This blog post is about my experience of working on the VOCAL campaign, if you would like to know more about what is VOCAL campaign kindly refer to my earlier blog post “Want to make a difference in your neighborhood – just say Zor Lagake Haiyya”
I will be sharing my experience on a week by week basis.
First step of VOCAL campaign was to try and find volunteers (building team) who can come with me and or help me to spread the awareness about the same.
I tried following things in order to reach out to people in first week
Put a message on Whatsapp groups,
Sent out few emails,
Wrote a blog post here and shared it on facebook and twitter.
Contacted few Facebook groups of my school
Few of my cousins showed interest but due to their exams they could not join me immediately.
There were questions like
How did I came to know about this
Why am I doing this!
Is this campaigns related to political party etc.
Second step was to start door to door visit, I could not start door to door in first week, as there was no one with me, well to be honest I was not confident enough to go alone so wanted some one to join me, in second week my better half showed interest and joined me, she had experience of doing door to door marketing so she had better confidence than me and she took the lead of starting conversations and I started with filling up of forms for interested people.
Once we finished couple of house I gained the confidence and then we switched the role alternatively. We finished around 6 houses on first day in 1.5 hours and the response we got was really good. People were liking the concept and shown interest to join the meetings (this was completely surprise factor for me I was expecting exactly opposite, apathy and rejections!!)
I was very much charged up with the response so next day I decided to go alone to see how I can handle it alone, it was again a very good experience people were welcoming and listening to me patiently, there were words of encouragements and at one of the house I was offered a juice/soft drink, i had it if you would like to know
When i went back to home and analysed, I could only cover 5 homes in around 1.5 hours on second day, Soon I felt this is a very slow process and started thinking about how can I make it faster, In this 21st Century we want everything to be faster
I was excited about the response but the slowness of the process got me little de-motivated, also I had to make some arrangements for a weekend outing we had planned for my family so could hardly conduct any door-to-door visits.
I attended weekly meeting with our Area leaders and communicated the slowness and suggested if we can get pamphlets for distributions. So that we can reach out faster, pamphlet designing is a work in progress now and expected soon.
Also while discussing with area leader and other team members, we realized that this is going to be slow process and we have to be patient, the best way to cover more houses would be to have more volunteers with us!
One of my cousins contacted me as her exams were over, so I started going door to door with her and we could gather around 14 more contacts details within 2 more days, within 3 weeks we had around 30 peoples within our list.
Also we had a suggestion from our Area leader to start conducting meetings (we call it as People Sabha @ Haiyya) within whatever contacts we had. I had my reservations regarding conducting meeting for my own buildings and was not sure how many would actually turn up on Sunday! but I decided to keep the first People Sabha on Sunday 22nd around 10:30am. To my surprise there were 6 people(excluding myself and area leader) who turned up on Sunday and we had discussion for close to 2 hours. Though it was only 8 people in Sabha, the experience was really good, each one had some idea and opinion which helped everyone to increase their knowledge.
One small improvement which we tried this week was to call people from all houses on same floor together and explain them about VOCAL together. This helped us to cover little faster compared to one house at a time.
We are into 5th week right now and have around 6 volunteers with me, we will be completing our own building (we have around 80 houses and have covered almost 40-45 houses till date), after this we will start with nearby buildings. We feel that if someone from their own building accompanies us for door-to-door, there are more chances of +ve response, so first we will try and find volunteers from near by buildings and then start door to door.
We will have our next People Sabha this Thursday at 9:30 pm.
Key Learnings till date
It’s a slow process and we have to keep patience
People are welcoming and not showing Apathy
People are ready to bring change and may be waiting for such platform, not everyone can take initiative, but they are ready to join
Different people have different Ideas, thoughts, knowledge so when you connect to them our own vision expands
We want to replicate this model in other areas of Ghatkopar also so In case anyone reading this post has any contacts please share with them! If you have any suggestion on how to reach out to people faster and mobilize them do share the same using comment section below and yes don’t forget to say.. Zor Lagake Haiyya!
Here are few pics from our People Sabha!