VALUES BASED SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION
The Need, Process and Implications
It is common observation that the poorest segments of the population are unable to participate or equitably access the benefits of a development programme. For participatory inclusive development, special care and attention is needed for building trustful connection with such groups.
Human values of humility, simplicity, sensitivity and amicability are fundamental to building of trusting relationship, especially with disadvantaged groups. The process calls for building self awareness among the facilitators of change and methods that can enable collective awareness among people.
Collective awareness leads to collective decision making and action, the basis for successful self management in people’s institutions like Self Help Groups, cooperatives. This process of social mobilisation is particularly important when communities have deep internal contradictions based on feudal, ethnic and gender divisions.
A meaningful process of social transformation 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 temporary, meaningless or even harmful outcomes.
The Internal Dimension: Building Self Awareness
Several methods and practices can be adopted to raise self awareness. These would vary according to the taste/inclination of the individual as well as the cultural setting. Some universal principles have evolved during interaction with participants of various backgrounds at Manavodaya. These are presented ahead as steps in Conscious Living. These are distilled from suggestions made by participants of more than 100 brainstorming sessions over a period of almost 20 years.
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.
For understanding and applying the process, proper and training of all persons is a must. Manavodaya has been successfully sharing these methods and values with development professionals and social workers in all its programmes with consistently positive outcomes. This is the special contribution of Manavodaya to the development dialogue that needs understanding and incorporation in all forms of development intervention.