The Consortia Approach to Societal Engagement

 by Augustine Veliath

Here is a “A powerful recipe to the possibility of everyone working  together  on gender equality. This is a collective quest where individuals and communities  address  all the gender equality issues, one by one in a strategic and concerted manner through Consortia Approach.

ABCD and beyond  of Development

Practical  WISDOM TO achieve gender equality  says  that unless the ABCD makes it their business, it will not happen.  Further  unless   EFGHIJ must lend their prowess and strength to this collective effort.They all must ask, what is keeping them  from action?

Who are the ABCDs and who are the others.

The Consortia Approach to Societal  Engagement ( CASE)  explores how the decision makers, the movers and shakers of a district can discover, dream, design, deliver and dare to bring about gender equality in the their district or constituency.

Will we have the wisdom to act? The CASE approach engages first with the ABCD, the administrators, the business leaders, the communicators and the democratic processes. When the district has an administrative plan, a financial plan,  communication plan and a leadership plan, we move further.

We move in for a partnership with educators, the front liners, the God’s own gifted inspirers, the health system (whole of it) the IT generations including digital natives and immigrants and all the justice seekers the activists and the prophets.

The 5D Process

The D process they will go for begins with discovering their own and the district’s own strengths. This is the strength of Consortia Approach. To do so they will  visit the country’s most promising women’s empowerment project and then sit down in small groups discover their own strengths and strengths of the district.  This is followed by a no holds barred dream session where they will look at all the possibilites of making their own district a gender powered one. The next day morning, the participants, based on their discovery and dreams, prepare in groups their design for action. In the plenary the designs are presented  and the participants identify the strengths of each design.

Now, based on the discovery, dreams, and designs and incorporating   the identified strengths individually or in small groups they prepare a delivery plan. The delivery plan is embellished with mile stones and bench marks to help in measuring the progress and success of each delivery plan, The combined plans becomes  the district plan.A stirring call-to-action, The Consortia Approach  juxtaposes the strengths of a district and its people,  the diversity and inter-connectedness of communities   with the unequal, soulless,  machinations  of patriarchy.

Refreshingly clear-sighted in its analysis of the systemic roots of their  gender  crisis, combining expertise and experience with insights  from lead players and duty bearers  of gender justice…The process  will be internalized  by all those who are on the ground facing, shaping and reshaping day to day realities of the district.

The Consortia Approach to Societal Engagement (CASE) is an elaborately people sourced approach. It involves

  • discovery of individual and collective  strengths,
  • all the opportunities that everyone can dream of,
  • all the aspirations that people will weave into their designs and
  • results that people will deliver.  
  • and all the milestones and bench marks people will dare  to place up front in their delivery plans.

The District as a Community of Consortiums.

People’s ownership is complete, because it is their dreams, their designs and it is their very own delivery plan. The timelines are theirs, the benchmarks are theirs and ultimately the dreams are also theirs. Every one who makes things happen have part in it. The process will generate changed   conversations  that will lead to behavior and attitudinal change.

According to Consortia Approach, the projects they visit  are  not called  best practices. They are called a promising practice. All processes will be  filmed, documented, visualized and disseminated.  Participants will observe people working in practical, transformational and imaginative ways.  They will  observe the worm, ask meaningful questions  and and take home valuable tips.

As group after group, profession after  go through this process and finalized their delivery plans the district team makes sure that it is shared with the larger district community. Suggestion are sought from everyone. More than ten different sets of  operational plans are released to the public. There is dialogue. There is conversations all around. Each delivery plan is tweaked. More actionable ideas added. It will always be a program in the making.

The Consortia Approach to Societal Engagement offers thoughtful and comprehensive reflections on the social and economic state of the district from academics and activists within the district.  From man woman relation to domestic violence, the process will  explore the interconnections underlying male dominance, and  will point to systems thinking and interdependency as pathways to much needed social  change.

The ABCD at Work

District Outcome 1  A Gender Justice Administrator’s Consortium for the District.

The Administrators, Government officials in senior position and people who run  large programs and projects in the state will ask themselves, what more and what else we can do bring justice and equity into the society.   How do we confront  the patriarchal moorings  that go with  hierarchical positions? How do we make our own programs and projects models of gender justice? How do I become a role model? How do we get out of our own silos and link with gender justice movement in the district? How do we double as effective managers and inspiring leaders? How do we practice servant leadership?

District Outcome 2  A Gender Justice Resources Network

The Business Leaders will look at  how can we make gender justic programs value for money, cost effective. How can these programs raise resources and become self supporting and self sustaining? How can these programs and processes become transparent and viable? How can we pool our resources? How can we make our programs out come based and result oriented. In this exercise  we include financially well off  Non Resident Indians who a feeling for the district, successful business men who have family links to the district,  various corporate social responsibility opportunities, infusion MP and MLA funds etc.

District Outcome 3  A Gender Justice Communication Consortium at District Level

The communicators will bring creativity  and imagination into all gender justice messages? How do we reach out to the poorest of the poor and the under served and the media dark communities? How do we make these messages memorable, How do we create and sustain conversations. How do we speak powerfully enough that policies and program will change for the better. How will speak in such more money and resources will flow into gender development programs. How will will make the high and mighty know the district’s needs and aspirations.

District Outcome 4  A Gender Justice Leadership  Consortium

The engagement with democratic structures and  processes is central to the consortia approach. We bring to the fore

  • the elected representatives,
  • the local leadership of political parties,
  • the community level  leaders and
  • gram panchayats and other forms of local governments.
  • civil society leaders and activists

is probably the most important part of this process. Gender Justice rises above all party politics. Hallmark of a good leader is being a champion of gender justice. So the question is how do we mobilize people around  norms of  new masculinity.  How do we play for gender just wards, panchayats and constituencies ? How do we create demand for people’s entitlements. Along with the political processe we will also involve the voluntary movements and grass roots organizations.

Beyond the ABCD the EFGHIJ

District Outcome 5  District Level Educational Consortia including a School for Schools

Catch them young they say. We involve the entire education scenario. primary middle  and high schools, colleges and universities, poly technics and vocational colleges, students and teachers, professors and lecturers, formal and non formal education in continuous quest for gender justice, in creating and using new vocabulary of equality and justice.

District Outcome 6  Front liners Unite for Gender Justice

The greatest strength of a district is its front liners, the Ashas, the Anganwadi workers, teachers, and myriads of others. Their involvement in the gender justice movement will help us walk the last mile.

District Outcome 7  Inter Religious Consortium

Our districts are full of temples, mosques, gurdwaras and churches. Several spiritual leaders  and inspirers  influence the attitudes and behaviours of people. Gender justice will be poorer without their involvement. Religion is often a source of fundamentalism and deep rooted patriarchal perspectives. By brining together all religions on one platform  we also hope to  bring  a healthy competition between various communities in their gender justice work.

District Outcome 8  Health for Justice Consortium

The Health system, Government and private, modern and traditional, institutional and community based are accessed by people. Medical practioners are trusted and their advice heeded. Health system needs to join the conversation and be truly the friend in need.

District Outcome 9  Digital Opportunities Consortium for Gender Justice

We also need to get on board all the IT saavy people of the district so that we can make best use of internet, websites, social media and the most penetrative of all the apps, the sms and the mobile. The 5D exercise with the digital natives and the digital migrants will take the fight for gender justice  truly into the hearts and minds of a large number of people.

District Outcome 10  Justice Seekers’ Consortium for Gender for the District.

Gender Equality is often best supported by the justice seekers, legal activists, the right to information seekers and rights campaigners. They will bring to the campaign the rights perspective  and they will make everyone aware of  and fight for their entitlements.

Consortia approach is a call to action, a call to moral  and spiritual arms.   It is an invitation for massive involvement. It is a multi prong and as far as possible comprehensive approach. We are reaching all people of good will in a district. We each one to evolve a personal delivery plan. Each event, each input is so designed to spark discussions and partnerships.