Developing effective skills & strategies for community engagement
Introduction The very definition of democracy is based on the participation of citizens at various levels, across diverse domains. For effective participation, awareness about rights and duties, followed by engagement are paramount. In other words, community engagement, a process of building ongoing and permanent relationships for the benefit of a community, is essential for effective governance; besides it captures other benefits too: collective efforts can achieve more, sustainable ownership is ensured, effective information exchange is facilitated, and inclusiveness of one and all is enhanced, among others.
Rojgar Paramarsh Kendra at Chandankyari, Dhanbad, Jharkhand
However, encouraging a community to engage itself for a common cause is not a piece of cake; it requires the application of many soft skills, and diplomatic yet effective strategies. So, how does this process start?
The process in initiated with the help of an approach:The Community Led Skill Development or CLSD approach that is based on the idea of self-help and collective local action as against the idea of stipends and rewards; it is a process of community empowerment, which starts with community, where self-analysis leads to collective community decision and local action. The CLSD approach is based on the following principles: Community in the lead role,all others as facilitators; focus on total: Everyone in the community participates and gets benefitted; no external pressures, prescriptions, demand for action or allurement; encouraging emerging natural leaders to lead all actions; solidarity and cooperation: helping each other to combat difficult situations; community monitors engaged on a regular basis
Furthermore, the process is divided into three phases: pre-mobilization, during mobilization, and postmobilization. The pre mobilization phase includes: understanding mandate requirements, identification
of areas through Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA), defining target groups, exploring outreach channels/feasibility,
preparing a mobilization calendar to record day-wise plans, and tracking the mobilization activities on a monthly basis; the post mobilization process involves follow-ups, relationship building exercises, visits to communities where mobilization activities have been conducted, among others, in order to ensure the continuity of the impact of mobilization activities carried out earlier
Mobilization at village Katkamsandi in a remote block in Hazaribagh district, Jharkhand
Stakeholder engagement with NGOs at Saraikela district, Jharkhand
Techniques Involving people to channel their focus and energy for a cause, and not just any cause, but a cause that will help them, needs generation of awareness about the cause, its need/value/impact, and an effective and collective way forward for the timely, cost effective, and efficient achievement of the goal, based on individual strengths The process of engagement and mobilization involves approaches/methods such as outreach events like melas, helplines, SMSs, Nukkad Nataks, roadshows, rallies, media coverage, Common Service Centers, local leaders, Aganwadi schools etc. Presentations, mobilization calendars, canopies, videos, leaflets, banners, posters, flip charts etc. are some examples of collateral used during such a drive
Kaushal Mela organized at Dhalai district, Tripura
Skills Oath being practiced across all IL&FS Institutes of Skills (IIS) encouraging trainees to make India the skills capital of the world
Door-to-door mobilization, at the village level, under the CSR of GAIL (India) Limited, taking skilling to the interiors of Guna, Mad
Advisory Committee at MSDC Jalandhar, Punjab to create an impact at the grassroots level
Mobilization drives for Sewing Machine Operator training programme, under the CSR of NTPC Ltd. including door to door visits