I am sure many of us would have faced one or the other problems in our local area/ neighbourhood like,
bad street roads,
street lights not working,
garbage not getting cleaned on daily basis,
chain snatching and robberies etc,
and would have wondered is there anything I can do to make things better, but then we are stuck up with questions like,
What can be done about this issue
What can I do ALONE
Whom am I supposed to reach out
We feel our voices would not be heard by police and other officials.
Just to give you brief idea about Haiyya, founded by Deepti Doshi, has a team of enthusiastic people. Its just been around 9-10 months since they have started their operations, their vision is to build better democratic India through power of community. Haiyya is non-partisan and is not interested in promoting any particular political party.
The way Haiyya team operates to achieve their vision is,
Setup different campaigns with some specific goals and objectives.
Find fellows (people who are interested in social service along with their full time work)
Provide basic training to this fellows so that they can build team and lead the campaign in their neighborhood.
The idea is that “Its our problem and we have to take actions to get it solved!”
I liked the overall idea on community building and the approach to solve local problem. So I decided to apply for a fellowship for one of their upcoming campaign VOCAL(Vote National, Act Local) which has already started now. I am glad that inspite of having no social work background I got selected for the same!
There were around 25-30 fellows from different parts of Mumbai. We were given 2.5 days of training on team building, door to door canvassing, conducting meeting with community, and lots of other things, the important part of training was it had more practical exercises rather than only theories. Overall it was a very good experience!
To give you more idea about the current campaign VOCAL (Vote National, Act Local), and what we are going to do, the campaign has two main agenda,
#1 Vote National
Goal: To increase voters count for 2014 national elections in Mumbai
Need: According to the statistic presented here, only 54% people in India vote, within that 54%, people who vote for selected party are somewhere between 18-20%. So effectively only 20% of our population is deciding who is going to decide the fate of our country, In turn selected party will be more focus on solving problems of 20%. I would highly recommend to check out this video to understand Importance of voting!
1. Reach out to people in your neighborhood and explain them importance of voting
2. If they do not have voter id help them with right information on how they can get it.
Goal: Build community(group of people) from your local area, discuss problems within your area and possible solutions and try to get things resolved together.
Need: We often rely on our corporators and politicians or officials of corporations to do their jobs properly but sad part is not everyone is doing their job sincerely. So if we approach this officials with our problems individually there are chances that we may not get good response, but when approached in group of people, there are high chances that things will be addressed promptly.
1. Build a team of volunteers who are interested in the idea of building community
2. With the help of your volunteers reach out to people in your neighborhood and empower them with the idea of community building and build team of people who would be interested in participating in discussions of problems and taking actions to solve the same.
3. Held meetings on regular basis with the team and try to solve the problems
I have started with my own building and am visiting my neighbors to explain them on VOCAL, and so far it has been good experience. Apart from going door to door the main thing I am planning is building team of volunteers who can visit their neighbors.
In case you are interested in this concept and campaign, following are few ways in which you can participate,
#1 Become volunteer
By becoming volunteer you can play active role in following
Go door to door for spreading awareness about VOCAL
Assist in organizing community meetings
Suggest your ideas
Assist in maintaining the collected information
#2 Help our team find volunteers
If you know people whom you think would like to participate in becoming volunteer or attending community meetings, then please share their contact details. I would be working in Ghatkopar area but we have team of fellows working for different parts of Mumbai.
#3 Share this post
SHare this post so people in your circle knows about the VOCAL campaign.
#4 Help with resources
In terms of resources we need things like, space for conducting meetings, printing of posters brochures and pamphlets, taking photographs and videos at meetings etc so in case you would like to offer your help in terms of resources that would also be great.
I am very positive about this campaign and looking forward to build a community in my area! In case you have some questions or need clarifications kindly get in touch with me on my personal email id: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please use comment section for your suggestions and feedback!
Zor Lagake Haiyya!