Scotland/Norway: November course

Manavodaya UK’s course in Scotland, scheduled for September, has been switched to Norway in November!

Our colleagues in Norway are organising this course and Varun Vidyarthi, from Manavodaya India, has just told them he is able to be there. This creates an opportunity for people from the UK to work with Varun and people in Norway. So we have decided to join forces.

The content of the course remains more or less the same – exploring how professionals can help to create genuine, sustainable social change.

The seminar will take place in Lillehammer, Norway, 15 – 18  November, 2012. The title is: Promoting human dignity in social work and community care – experiences and challenges.

The cost of the course is only £180 (227 euros) so that participants can buy their airfares.

Accommodation is in traditional Norwegian cabins with fire and sauna. There will be chances to go skiing, sledding and walking.

Read the full programme and get the application form below.

Continue reading Scotland/Norway: November course

Development from within: September course

Effective leadership and personal action – a sustainable approach to Self-Directed Support

Residential retreat: 19 – 22 September 2012
Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery, Lockerbie, Scotland

This course is important for everyone who wants to play a part in creating sustainable social change – for example, community workers, social workers, health workers and, particularly at present, all those involved in implementing self-directed support in Scotland.

Participants in two previous courses considered the experience to be challenging, important and different to anything else they’d done. One said: ‘The course was genuinely inspiring. It challenged me to start with myself and change my behaviour in order to do my job differently.’ Another said it was the best course they’d ever attended.

Click here to download the flyer..

International course in India 2013

Manavodaya India provisional course dates

10-23 February 2013

A two-week programme titled ‘People Based Development – Concept and Practice’ for participants from abroad, is a unique experience in participatory development in India. It combines inputs in classroom with field visits involving direct interaction with villagers. A number of UK colleagues are already signed up for the course.

The programme is based on the following lessons learned at Manavodaya:

  • Participatory development is a process that builds on people’s own capacity and resources and it can be initiated by outsiders.
  • The process of  participatory development is feasible even among the very poor and illiterate.
  • A successful participatory development process requires a clear vision, strategy and suitable values among facilitators of the process.
  • The process can be adopted among groups of marginalised or disabled people too.
  • Participants from earlier programmes have used the method among refugees in Norway as well as people with learning disabilities in the UK.

If you want to know more about Manavodaya’s work then you can visit the following websites.

Tyneside discussion coming up

Martin Donkin writes:

An Invitation to a series of discussions

A few of us met recently to take forward our discussion about how the ideas of Manavodaya could work on Tyneside.

Manavodaya in India is a movement based on both social justice and an emphasis on combining this with inner development and how 8 steps of action provide a foundation for individual and collective development.

 The Eight Steps are:

•    taking time for inner development
•    being part of collective reflection
•    sharing time by committing some of our time to a good cause or project
•    sharing money – giving a proportion of our earning to make a difference
•    buy local produce whenever possible so that we support local economies
•    working on our faults
•    controlling our speech to limit harm
•    Taking an equal share in domestic tasks and chores.

In addition to working towards these personal commitments we were all interested in how we could take part in social justice work or strengthen good work that is already going on. Click below for more detail and to see some of the ideas that came up. Continue reading Tyneside discussion coming up

Development from Within in 60 minutes?

Erna Majormoen describes her attempt to familiarise a student group with Manavodaya’s approach in just one hour:

I attended the course run by Manavodaya UK in 2011. I wanted to present something of what I discovered to students who were graduating with a master’s degree in Health Promotion and Community Care at Lillehammer University. I presented this as an examination task with my colleagues Bjørg Stenersen and Anette Raasok.

Introduction: (15 – 20 minutes) First we showed a presentation given by Carl Poll (Time 13 min). The students found this informative. Everyone got a copy of the Eight Steps in Action.

Practical exercises (35 minutes)
Exercise 1: Calm down (2 minutes) Bjorg conducted a session with relaxing breathing exercises. Everyone appreciated this exercise.

Exercise 2: Self-Reflection (5 minutes) We asked everyone to reflect on ‘What have you learned this semester and how do you evaluate your own efforts.’ The students thought this exercise was good.

Exercise 3: Group-reflection (25 minutes) We asked the participants to reflect on ‘What have you learned this year and how can you use this in your work as health promoters?’ All was quiet for a while. But then nearly all came along with their reflections, one by one. Some found the reflection group tedious. They thought that the method was unusual and demanding.

Summary: (2 minutes) Anne Bregnballe, who had attended the course in Scotland, said she was able to recapture the feeling experienced at the Scottish course. However, several students stated that they struggled to find peace and concentrate. Our conclusion was that one hour gave a tiny taste but the message and the method of Development from Within requires more time for participants to become accustomed to this very different way of working.

Erna H. Majormoen.

Course planned in partnership with Norway

In 2011, we held a successful course at Samye Ling in Scotland. Three participants came from Norway. They have had a long association with Manavodaya in India and are organising a course in Norway in October.

Manavodaya UK will support our Norwegian friends to arrange the course. We hope that Varun Vidyarthi will be present.

We will publish further details as soon as possible..

Tyneside meeting

Martin Donkin writes:

Thirteen people met on Tyneside on 11 February to consider the ideas and practice of Manavodaya. We began the day with yoga and meditation. We heard Pete Richmond and Doreen Kelly talk about the work of Manavodaya in rural India – helping villagers to set up self-help groups. Pete and Doreen described how Manavodaya International UK was trying to financially support this work in India and explore connections with and relevance to practice in the UK.

The discussion focused on three areas where there might be relevance to the UK.

  1. Inner developement – some participants already practiced some reflective techniques or gave carefull consideration to their behaviour and its impact upon people they were trying to support.
  2. Professional work – facilitators of work who support dispossessed or marginalised people often work flat out to keep their organisation going. There seems little time for reflection about how our values are reflected in our behaviour. Self-reflection will benefit our work and sense of fulfillment.
  3. Equality work – the group considered Manavodaya’s ‘outer development’ or equality work related to the UK. There were many good ideas for collective action: joining a local community  action group, environmental work, supporting the Hardest Hit campaign. The group was united by common values around social justice but wondered what would be the group’s common purpose. The Eight Steps in Action were thought to be a useful structure for future discussion while thinking further about how social justice practice could develop.

Some of the discussion was about the universality of the Eight Steps and how there were similar useful frameworks. Many of the group wanted to think more about them and meet again. Others unable to attend on the day can join the discussion then.


Local collective reflection group

Some of us from the Manavodaya UK network who live in Newcastle and Scotland got together on Tuesday night, 8 November. We wanted to talk about what practical steps we could take to build on the work we did in the Manavodaya retreat, Sustainable Social Development.

We decided that, in Newcastle in February, we would have a Tyneside day-long meeting with the aim of building a Tyneside collective reflection group. The group will explore the Eight Steps and the relevance to our lives. We also wanted to consider what outer development (social justice work) we  could agree to work on together.

Nick Ball and Martin Donkin will help organise this with support from the members in Scotland. This approach of trying to initiate local  collective relection groups might interest other Manavodaya members. (Martin Donkin).

Keeping it alive

I attended the Manovodaya programme – Sustainable Social Development – in October. I came away refreshed and invigorated, convinced that a slower pace would help me be more effective. I was  inspired by the wonderful group of people leading and participating in the programme. It was a privilege to share it with them.

Afterwards, I felt I was a better person to be around – more attentive. I think I can listen to my family, friends and colleagues at a deeper level and reflect on ways I can contribute. The challenge has been to keep that going, apply it to social change and keep connected to purpose when surrounded by so many distractions and diversions.

The Eight Steps in Action have been a helpful reference point – a good gauge of how I am doing. I now have Varun’s book and I am looking forward to understanding more.

I shared what I learned with my team at work. Some seemed to get it almost as common sense, others rejected it as just not their thing. But I think what is useful for everyone in the team is slowing things down and creating a more relaxed place to work.

It was also good to meet up with Doreen, Nick, Martin and Pete in Newcastle last week to share some collective reflection time and ideas. I hope to keep in touch with people who participated in the programme, to keep it alive for myself and see what develops. Good luck to all and see you again, Rebecca..