Friday, 6 June 2014

Unite 'em Soldiers!

It is great that we are all concerned and working to put a smile on those underprivileged, isn’t it? Considering the children in orphanages, we volunteer to see them happy, we teach to help them get good grades, and for that period of time we sacrifice all other needs of ours and just concentrate on the cause. It is very kind of us to be doing that. When you zoom out and have a bird’s eye view of the whole situation, you see that you are doing good work; driven by good intentions and motivated to bring a change in the way we live. Ok, that’s a Check. We are doing good to the society, exactly what we intended to do upfront. But, are we effective enough in doing what we are doing. We are volunteering for a cause. It clearly means, there is a problem. And by our actions the problem should get a solution. What is the point otherwise. Volunteering in an orphanage is just an example, it applies to all fields of volunteering. So the big question of the day that all of us volunteers should address is – Are our actions giving us the intended results?

If you look at it, we are all investing our resources and time thinking that good intentions will lead us to good results. Unless we don’t know what results do our actions produce we really are wasting time. Unless those results are measured and put in line with our vision or intentions we are wasting time. There are so many of us doing the same thing at different places. Some of us just volunteer on the ground, some of us get aligned to the objectives of any organization which will help them define and measure their actions to an extent, some of us do philanthropy without objective as most of us want to help. There are volunteers and people associated with voluntary organizations everywhere. Leave apart the global scenario, considering a small community we will get hundreds of such kind people coming together. It is clear that similar problems persists everywhere. One can easily define a common problem statement, just to put things into perspective.

Just to have our analysis clear going forward lets restrict our focus to communities. First task would be to define a community, may be based on geography (this can be discussed). And bring on the table all problems in that community for discussion and define it. And now bring all volunteers and various voluntary organizations to that place and discuss ways to target this problem. Now we have a directed approach. The efforts are concentrated and focused towards one common goal. Well, ego issues might be the one to counter. But what can be greater than the cause itself. This idea can be too idealistic. But coming together and sharing resources will be the change that would be required. What is the point in trying to re-invent the wheel.

The good intentions that we all carry will be put to test here. It’s a big challenge to develop harmony when we all unite for a cause. It’s a greater challenge to develop a synergy between all of us trying to re-invent the wheel of different sizes. The objectives are individual. The scope is limited to these objectives. And that is the biggest problem. The good news is, it has a solution. It is just the way we look at the problems in front of us which will eventually lead us to define our objectives. It is upto us to decide whether our only intention is to provide food for 10,000 people or reduce hunger by 5%. It is upto us to decide whether our main objective is to open 500 schools or improve literacy rate by 10 points. It is upto us to decide whether are we defining the objectives based on impact that our actions create or just based on some numbers that will not give an idea of how it is really contributing to the end result.

Just imagine the situation where all of those working for the education of the kids in orphanages are working towards one common goal – Improve literacy rate by 3 points in one year time. Wouldn’t this approach put lot of things into place? To teach English for one set of volunteers would be the need of the hour and others might think life skills would bring them on par with those who have a normal life, some might think science would be the thing that would fetch them a job easily later and so on and so forth. All these energies are diverted and spread. We are lost in our own objectives, without knowing the kind of impact it is doing. We can only understand and measure the impact of our individual actions only when we come together attacking a single problem. Similar energies should come together. There will be no conflict of interests. We are not business corporations to survive amidst competition. As competition does not exist in the first place. If there is a genuine voluntary organization, it is there because it is highly motivated by the cause. So coming together to improve literacy rate by 3 points should not be a problem, except that it is a big logistics challenge; unless we are still going behind details without having a look at the big picture. Exploiting technology will be of great help.

Its time we all come together. To attack the problem around us as one single force is the way forward and this is our standpoint!

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