Workshop on Community Development, Community Participation & Sustainable Development

The much awaited three days workshop to CBO coordinators, and field staff of programme project on Community Development, Community Participation and sustainable – development held at BIRD – Bosco Integral Rural Development, at Guntur between 22nd and 24th January 2008. Fr. Sudhakar, Director of BSK, Fr. Santiagu, in-charge of BIRD were present in the inaugural session. Coordinators and Field Staff, Mariapuram, Para – Ravulapalem, Ponnur-P.T.Parru, Punganur and Wyra and staff of DHISHA Hyderabad and Vijayawada made their participation in this workshop.

Mrs. Swarnalatha welcomed the participants and introduced the resource persons to the participants. The chief guest Fr. Chinnappa Thomas – Rector, Sodum lit the light and began the workshop with his formal address to the participants stressing the need for working together in a community. Fr. Thomas Santiagu – in-charge BIRD, gave brief introduction on programme projects, community development, community participation and sustainable development that BSK is involved in as team. The inaugural session had Mr. Ratna Raju – Marketing Manager, for proposing vote of thanks to the guests, resource persons and the participants.

Dr. Dev Monti the resource person for the first session of the day concentrated on community development and growth. The group actively participated in the session and shared its own views and experiences. The group, at the end of the session, came to a conclusion that community development means change but is a slow process, and such changes are sustainable.

In the second session of the same day Fr. Thomas Santiagu explained Community Organization, its Objectives, Philosophy, Basic Faiths required and Principles. It was a lively interactive session. In a later session of the day, he encouraged the participants to identify the problems at the society and the causes for them. The participants were divided into groups and discussed the question, which they shared with the bigger group at the end of the session.

Mr. Roshan Kumar dealt the topic on community participation. He challenged the participants to review and evaluate whether their participation in the community was with the people or for the people. It was naturally a lively participation and the heated discussion concluded that the staff at the field-work are with the people. He also emphasized that it is with the participation of the local people or target group, the desired change could be brought about so that it remains sustainable in the long run.

Presiding over the last session, Fr. Santiagu requested the representatives of each centre to present their three months activity reports on skill training, production – marketing and MACS in each community. Mrs. Saroja from Amalapuram, Mr. Mohan from DHISHA, Mr. Muthaiah from Wyra, Mrs. Chayadevi from Ponnur, Mr. Subramanyam from Punganur, Mrs. Malleswari from Vijayawada and Mrs. Pramila from Warangal presented their reports. Members from each community started sharing the work they are doing, the problems they are facing, the success stories, etc. .

Second day started with songs from Mrs. Swarnalatha and her team. Dr. Dev Monti dealt with basic community and its concept. He brought home the meaning of community and its features. He emphasized that community involves communication without inhibition and spirit of living together with differences.

Mr. Prabhu Charan who was dealing with the second session of the day explained the participants about community organization, and the needs of the people. This session was a re-learning session and the resource person made the participants to evaluate their involvement with the marginalised.

In the following session, Fr. Thomas Santiagu continued with Phases of Community Organisation. Participants felt a greater advantage of learning the aspects involved in the phases of community building and its functioning. It is a re-learning as well as refreshing ones ideas and concepts. He also dealt with methods of community organisation and making the local own every MACS at rural level. Members were divided into 4 groups according to community wise and were asked to discuss the challenge and present their reports in the next day

Mrs. Rajanipriya dealt with HIV / AIDS in her session. She explained what is HIV, different stages of HIV, what is AIDS, what are the symptoms, how to control HIV in the earlier stages etc.

The third day, Fr. Thomas Santiagu started the session with a song. This day began with the resource person Mr. Navaneeth Raj, Project Director in Lutheran Church. Mr. Navaneeth Raj dealt with three aspects i.e. community Development, Community Participation and Sustainable Development in his session. He explained the concept clearly by giving examples and the participants’ rapport made this session very interactive.

  • What is Development?
  • What are the drawbacks?
  • How to control those drawbacks?
  • What are the indicators?

In the post lunch session, Mr. Muthaiah from Wyra, Mr. Subramanyam from Punganur, Mrs. Chayadevi from Ponnur, Mrs. Sarojini from Para – Ravulapalem presented their reports which were discussed the previous day in groups. The participants also discussed the functioning of MACS and problems faced by each team at their respective places.

In the evening Fr. Thomas Santiagu divided all the participants into two groups. He requested group A members to tie towels around the eyes of their partners in the group B. Then he placed a rope in one corner of the door and asked the group who are blindfolded to search for the rope and every member who are blindfolded should hold the rope. He asked the other group members who are standing to guide them. Fifteen minutes were given to each group. Same process was done in vice versa. The group was asked to share their insights and experiences of the game and Fr. Thomas Santiagu explained about teamwork, team spirit. With this game of community spirit, the three days workshop came to an end.

Employability Skills Development Programme

The month of January also marks an important partnership initiative made by Don Bosco and Mahindra & Mahindra Group. Fr. Bellamkonda Sudhakar, Director of BSK, along with thirteen other Salesians from different provinces in India made a visit to Mahindra Towers at Worli in Mumbai. This initiative was made in search of “Employability Skills Development Programme” and a workshop was held at the GESCO Conference Room, at Mahindra Towers. Different resource persons from the Automobile stalwart took marathon sessions to the participants on different topics but focusing on the initiative. This Initiative was taken by Fr. Savio from the development office of Mumbai. Mahindra group is ready to extend their cooperation to start a Automobile Servicing stations.