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Power to Community Leaders: Building Empowered Communities for Social Change

Transforming from an ordinary person to a community leader, some of the youths chose to broaden their horizon, acquire the skills of a leader, aspire to lift their communities and bring about sustainable change. Their commitment to empowering community members is commendable!


In today’s fast-changing world, the challenge we face is,

How might we create a sense of citizenship so that it empowers the community and creates a positive impact on the democratization process in India.


© Illustration by Richa Kumar / CSA

In 2019 CSA co-created the Community Leadership Program - Power to Community Leaders together with the partners CYSD, PRADAN, and SSK through a design thinking process. The program focused on nurturing the leadership qualities within the community leaders. The target groups of this program were leaders in underprivileged communities, development organisations, and their facilitators. Total 225 Community leaders were trained from the districts of Koraput, Keonjhar, Gumla, Khunti, and Palamu.



Power to Community Leaders has been designed to start from the “doing” level by taking up "How to Develop my CBO?" at Stage 1, then navigate into the "being" part by deep diving into " How to develop my skills as a community leader?" at Stage 2, and then targeting transformational change "How to become an inspirational leader?" at Stage 3. However, it does not stop there. An "Unconference" is organized by the community leaders at the end to celebrate being a leader, show solidarity with other leaders, develop a networking space, and share experiences.


Power to Community Leaders provide the necessary toolbox, training, and mentoring. Instead of a one-off training, it is a process that aims to enhance some critical skills of community leaders that are needed for them to function more effectively in their respective places. The style of facilitation in terms of the use of charts, making use of colours in notebooks make it more engaging and vibrant, which is also appreciated by all the participants.


One of our Community Leaders, Shakuntala, says– “I had never attended this kind of training. Sessions like a mission statement, phases of group development, and coaching were very good. I believe that women are not weak and can excel in what they do.” Another leader adds that Community Leadership Project has empowered them and has created leaders out of the ordinary person. They greatly acknowledge the role of leadership training and capacity-building programs.


Earlier, community leaders had limited problem-solving skills. Through community leadership training conducted by CSA and its partners, leaders are now able to emphasise the importance of leadership training apart from the normal meetings. The facilitator states that setting up the community leadership program was a great intervention, and they can notice a behavioural change in the community.


Community Leadership program is a shift from conventional service delivery model of development which is often difficult to be sustained after the project funding gets over. However, in the community leadership program we invest heavily in empowering communities to take charge and shape the development that they consider as important. As a result, the impacts stay with the community and rather grow as the transformed leaders multiply their initiatives. CSA is striving for the empowerment of underprivileged communities through capacity development and raising awareness at their intervention areas, and sincerely thanks their partners for the support.



 

About the Author

Richa Kumari has completed her Master's in Ecology and Environment Studies in 2019 and has been working in the social sector since then. She has sound experience in Holistic Rural Development Project. She is employed as a Young Professional at CSA and her thematic priorities include the Community Leadership Program, Oak Foundation Program along with the facilitation of training workshops. Richa is a young, innovative, and progressive thinking person who loves to explore new things and is passionate to bring a positive change in the lives of the communities that she serves.









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