NVTGroup have recently donated £750 to Manavodaya International UK as a way of aiding the start up process for this organisation.
The money was donated after ‘Partners for Inclusion’ Director Doreen Kelly was approached by NVT’s MD, Stephen Park Brown, to find out more about making a donation to support the charity. He was interested in how ‘Partners for Inclusion’ worked and the type of work they do.
‘Partners for Inclusion’ is an organisation that supports people with learning disabilities and mental ill health.
The new, UK-based organisation will foster in the UK a unique set of approaches to social care and social development which have been created by the Indian organisation, Manavodaya, during its 25 years. Manavodaya International Uk will work closely with its ‘sister organisation’ but will be a separate legally constituted body.
Manavodaya in India has developed two important ways of working that UK organisations can learn from.The first approach changes professional culture such that power is able to shift from the worker to the people supported by social care providers and local authorities in the UK. The importance of this shift is acknowledged in all current Government social and community policy (see, for example, Putting People First, which sets out the so-called ‘personalisation’ agenda).
The problem is, that while organisations such as social services departments may understand the theory, the actual shift to a different way of working is very difficult because organisations’ culture, assumptions and working practices dictate that, though the words change, things go on much as before. Manavodaya interrupts these habits by rethinking the contribution of the professional. Workers are challenged to move to a position of power sharing in their relationship with people who get support. This move to a more equal and enabling position is started by learning about a set of facilitation and leadership techniques such as self-reflection, group reflection, considering how one’s own approaches influence or affect others in their decision making etc.
Another important aspect of this approach which leads nicely with leadership, is creating a personal state of calm and thoughtfulness. Better outcomes and a more effective use of time are achieved if staff are able to adopt a more considered approach and escape the target-driven, fire-fighting style that dominates many organisations. There are very important implications for financial efficiency in this different way of working. The usefulness of this approach is not confined to social organisations.
The second approach which we can learn from is the creation of sustainable, self-managing groups of disempowered people. In India, Manavodaya has supported the creation of hundreds of such groups among very poor villagers living very far below the international poverty line. Groups are usually started with women who are in debt to moneylenders and who may be bonded labourers (effectively slaves to moneylenders).
The techniques used for establishing and maintaining such groups are directly applicable in the UK to groups of poor, disabled or isolated people. They are particularly useful in considering how to empower people with disabilities to develop their own lives and lifestyles and contribute to community life.
To find out more about the work of Partners for Inclusion and Manavodaya International UK click the links below!