VALUES BASED SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION
Any meaningful process of change has both internal and external dimensions that need careful nurturing. The internal dimensions relate to the evolving consciousness at the individual and collective level. The external dimensions relate to methods and systems of organisation necessary to enable democratic working within and capacity to deal with the environment around. The absence of either of these could easily distort the process of change, leading to a temporary, meaningless or even harmful outcomes.
The Internal Dimension: Towards a New Consciousness
Several methods and practices can be adopted to raise consciousness of an individual. These would vary according to the taste/inclination of the individual as well as the cultural setting. Some helpful hints on 'how do we start' are available from the brainstorming on the subject at Manavodaya. These are presented as Eight Steps in Action. These are distilled from suggestions made by participants of more than 100 brainstorming sessions over a period of almost 10 years.
These may be treated as starting points. Those wishing to engage in a dialogue for the purpose may contact us directly by mail.
The External Dimension: Local Management and Control
Democratic decision-making, transparency in accounts-keeping and shared responsibility are well meaning words conveying 'values'. These require building up of management systems at local level that can be practiced even by illiterate populations.
Delineated further, these imply proper cash management systems, record keeping systems, accounts management systems, credit management systems and so on. A proper facilitation process that enables people to adopt these systems can ensure that such values are practiced.
Caste/color/race biases, gender imbalances and mental complexes of infinite variations make the process of understanding and adopting human values difficult. Yet a process of 'Collective Reflection' has a strong impact on pre-conceived notions, attitudes and behaviour. These are discussed in detail in the book : Development from Within, Collective Reflection for Sustainable Change.
New Perspectives Gained by Participants
The most important learning : you have to be connected with the inner you to be able to reach others in the best way. I can do what I want with my life. I think that people based development is a way of looking at humans. This value is possible to carry, independent of where you live your life. I will leave this place with a big life experience which has given me a new perspective of life.
I have learnt a lot about myself and my values. I have also learnt to see other perspectives in different ways, this I find very important. It has made me more aware of the bottom-top perspective in my work
It has been a huge experience which has made me think of both social change and inner change in a new way. It has made me think of big questions I have never thought about before
I have connected a lot more with my inner self and I feel that this programme as well as India has changed me to be a better more observant human being.
I found looking within very easy to understand but a lot more difficult to do. It is a process that I have just started. But I will continue this because I understand the importance of this.
I have learnt in these weeks to listen more to my inner voice and to see myself from the outside.