Monday, February 11, 2008

Being Child-Friendly

The vision for this initiative has become clear: pursue ideas that will help to raise the standard of living of the future of India, namely, the children of India. The most effective strategy to do so, as of today, from our discussions seems to point in the direction of working at the level of school education. Also, we all seem to agree that there are many factors inherent in the idea of uplifting the standard of living that can be added upon as our initiative finds a concrete direction, but, first we must find that concrete direction, aka, a single focus. Hopefully, we are not too far off from achieving that goal. Intermittently, there is another point that might be worth addressing and that is being child-friendly. It encapsulates understanding the effects of parents, community, environment, health and education on a child in order to be effective. As we narrow down, what we specifically pursue, we can orient this concept of being child-friendly towards that goal. But, for now, for the sake of understanding lets say we were trying to establish child-friendly schools, what would that mean. Well, good thing you asked. Here is a framework of UNICEF defining what it means to them to have child-friendly schools:

And, if you actually read the UNICEF's framework, you will see it establishes points that can be generally used for other student related goals. I think this is a valid point to keep a perspective of. Wat say YOU?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The power of One !

Many times we have contrary views.
Sometimes we say one person can change the world.
Sometimes we feel that nothing less than a movement can bring about the change.

The truth may lie somewhere in between.
A movement to bring about change, but started by an individual.
Why am I saying this and why in this blog?

I read a brief account of Hekani Jakhalu, a youth activist. You can read the article at this link.

What amazes me is that she started from many yards behind the start line. Already standing on the wrong side of fixed notions, she strove to bring about a positive change in the lives of her fellow people. The fact that all through she was guided by the emotions for her home state but took a pragmatic (cerebral would be closer to my intended meaning) and thoroughly-researched path deserves commendation.

Wanted to post in this blog just to re-affirm our faith in the Power of One.
May be next time I can write about the power of five fingers together.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Some Hope...!

Badhri, Aish and I have been discussing aggressively on our next steps.. its weird but we have done that over the cups of coffee, .breakfast ;-) and also amidst heavy traffic while walking and talking..! We were just dabbling our hands into this and that when we finally concluded that Reddy Foundation discussion has to be taken forward, a visit to Anand Bharathi for a whole day event and extract some important information from an NGO Naandi.Org in terms of their functions so that we may get some direction for our next motive!

I initiated to fish out the contact numbers of Reddy Foundation, and somehow I felt like talking to them directly…and that’s how I got to speak with Mr. Devi Prasad, Chief of Corporate Communications of Reddy Foundation Group. Well, it turned out to be quite productive and informative too…The summary listed below for your reference:

Reddy Foundations, Hyderabad

Contact Nos: 040-65343424, 040-23304199, 040-23301868

  • Reddy Foundation is focusing chiefly on Livelihood and education programmes for an age-group of 3-25 year olds..
  • They have so far 13 primary schools upto 3rd standard addressing quality education. They provide, meals, uniform and study materials to the children. Also support some govt. schools
  • Their Education Resource Center lays down the course materials.
  • They also cater to vocational courses between 18-35 age group. Theyhave 30 such courses, for 3 months duration. Target Audience being, school dropouts/ below poverty lines/youth). They have a placement cell too which grooms them and prepares them for job.
  • They conduct road shows to create awareness as one of their mediums and then conduct an Interest Elementary Test to identify their skills and counsel them or guide them for an appropriate course.
  • 3 Chief divisions for vocational courses are, ITS (IT Enabled Service), Customer Relations, and White Good Services.
  • They intend to build “Neighborhood Schools” in the coming year, which would upgrade the education from 3rd standard to 12th Standard.
  • They have also tied up with Agha Khan Foundation which aids training to teachers; provide innovative ideas to teachers to motivate children to attend regular schools.
  • They have been successful in providing livelihoods to 1,35000 people across the nation.
  • They also generate lot of rural development programmes.

Well Devi Prasad proposed us to meet up and discuss the possibility to partner with them and can work out a way to mutually benefit in the long run. He also discussed a possibility if we can drive one of their Livelihood Advanced Business School programmes in any area in Hyderabad. All this would be discussed at his end with the Director of Education of Reddy Foundation Group... Hence that introductory email was sent out. Lets see how positively he responds else, would follow up with him on Monday morning if he received the mail etc etc.

Key Issues - Women's Development, Children, Poverty

  1. Water
  2. Education
  3. Health
  4. Agriculture
  5. Environment
  6. Natural Resources
  7. Micro Finance
  8. Population
  9. Disability
  10. Housing
  11. Emergency Relief
  12. Human Rights
  13. Displacement
  14. Forest Land Rights and Tribals
  15. Child Rights
  16. Women Empowerment
  17. Right To information
  18. Right to food
  19. Panchayati Raj
  20. Peace
  21. Animal Welfare
  22. Labour Rights


  1. Employment Generation: capacity Building, implementation, Monitoring, and asset building.
  2. Sustainable Livelihoods – Institutional models and approaches to promote sustainable livelihoods for the poor and marginalized.
  3. Entrepreneurship development – support through marketing and financial linkages, business and development services.
  4. Skill development – Through vocational education and technical writing for unorganized sector and women.
  5. Condition of work – improved work condition for unorganized workers and workplace policies for HIV
  6. Social protection: provision of social security to unorganized sector workers.
  7. Organizing workers in the unorganized sector.

Am sure…after looking at the above scattered points you all may wonder what’s this…but trust me that’s what I have been thinking as a first step to build a strategy towards our AIM…we essentially need to list out the issues that need attention or areas where we can invest our time and services which would eventually bring a change in the standard of living of society. After exploring a bit ...ideally there were lots of issues (listed above)… but according to me there were three primary subjects that intertwined and laid to various problems. POVERTY, WOMEN AND CHILDREN. If you look at it in a broader way, lack of women’s development lead to various problems like lack of awareness, lack of self development, poverty and eventually it impacts the society on the whole. For instance in a family which is below poverty line if the women of the household is educated (to an extent or instilled confidence), groomed she can contribute majorly towards the financial development of the household and can cater to the basic necessities of the family! This would further add on to better raised children who can further go to schools and get the primary education or develop a positive outlook towards an educated sect of the community. So the point is we can create awareness amongst the women or prefer to groom the children who serve to be the future of our nation.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Targeting the meet - 4

What: Targeting the meet - 4
When: Sunday, Feb 10, 9PM - 10 PM (IST)
Where: Skype
1. Past meet round-up: Are we drifting? - by Badhri
2. Round-table: Past week(s) updates
3. Discussion: Answerability
5. Next week goals - team and individual
5. Wrap

Minutes of the Meeting - 8th Feb 2008

Participants: Aishwarya, Badhri, Shabnam

Date: 8th Feb 2008

Duration: 30 minutes

Topics discussed:

1. Direction of our activity related to RTI: The fact that children should form a focus of our efforts was reiterated by Badhri. So the understanding is we should search for a subject/area which is related, if not entirely focussed, on children.

2. One of Badhri's wandering thoughts: India has so many NGOs for so many years. Do they have a common platform or an umbrella organization under which they come together, share ideas, ensure that they cover all agendas and do not unnecessarily overlap in some other areas.

3. The idea of a guiding hand to help us channelize our efforts was brought up. A person with experience -pertinent experience - can surely help us channelize our efforts. He will also help us get a sense of direction. We should try and search for such a person.

4. Shabnam said she will prepare a chart of issues that are prevalent in the society and need to be tackled. I am really happy that the list has been published before this MoM :)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Need for answerability !

Badhri has been asking me to write this one for quite some time and finally I am down to writing this post. The very fact that it required constant reminding from him reflects the need for this post.

So here is the thing. We all are a part of this endeavour - "Targeting the Roots". We are also holding meetings regularly, but for one aberration last week. Apologies for that. I compare our thought process towards this venture with the thought process we undergo when we are at our work. Without going into the philosophies of our work dynamics, one thing that I believe is that we are more serious towards our "job" because there is this "clause of answer-ability". If I do not finish my work on time or if the quality of my work does not match expectations, I am answerable to my boss.
He is going to question me. He will embarrass the hell out of me. For many people, genuine motivation works too i.e. they love the job and therefore will go all out to achieve their goals.

The reason I brought this point out was we need to have one or both of the above motivations for our venture to progress i.e 1. All of us are answerable to one another 2. Something inside us should motivate us to think and do - make progress.

I should be discussing about TTR, the same way as I discuss work at home.
I should be browsing for more info the way I do for my career related stuff.
The thought of not progressing should trouble me the same way "Bench" troubles IT professionals.
I should be visiting our TTR blog as frequently as I do my own blog.
I should be writing on our TTR blog as frequently as I do for my blog. (For this again, there has to be a constant churning in our mind about TTR. Where else can we get our questions ideas doubts fire from?)

I am not sure how much of this can be enforced (answer-ability) and how much can be cultivated (motivation). But I have a strong feeling we need both of these in adequate measures to make a success out of this venture.

****Updated by Badhri****
I am totally on board with Aishwarya's point. So, why don't we implement it? Whatever project we take up, will also identify a "boss" to who we are answerable. What say?
For example, Aishwarya and I have taken it up for RTI and Adolescent Bridge Programs. We will have to identify
  • our "Boss", a member of the team who is really not working on the project that we are working.
  • our deadline, and our stated goal.
  • our boss will keep bothering us with uncomfortable questions about our progess all the way till our deadline date.

How does that sound?