Prashant Singh of Ulfah Arts, Birmingham, one of our participants at the Active Citizens Workshop held recently in Mumbai writes:
Some say that variety is the spice of life and I couldn’t agree more after attending the five-day Active Citizens Facilitators Training held at Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, India, from 23rd July to 29th July 2011. I have been active in the international development scene for quiet a while now and I was expecting another useful but bog standard training event which will not only give me skills in becoming a better workshop facilitator, but will also help me become a part of the world-wide Active citizens community. I couldn’t have been far from the truth! The five days i spent at TISS helped me to not only formulate a better way of working in the third sector but it also gave my belief in the importance of social work a new lease of life. The people, the stories and the real-life examples of social empowerment were only the tip of the iceberg, and before i knew I was surrounded by pioneers of south Asian social sector, rich conversations developing real projects, strong opinions challenging anything which went against the benefit of the masses, and real people who don’t just do social work, they live it!
Actors, Directors, literacy workers, respected academics, forum theatre practitioners – almost everyone in the group had a unique skill set which complimented the needs of the group and i can only credit that to the amazing work by a well organised British Council team. Each and everyone invited by BC absolutely deserved to be there and as if like cogs of a wheel each one of us was important to the five day training in some way or the other! The two facilitators – Mike and Dan did an amazing job at bringing the group together as one cohesive force and seek real solutions to the social problems around us. It was their exercises; energizers and team activities, which really help us, nurture hive thinking. By the end of the training almost everyone had a full idea of what they want to do with the training and how the relationships we had formed during the five days in Mumbai could help each other achieve development goals .
I’m now a thoroughly converted Active citizen and I’m looking forward to training a further 30 in Birmingham, UK. It was a really good experience, one people might call ‘life affirming’ and I look forward to developing social empowerment projects in India, Pakistan,BangladeshandSri Lankawith the help of my new-found NGO family!
Well done to the entire BC team behind the Active citizens project, you guys are accumulating some decent karma, keep it up! ”