For any change to be sustainable, participation of the community at all stages is necessary. In this regard, enhancing community leadership has always been a key component of any process that Praxis undertakes. As a step towards broadening our outreach over the years, we have initiated fellowship programmes that are focused on enhancing the leadership and research skills of those from marginalised communities, especially youth.
We believe that one size doesn’t fit all – all fellowship programmes conducted by Praxis are tailor-made and provide context-specific learning for each individual. We follow a participatory pedagogy where our fellows learn to delve deeper into the issues they are interested in, build on existing knowledge systems and develop their own trajectories of change.
Building Strong Social Development Organisations
Praxis was entrusted with the responsibility of strengthening individuals associated with a socially relevant cause towards further empowering them as “new age leaders” who can later take charge of the local development agendas. In the initial processes, 6 fellows were selected among the pool of individuals from Bihar. Under this programme, each individual has been granted a fellowship of 9 months and during this period they will be supported with professional inputs in envisioning their goals, strategies and all the necessary inputs that can help them to emerge as proactive organisations in the near future.
The initiative with these fellows follows structured activities and timely professional inputs are imparted to them towards honing their understanding, skills and helping them to acquire a better understanding of the landscape of the issues with which they are associated.
Community Research Fellows from Denotified and Nomadic Tribes
In a bid to bring to the fore more voices from the nomadic and denotified community, a fellowship programme in participatory research was initiated for youth from the community. The objective of the programme was to generate narratives about issues and challenges faced by these communities. Eight youth from the Nat (Bihar) and Bediya community (Madhya Pradesh) participated in a five-month course during which the fellows attended an initial workshop with sessions ranging from participatory research, gender, law, and basic video making. Following that, the participants utilised those skills and gathered data from their respective communities and other DNT & NT communities. Based on the data and their experiences in the field, the fellows developed ideas for four research papers and conducted interviews with community members and other relevant stakeholders based on their chosen topic. In the second batch of the fellowship, eight youth from the Bacchara and Bediya community (Madhya Pradesh), and Wadar community (Maharashtra) were trained in a similar research methodology.