No doubt seeds, fertilizers, sunlight, water and equitable market are critical aspects of farming, however can we discount the importance of the farm land and soil preparation – the fundamental prerequisites that will facilitate and empower the germination of seed and uphold its deep rooting to outgrow the surface? Even an experienced and sensible gardener, let alone the seasoned farmer, understands the significance of making a fertile and productive soil before bowing any seed for the production of flowers, fruits, grains or vegetable. With this, it goes without saying that the major focus of any kind of cultivation activity should be the surface preparation (creating the condition for development) in every initiation phase of each process cycle, hence the name culture!
What is true in the area of first and foremost ‘natural’ industry human mind conceived and propagated (literally), Agriculture and farming, is truer for the social development sector for not only the stark similarities like extensive impact and vary linkage to existence between the two but even for the paradox of exploitation of prior providing the purpose of being and expansion for the later. Barring the vis-à-vis comparison of these two, one thing that holds true for both, right from the day the first seed germinated from the earth till the last ray of Sun that will meet the surface of soil, is ‘Culture’ that is going to play the role of not just Friend-Philosopher-Guide but even the Mainstay-Structure-Facilitator in development of both.
Voluntary Organizations, popularly known as NGOs, and all their siblings with various names and constitutions but a single objective of ‘common good’ could be the instruments of social development and there is no denying of their passion and commitment towards their cause; however a blunt saw cannot cut as deep as a sharpened one, remains the fact. In his book ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, Stephen Covey puts the 7th i.e. last but not the least habit as ‘Sharpen the saw!’ A wood-cutters story who was toiling and sweating for cutting the tree as he ignored the advice of taking a break and sharpening his saw on the grounds that he was too busy and couldn’t waste time… in sharpening the saw, might seem to be a cliché but it is not. It’s not a secret anymore that the defense strategists invest major part of their time to ‘plan’ the battle so that their troops have to spend little time in ‘action’. That’s why the war rooms have more brainstorming than movements in the field.
All said and done, let me take you to the point… Capacity Building, my favorite subject as far as my interest and passion is considered. I have written earlier about the 5% cap on Administrative and Capacity Building expenses, generally (or sarcastically?) known as ‘overheads’, of the CSR Budget and there was some positive amendment in this limit, it is learnt. Nevertheless, whatever limit of the CSR budget is allocated for Capacity Building, it still remains a challenge to ‘invest’ it in proper tools and instruments for desirable ROI and not just ‘spend’ it for the sake of spending, just like many companies are reported to do with their CSR budget. Such type of spending for the sake of compliance is not going to help any element of the society, neither the target group nor the sponsor, let alone the society.
Many small, medium and even some of the big companies that became eligible for the CSR Compliance having a CSR budget in the range of few Lakhs to a Crore could not afford (and also are not advised) to develop their own ‘Training and Development’ wing internally for their Capacity Building with an inadequate budget. It is a different challenge altogether to arrange for the Professionally Acclaimed Trainers and proficient Subject Matter Experts from time to time.
Considering engaging the centers and institutions developed and maintained for the sole purpose of Capacity Building, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and international standard faculties, all in one place, could be a win-win situation for joining the forces towards synergy for Integrated Social Development. This will not only ensure the proper capacity building in a professional manner but would also imbibe a culture of development in the organization by way of interaction with able people including but not limited to Resource Person, Peers and others from around the globe.
Way to go…