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NSA discourse explores community partnership in projects

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By EMN Updated: Oct 21, 2019 10:43 pm
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Speakers at the discourse organised by the NSA on topics concerning sustainable community development, on October 19 at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Dimapur, Oct. 21 (EMN): The Naga Scholars’ Association (NSA) conducted a discourse on topics concerning sustainable community development encompassing the concept of ‘giving back to communities, on October 19 at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.
The underlining theme of the event was discussions about how the success of a project depends on the enthusiasm of the community and their participation. The discussions also talked about participation of the beneficiary being inevitable and essential in such work.

The association issued a press release to the media on Monday informing about the event.
Prof. Murari Suvedi from the Michigan State University spoke at the event. Prof. PVK Sasidhar of the School of

Extension and Development Studies, IGNOU, presided over the lecture, the updates stated.
Dr. Zuchamo Yanthan, the president of the NSA, opened the session with an introduction to the theme by stressing on the relevance of giving back to the community.

In his discourse, Suvedi spoke about ‘action research work’ on community development in a mountain community in Nepal. He illustrated the participatory process followed by the identification of community needs, the updates stated.

He spoke about how development works were carried out with a strong engagement of the people in the community, the scholars informed.

Further, Suvedi articulated the “pluralistic approach” to timely delivery of services. “Although he lives in the USA, he sensed the disparity at his native village which put burden in his heart for which he decided to give back to his community,” the press release stated.

“In response to the appeal from the community, he undertook the challenge of organising six different developmental projects one after another. The projects were chosen based on urgency of the need, instrumental value to address higher level needs, and their indispensability towards the livelihood of the community.”

The press release stated that the projects included building an elementary school, providing clean drinking water supply, building high school and community education center, addressing the health needs of rural women, initiating off-season vegetable production for income generation, and promoting environmental and climate-change friendly agriculture.

The underlining theme of the talk was about how the success of a project depends to a large extent on how one can generate enthusiasm and ensure community participation.

“The idea of partnership should not be only limited to funding agency, as the local ownership is critical to sustainability. For instance, the role and participation of local women as one of stakeholders cannot be ignored and has to be accounted,” the NSA stated.

Some of the fundamental principles of sustainable community development he derived from his work that we often overlooked includes the following points: Farmers are not used to cooperative marketing since managing cooperative requires social and cultural change.

However, local farmers can be empowered to manage improved production as well as marketing of farm products. The idea of development involves change and one of the key elements of sustainable change is to detect community’s readiness for change. Particularly, people respond better when we address their felt needs and they are open to learning and change if their expressed needs are addressed.

“So, a grassroots worker of any developmental project must center her/his efforts around the felt needs or more accurately the expressed felt needs. Participation of the beneficiary is inevitable and collaboration with the development partners is essential,” the updates stated.

“Capacity building requires teamwork and takes time. Local capacity building work should be pursued by respecting the local culture.”

Overall, the essence of Suvedi’s presentation was based on the fundamental question of asking “what we owe to each other and how we can give back to our own communities especially the least advantaged, through effective community participation for sustainable development,” the NSA explained.

The idea, the NSA stated, was extended by chairperson Prof. PVK Sasidhar, who challenged the audience as to “whether we can help and pay back to our communities through the principle of engagement and participation to address issues of health and sanitation, education, agriculture and clean drinking water that especially caters to the needs of our children and women.”

The special talk was followed by discussions, questions and answers session, the organisers informed.

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By EMN Updated: Oct 21, 2019 10:43:34 pm