Ashoka Innovators for the Public has emerged as one of the world change maker’s organization that keeps building up a global family. It is a home of innovators of new ideas and working methods, in its service to the needs and requirements of the people across the world. Ashoka Innovator for the public has therefore a rich reserve of resources for strengthening the net-working capacity, spread out in different countries.
This is the impression that I had obtained during my visit to Ashoka Innovator for the Public headquarters at Washington DC on June – 2008, as an extended visit while attending the Global Health Conference on Health. A liberal and at the same time in depth sharing of experiences of a fellow and Ashoka team at the headquarter coming from different backgrounds and different countries, it is indeed wonderful.
All along I had been in touch with Beth Inabinett in regular intervals and I was looking forward in meeting her in. person who is active in net-working with international volunteers making constant contacts with other fellows in linking volunteers to Fellow and through Beth, a lot of International volunteers had joined Impulse. And I was link Bethany Brady Spalding who was responsible for arranging my appointment and getting my interactive scheduled in place during my visit .It is through these linkages and E-mailing, that made me decide to share experiences at Ashoka headquarters, specially connected along my journey as a fellow, mainly because of the innovative Meghalaya Model, which fetch me the fellowship.
The 3rd of June- 2008, I also met Judy Frater – another fellow from India at the headquarter, which was an interesting meeting of two fellows from the same country, sharing the similarities and also differences in a more intimate manner. In the presentation programme to the Ashoka Team at the headquarter, I had listened earnestly to the presentation made by Judy, which was a reflection on myself, of the work which I am involved in terms of passion, commitment and enthusiasm a fellow has within oneself.
My Presentation was focused on the strategies and approaches applied in taking forward Impulse and also on the impact that the organization made, the building of inner confidence and the realization of ones strength and weakness in course of scaling up of the initiative in itself which was indeed a self- introspection. The challenge and difficulties that I came across, the sharing of experiences, all these flashed on my mind, going through thick and thin, when overcoming all these, brought into me a sense of achievement and a smile on my face to talk about it..
To me the day spent at Ashoka Innovator for the Public indeed enjoyable especially, analyzing current changes through a series of inter- audio and video reviewing with the communication team at Ashoka was really fun and great experience
The meeting with ‘Ashoka’s Law for all Initiative Team Francisco Campolini was interesting and thought provoking. It is this arm of the law that can extend legal support especially in confusing difficult situations, equipped with a social entrepreneur advocate, of a high level quality. This support should certainly strengthen the confidence in all aspects of working, whether at the local level in the country that I work or in the international level, especially that Impulse has been entrusted to extend work in other South East Asian countries. Therefore the technical, and legal backing is needed an urgent need for implementation of the various projects to be able to scale up.
The meeting with the team of the ‘Citizens Based Initiative’ is strengthening the sustainability of organization. Any organization for that matter cannot entirely depend on funds support from outside or from governments. So learning process and techniques is a new exercise.
Change Markers Team, was encouraging me to participate in a competitive innovation based, competition also on what in various subjects including global online, open source and coming up with solutions on different topical subjects connected with community reforms and building the overall changes which have brought about, one of the topics is obtaining solution on anti- trafficking, which is a topic of which I am conversant and having worked on the issue for a while. It happened to be a topic connected with my fellowship, based on the Meghalaya Model, and to further address the problem in a holistic manner, thereby I was convince to participate. A submission was made with the help of a volunteer who joined Impulse through ASHOKA, Caitlin Burton, who had earlier came to Shillong to volunteer with Impulse, and had gained the experience in understanding the subject. Meeting was held with Mavish Ahmad being an Ashoka support in net-working in the United States and India. There were a lot of brains storming sessions with her and various suggestions evolved during the discussions. These would certainly help me in net- working in the United States and India as well.
Surprisingly enough, on my returning back home, discussions over email was held to and fro, how the net-working can be further build up and strengthened. The other discussion was with Beth, which I felt was very touching and that there was a good response from the international volunteers which is unique for the positive respond that I received as an ASHOKA Fellow. The strategy is that assignments given to the volunteers, ensuring that they make use of their expertise, according to the requirements towards the growth of the organization. In this connection research monitoring and evaluation of ongoing project, content for website of Impulse work was undertaken by volunteers..
Beth had offered to come along with her husband for volunteering at Impulse in the coming year as the outcome of our discussion, it was suggested that volunteers can share their testimonies to be uploaded in the Ashoka website. I had then agreed to contact all the volunteers and four of them had already responded and their testimonies are uploaded on their site http://www.ashoka.org/volunteer/testimonials
It became a mutual and internal learning of the volunteers and the team as well, and I kept on sending feed backs to Beth, how to encourage more volunteers in sharing their testimonies to encourage more volunteer to come to North East India.
The volunteers therefore need to come up to the region so that they can document the various development process in their true perspectives, by working in tandem with other organizations who are partner of Impulse, institutions and universities. A clear image and impression on the different aspects of the developmental process of North East India can be conceived. People like Jenny Ho and Caitlin Burton, can therefore engage themselves along with the various linkages, including Beth. In this way the region and also the Impulse as an organization, can be further exposed its work capacity and capability can be enhanced, in the right direction. It would certainly be a new beginning of scaling up the work, specially in skill capacity and resources as well as institution building.