – someone chips in and helps them. This is great…but surely it could or should mean more.

Then I started to think about how many learners we are reaching. I had just received a participant list for a virtual, PMD Pro course with people from twenty-two countries, including difficult locations such as the Central African Republic and South Sudan. This is fantastic. All these people learning about project management…Surely, we have #gotthosepeople’sbacks.

I had a nice warm feeling, but I had a niggle. Yes, this is really nice, but shouldn’t we be doing this anyway? This is our job at Humentum.. We have a learning promise  that says that we will be social, impactful, learner-focused, actionable etc. Well the PMD Pro course is all of that – but if we do this anyway, then have we #gotyourback? Does #gotyourback mean everything we do? If so, isn’t it meaningless?

End of warm feeling – until I heard about Cristiano Moura in Brazil. Cristiano has developed a method to train the visually impaired in project management. I won’t go into detail about this.You can read more about it here and I recommend that you do – but I think this is phenomenal. As Cristiano says, the “eyes of a visually impaired person are also in their hands, so the idea was to enable them to experience the (project management tools) through touch.”

The more I think about this, the more I feel that this is what #gotyourback really is – one person, taking responsibility, feeling inspired to do something inspiring for others. I will try to learn more about Cristiano’s amazing work – but also it prompts me to think #whosebackhaveI got?

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