Are you creative? Do you believe in volunteering? Start where you are! Use what you have! Do what you can! Join us along with international volunteers for ‘Hand in Land’ Work Camp from 10th to 23rd July, Kundapur.
Hi all, greetings from FSL India’s Centre for Experiential Living (CEL), Kundapur!
FSL India participated in the 9th General Assembly and Annual Training Program of Network for Voluntary Development in Asia (NVDA). FSL India being one of the network organisations of NVDA participated in the event and contributed its part in all the deliberations which was organised between 1st February and 10th February 2012. The program was organized by NVDA and hosted by RUCHI Organization in their campus at Bandh village, Himachal Pradesh. A total of 36 participants from 20 organization representing 14 countries participated in the program.
Mr. C. Doreswamy the Joint Director represented FSL India in the 9th General Assembly of NVDA. On the First day he participated in the work camp and field visit organized by RUCHI to study the integrated program. Following this event he made presentation about FSL India’s work to the participants. Having participated in the work camp activity, he also participated in the workshop which was organized on conducting impact study and assessment of volunteering service which was facilitated by Dr. Arun Chandran. He also represented FSL India in the Networking/ Bilateral talks with different organizations.
The General Assembly of NVDA started on 8th February where all the discussions were focused on the Goals of NVDA for 2012-13. The major topics dealt were impact recognition, starting program in new countries, quality improvement, initiating of common actions, launching of new projects and increasing NVDA membership among like-minded organisations. Annual report of NVDA was presented and discussion was held. The members also discussed on upcoming proposals to be undertaken by NVDA in collaboration with its member organisations. Later the members were divided into three groups to discuss on future common actions such as Tanabata Action Plan and Eco Sponge Promotion.
On 8th February discussion was held on EC Proposal which was later approved by the members. The members decided to register NVDA so as to channelize grants from government. New executive committee would decide where and how to register. Having a permanent office and staff were also approved by the members. NVDA will set up the office in Hanoi, Vietnam from February 2012. The members decided to conduct a study on impact created by five organizations in ASIA through volunteering service. Annual general election was also held and new executive community was constituted. On 9th February two groups were formed to discuss on group work camp and weekend work camp. Mr. Kai explained about the Pilot Asian Voluntary Service.
“Goodbye until we meet again” was the message conveyed by FSL India family to one and all who participated in the 3rd GLMTV Conference. Having engaged in a three-day intensive deliberation, the GLMTV delegates paid a visit to two projects such as ACCEPT Society and Sparsha Trust in the suburb of Bangalore as part of the exposure. The participants interacted with the staff, board of directors and the children of these two projects. “It was an amazing experience”- was the message expressed by each of the delegates of 3rd GLMTV conference. The staff of these projects appraised the participants on how the FSL India volunteers hailing from various countries create an impact and contribute towards the overall development of the organisations and wellbeing of the beneficiaries.
As it was time to say goodbye to the participants of 3rd GLMTV Conference, FSL India organised a brief valedictory session. The children and staff of these two organisations also participated to bid a very affectionate farewell to the participants. Children performed varieties of cultural events such as patriotic and folk song and dance in honour of the participants GLMTV Conference. Everybody was thrilled and enjoyed every bit moment with children in dancing and singing.
The three-day 3rd GLMTV Conference was concluded with a vote of thanks proposed by Mr. Arvind. FSL India once again wishes to thank NVDA, CCIVS and ALLIANCE for assigning the responsibility to host 3rd GLMTV Conference. It was indeed an enriching and edifying experience to host an international event. The President and Director of FSL India express good wishes and bid affectionate farewell to the participants of 3rd GLMTV Conference.
In its quest for ensuring excellence and continuous improvement in quality of LMTV projects, the participants of 3rd GLMTV Conference continued to share among themselves the know-how and experience in facilitating LMTV project. The members through group work, brainstorm and collective deliberation made efforts to develop standards and action plans, establish common systems, tools and methodologies to promote Long/Mid Term volunteers exchange across the world.
As per the schedule on 12th February 2012, the participants deliberated on issues such as common working way (Brainstorming, Case study, Workshop), global minimum standards, ensuring financial transparency, departure and evaluation, issues pertaining to the dynamics of intercultural misunderstanding, pre-departure training, mentoring, conflict management and risk management in facilitating LMTV are the major points of discussion. FSL India being the host organisation actively participated and contributed its part in the thinking process by sharing the best practices in facilitating LMTV programs.
From the public relation point of view which is one of the agenda point, the participants are asked to do a self-evaluation. Each organisation revisited their presentation during the special forum and self-evaluated the good and limitations of their previous presentation. Each organisation had the chance to learn from another. Different strategies and methodologies used by the participant organisations in promoting public relation and advocacy campaign were shared by the participant. Social, print and electronic media, personal appeal, blog, newsletter, network promotion etc. are prominent tools widely practised and shared by the international volunteering organisations. To be more effective in LMTV projects, logical framework approach with SMART indicators can be used for planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the LMTV projects. One must clearly specify overall objectives, input, output/outcome, and effect/impact indicators. Participants also had bilateral talk to shared inforation and collaborative action plan that will be implemented in the days to come.
The agenda for 13th February are: 1) presentation of promotion plans (group work), non-writing evaluation/impact, evaluation form of hosts/ impact, plenary and evaluation of Global LMTV conference. The participants also tentatively chalked out plan of action for the year 2013. Until the forenoon session the participants deliberated on these issues and visited ACCEPT Society and Sama Foundation as part of exposure visit.
The 3rd GLMTV Conference is one such platform for the international voluntary organisations to deliberate on various aspects of promoting local and internal volunteerism. Improving qualities of LMTV projects, share know-how and experience, develop standards and action plans, establish common systems, tools and methodologies to promote Long/Mid Term volunteers exchange across the world and develop new partnership to promote international volunteerism are the central themes for collective discourse of the 3rd GLMTV Conference. A total of twenty-five delegates from thirteen international voluntary organisations across Asia and European countries participated in this event.
As soon as ceremonial reception was organised by FSL India, the workshop started. The important points for workshop and deliberation for the first day are: 1) articulation of expectations and fears, 2) common tools for promoting LMTV projects, 3) group work on evaluating and improving the tools – info sheets, volunteer exchange and evaluation formats, 4) impact and statistics of LMTV projects, 5) measurement of impacted created in LMTV projects, 6) presentation and sharing of impact with other stakeholders, and 7) maximization of positive impact and minimization of negative impact created through LMTV projects.
The important event of the first day was special forum for which youth, social workers, NGO delegates, academicians and media from Bangalore were invited. Door Darshan which is the largest public broadcasting corporation made coverage on the special forum. All thirteen organisations of the GLMTV conference made presentations and shared with the audience on the long term and mind term volunteering projects and impact created in their respective countries. The following International Organisations made the presentations during the special forum are: 1) Friendship Foundation, Nepal, 2) FSL India, 3) IIWC- Indonesia, 4) IWO – South Korea, 5) NICE Japan, 6) SJ France, 7) SJ Vietnam, 8 ) FP Vietnam, 9) CI Spain, 10) Volunteers Initiative Nepal, 11) VolTra Hongkong, 12) VYA, Taiwan and 13) OWA Poland.
Mr. Rohan D’Souza the director of FSL India in his welcome address specified the importance of the GLMTV conference and how the event is going to impact the global volunteers. Mr. Rakesh S. Soans the President of FSL India addressed the media and later the participants of GLMTV conference. In his address he mentioned that it is a rare opportunity for FSL India to host such international event in the tenth year of its existence and facilitating filed services and inter cultural learning engaging local and global volunteers. He further stated that as this global event is hosted first time in India, the Indian youth will be greatly impacted and immensely benefited from the global volunteering program.
Mr. Kai the founding president of NVDA also addressed the audience and expected that the conference would impact the quality of facilitating volunteer service and improve the LMTV project across the world. Prof. Raja Shekhar also participated in the special forum and addressed the participants. He appreciated the efforts of the international organisations and the delegates of the 3rd GLMTV Conference in contributing to education, health, environment and socio-economic development projects. He further emphasised the importance of inter-cultural dimension of volunteering program by which not only one shares and learns from other’s culture but also gets to know more about one’s own culture.
FSL India is hosting the 3rd Global LMTV (Long/ Middle Term Voluntary Service) Conference in Bangalore. The program is scheduled for 10th to 14th February 2012. The program is jointly organised by FSL India, Network for Voluntary Development in Asia (NVDA), Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS-UNESCO) and Alliance. Altogether 27 participants from 18 IVS (International Voluntary Service) organisations from Asia and Europe would participate and deliberate on various aspects of prompting youth mobility and volunteering service. The objective of the program is to improve qualities of LMTV projects, share know-how and experiences, develop standards and action plans, establish common systems, tools and methodologies to promote Long/Mid Term volunteers exchange across the world and develop new partnership promote international volunteerism.
FSL India being an international youth voluntary organization is celebrating its 10th Anniversary which coincides with the 10th year Anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers 2011. We are privileged to host the GLMTV conference in this special year. The management and staff of FSL India welcome the delegates of the 3rd Global LMTV Conference.
On the 30th of September the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) and the Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS) along with FSL India the hosting organisation held “Health on Stage” Open Day in Bangalore. One and a half month lasting project concluded with the closing session in which participants shared their thoughts about the results and experiences of living and working closely with local communities in Bangalore, Chennai and Mysore. A group of 21 young Eurasian Volunteers with linguistic and cultural diversity facilitated Health on Stage and engaged in intensive dialogue with local community by using “forum theatre” as the medium for communication.
A host of local print and electronic media, NGOs and civil society organisations participated in the open day programme to get an update on Health on Stage and appreciated the efforts of the young volunteers. Each group represented the most popular performance that was implemented in the community. The audience could get familiar with how public health dialogue was being implemented by linguistically diversified group and witnessed how forum theatre can be an effective means for communication.
While addressing the inaugural function Rakesh S. Soans, the President of FSL India appreciated the young volunteers and reiterated that health is a global issue and global community need to work together to improve the health status of the people. Participating in the panel discussion Dr. Sanjay, the Vice-president of FSL India emphasized the need of forum theatre as an effective tool for information dissemination and public health dialogue. Forum theatre attempts to identify local solutions to the local health problems.
In the sharing session Ms Jaya Iyer (Indian forum theatre trainer) together with the participants Mr. Nagoor Kani from FSL India, Ms Rubini Raghunathan from the local community participant and member of the Chennai group, Mr. Felimon Blanco the volunteer from The Philippines and member of the Bangalore group, Ms Suzanne Prak the volunteer from The Netherlands and member of the Mysore group shared their views on the impact of the programme on the local communities. Most of the participants agreed that the Health on Stage was very successful and forum theatre worked successfully as a way of encouraging and engaging people in discussion about the public health issues. Some of them said that they already have plans for the future cooperation with other partner organizations in their respective countries. Other volunteers too agreed to use the newly gained knowledge and skills in their future course of action.
Addressing the participants, Amb Nguyen Quoc Khanh the Deputy Executive Director Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) expressed his delight and appreciation with the outcomes of the project as well as expressed possible future cooperation for public health dialogue. Responding to the queries raised by media and NGO delegates, Mr. Rakesh said “we will take this agenda forward and reach out to the people of India and engage them on public health dialogue.” Few NGOs and civil society organisations have expressed their willingness to collaborate with FSL India and integrate forum theatre to address water and public health issues.
As follow up of this intervention, ASEF has been documenting the impact and learning of Health on Stage. ASEF plans to bring out training toolkit and evaluation and recommendation of the 10th AEYVE: Health on Stage. It is expected that these publications would serve as resource and reference documents for others to learn and replicate the model.
Public health dialogue on public health issues is becoming increasingly important today in the world. Health which is the most buzz word today in the domain of global development agenda remains largely the principal factor for human progress and prosperity. If we look at the Millennium Development Goals, out of the eight four MDGs such as: 1) reduce child mortality rates, 2) improve maternal health, 3) Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, and 4) ensure environmental health and sustainability; fall within the purview of health. And global partnership for development (MDG 8 ) is the synergising factor for realisation of all MDGs.
If one analyses this reality, it would not be inapt to state that health is not only the local issue but also the global phenomenon, the improvement and attainment of which would determine the local as well as global progress. Nationally and internationally the UN bodies, governments, aid organisations, local NGOs and civil society organisations employ different strategies and deploy sizeable amount of financial as well as human resource to address numerous health issues. “Health on Stage” spearheaded by Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF) and implemented in India in partnership with Field Services and Intercultural Learning (FSL India), is one of such local and global efforts to mobilise community efforts for public health dialogue on public health issues.
What is Health on Stage and how does it relate to public health dialogue on public health issue is the question one needs to raise. “Health on Stage” is nothing but the 10th edition of the Asia-Europe Young Volunteers Exchange (AEYVE) programme, and is the theme promoted by ASEF. Although Health on Stage as a developmentally appropriate strategy is not a new conceptual framework for enhancing the health status of the people, the theme promoted by Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF) in partnership FSL India is certainly a unique and new people-based development paradigm innovated for development actors to replicate. It is a unique model because, a group of young Eurasian Volunteers with linguistic and cultural diversity facilitated Health on Stage and disseminated information and engaged in intensive dialogue with local community by using “forum theatre” as the medium for communication.
Hosted for the first time in India, Health on stage was implemented in three different locations such as the slums in Bangalore, rural areas in Mysore and the eight model villages promoted by FSL India in Chennai suburban. Water, water related issues and water borne disease are important components of Health on Stage programme. Working in three groups, the 21 Eurasian Volunteers visited the slum-dwellers in Bangalore, workers in an industrial belt in Chennai and villagers in Mysore and performed forum theatre and promoted Health on Stage.
After a week-long inter-cultural exchange and learning the applications of ‘forum theatre’, these young volunteers of “Health on Stage” performed for one month. They were trained by Jaya Iyer, Indian forum theatre trainer. Health on Stage volunteers focused on public health, with all its social and cultural dimensions in the specific locations. The performances were indeed unique and enriching and above all original in its creativity. Its impact is significant as it opened up new avenues for health seeking behaviors of the local community. Under the broader framework of Water and Public Health, a wide range of local issues were taken up for dialogue and seek solutions. Hygiene and sanitation, waterborne diseases, preventive and curative aspects of health, water and environment, water conservation, indigenous water purification measures etc. are some of the issues dealt with.
They did not speak the local language. They were not familiar with the local issues and the local culture. How did manage to make a significant impact? But surprisingly language and cultural issues did not pose a formidable challenge for these young and enthusiastic volunteers. The forum theatre was not so much with language based. It was predominantly body language and action based communications. Initially the young development artist used to spend time in social mapping to identify the local water and health issues and through forum theatres analyzed the issues with the community to design locally available solutions. People did not take initiative to find the local solutions. They did criticize the government and someone will come and do – this was the kind of mind set. But this has triggered the thought of the people and now they have realized that it is the people who are principally responsible to find out locally available solutions to their numerous water and public health problems.
As these volunteers assembly in Bangalore for a three days evaluation which culminates in addressing the international media on 30th September, Miss Debasmita the Media Coordinator form Singapore says that the movement has created a ripple effect and the global issues are converged with the local issues and the local issues with the global. With a scaling up measures these volunteers as they return to their respective countries, would mobilize the local mass and continue to identify and address local issues pertaining to water and health.
Whether Health on Stage or health off the stage; sustainability is supremely important in any development intervention. This is only the pilot phase and it is expected that with replications and ripple effects this effort will continue to make the headway to address water and public health issue. Mr. Rakesh S Soans, the President of FSL India says that “now it is the responsibility of FSL India to take this agenda forward and reach out to the other parts of the country for engaging the people on public health dialogue.”
In India there has been overwhelming response. NGOs and civil society organisations have been approaching to integrate Health on Stage strategy to address water and public health issues. And therefore, Health on Stage and public health dialogue is a new people-based development paradigm for the global community for applications and replication to address the community issues and problems.