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34. Joint Staff Development Programme

by Pankaj Madan

NGO : Staying Ahead and Staying Relevant

The 34th Joint Staff Development Programme, organised by PHDCCI and India office of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) from 08.-11. September 2017 and titled “NGOs: Staying Ahead and Staying Relevant” was inaugurated by Mr. Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister of Goa and the former Union Defence Minister with the traditional ‘lighting of the lamp’ together with Mr. Peter Rimmele, the new Resident Representative to India of the KAS and Mr. Gopal Jiwarajka, the President of the PHDCCI.

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Mr. Rimmele and Mr. Jiwarajka welcomed the delegates while Mr. C.M. Krishna gave an overview of the conference. After the keynote address by Dr. V.G. Patel, Founder Director of the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, Mr. Parrikar delivered his inaugural address.

In his address to the more than 50 strong gathering from 11 partner organisations from all over India, he said NGOs have to be relevant to remain ahead and work with the government for the upliftment of society. He said that though there were about four million smart phone users in the country, there was still a huge digital divide as with a huge population, technology was yet to reach the masses.

Deliberating on the important issue of education, Parrikar noted, “Education remains the deepest concern as its quality is most important. So far it has always meant only making children literate rather than actually educating them. Skilling the large population of youth in India is posing a big challenge for us and government alone cannot do it unless other organisations step in”. The chief minister continued that technology, other than aiding in various sectors, had been resulting in loss of jobs, and population growth too were posing as big challenges for the country.

On the first day of workshop Ms. Rosy Fernando, CEO of Start-up Solutions, and Ms. Jayashree Suresh of Zwende deliberated about connecting rural and urban entrepreneurship and how it could improve the economy of the country, generating employment and project business modules. Ms. Suresh cited an example that how individual citizens could use solar power and generate biogas from their daily biodegradable waste for electricity instead of depending on the government for their needs. They spoke about the problems of traditional businesses in South India which were dying and the ways they could be revived. Ms. Fernando specified about how NGOs were also working for the empowerment of transgenders in India though they faced discrimination.

Vikas Chawla, founder of Social Beat, conducted an interactive session on digitisation and e-banking and highlighted the importance of communication to raise funds and the work they were doing in their respective fields. He told the participants about the importance of social media and how the NGOs could exploit that opportunity to showcase their organisations and reach out to people globally. Through a presentation, he asked the participants to discuss and present the challenges they faced

Several participants spoke about non-availability of internet services in rural areas and how they found it difficult to communicate with the people, though the Central government was planning to digitise and promote e-banking to connect the entire country and promote transparency.

Sumit Duggal and Pranay Aseem of SignCatch made the participants aware of the various apps that the agricultural and rural community can use in order to carry out their daily activities efficiently and effectively. One such app is Trringo which is an on-call service for farmers who need tractors that arrive accompanied by technicians. These applications are created to target this particular audience so as to bring the urban advantages to the rural community which can be propagated through the work of NGOs who are in sync with the people they exist for.

A session by session feedback exercise was also conducted by the PHDCCI which would be analysed from the perspective of the calibre of experts, knowledge gained and in general the efficacy of the event. At the end, the whole group was split into four integrated working groups which did a SWOT analysis of the NGO sector and came up with candid facts about the challenges and problems being faced and the underlying approaches to the solutions for staying ahead and staying relevant.

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Peter Rimmele


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