Finding A Place To Live
Last month brought with it some of the most challenging days I’ve experienced so far. What aided me in not letting these days get the better of me was perhaps giving my mind the space to reflect and bounce. A simple meal and conversations. Reconnecting with people. Cooking, writing, therapy, art, and music – these are my energy givers. It also brought the need to be open to inspiration, by ways in which people live, and the little everyday things they do contributing to a more meaningful way of living.
Additionally, I also shifted to my flat, the first space where I’d be staying alone. It’s a 1 bhk apartment that I’ve transitioned into a home. An old couple living downstairs welcomed me as though they had known me for ages. Next thing I knew I was swapping white lights for the warm yellow ones. And putting up some art I had done during a workshop at the Kochi Biennale. Plus, some photographs that inspire me and a few writings. In the last three months, I had temporarily stayed in five places in Bhuj itself where I’m currently working.
To talk about work, some of my initial responsibilities at SETU Abhiyan included documentation, creating content, and designing brochures for an upcoming event, on the topic “Understanding the role of Panchayati Raj in empowering adolescent girls and youth”. Now going beyond that, I’m working on coming up with effective solutions and strengthening the ones we already work on. For example, increasing participation in the ward committee meetings.
I also got to participate in the organisational level visioning exercises as well as board meetings with the entire team. The last visioning exercise took place in 2015. So, the purpose was to take a look at how far we have come. Plus, to plan ahead with a clear path and vision. It was facilitated and mentored by Sushma Iyengar, also one of the governing board members of SETU Abhiyan.
A couple of key takeaways from these meetings are as follows:
- Evaluating whether or not the proposed initiative will reach the targeted group in a way that is beneficial to them. It has to be thought out in a manner to effectively implement at ground level. Only then, it will be sustainable.
- Existing spaces can be re-thought and re-designed by approaching them with an understanding of region-specific issues, practices, contexts, and learning from previous interventions.
Keeping in mind the changing scenario of the nation at large, and considering all the factors while focusing on the constitution of India, SETU rethinks about its situation from time to time. Every staff member reflected upon the work in the last 5-8 years and presented their own vision for the organization along with an objective. What’s done so far and what needs to be done going forward, was brought out and discussed thoroughly.
We engaged in exercises on organisational inquiries, strategies for self-governance, and shared objectives. This resulted in the formulation of a comprehensive preface and proposal that addresses the local circumstances, requirements, and areas of concern, specific to each of the blocks we work in.
The role of the facilitator included asking questions on the methodology and progress of the work so far, and future plans. For example, the rapid industrialisation has largely affected the traditional livelihoods of the citizens of Kutch. The artisans, salt pan workers, and farmers are having a hard time find work. A huge fraction of natural resources have wiped out, drastically damaging the natural ecosystem. Now the role of the team would be to design an approach to work on this issue that aligns with our vision and mission.
Witnessing and being part of these exercises proved to be quite insightful when it came to understanding progressive strategic planning. It was a thoughtful, yet critical approach that offered valuable perspectives on how to effectively implement broader objectives in reality and how regional issues need to be understood and worked upon. It deepened my understanding of organisational needs to navigate practical, resourceful, and goal-oriented action.