11 Feb The Journey is beautifully challenging
Working in the Social-development sector is a beautiful ride amidst the chaos of a plethora of factors that affect the exquisite challenge of driving change in the diverse communities of India. Several factors contribute to the vibrant yet challenging nature of the sector.
First factor that adds flavour is that, it is a sector for almost anyone. Irrespective of holding a degree in social work, an alignment with the character of the organization and a good heart to uplift the people will make one eligible to work here. This makes the sector a culmination of diverse talents with different academic, professional, socio-economic and geographic backgrounds. Working along with people having varied intellectual and professional capabilities will open one to the possibilities of looking at multiple perspectives, collaborating successfully, communicating effectively, networking extensively, and developing solutions to address complex problems.
Second factor that enriches the experience is the complexity of the problems. Many challenges that face people and organization in the development sector are Multi-dimensional. A wide array of problems ranging from poverty to food-security with gender equality, human rights, pollution, etc. in between, are inter-linked and require solutions that not only address multiple-facets of a problem but also bring behavioural change in diverse communities. Communities must be empowered to take up their causes, participate in the solution design and become their own agents of change to tackle complex issues. Mobilizing communities and empowering them towards a cause is impacted by all the factors that impact the cause itself and hence make this in itself a complex issue. Finding solutions that matter to masses at large requires deliberate experimentation and continuous learning.
Third factor that enables employee development is the need for learning right skills. Either for a new entrant or someone who is making a transition to the social-development sector, re-learning skills like communication, people management, problem-solving, etc. becomes crucial. Interacting with people in villages, and convincing them to subscribe to a solution is not similar to working in environments where everyone holds a similar degree. Several problems like mal-nutrition, ill-health, over-population, etc. might seem to be a cause of lack of awareness but could actually be a result of cultural practices, stereotypes, income levels, etc. Providing solutions to such problems requires careful identification of the root cause, testing the best available options, monitoring their impact on other factors, monitoring the overall impact, revising the solutions till the desired impact is created. These problems are adaptable in nature and make the need to learn and re-learn skills at regular intervals a top priority.
Fourth factor that adds a variety is the nature of roles. Job roles can vary from field work (implementing solutions on ground) to Policy research & formulation. The organizations are looking for skilled people who can handle aspects like Partnerships, Consulting, Fundraising, Media & Communications, Knowledge management, etc. There is no dearth of opportunities. Based on the skills, knowledge and aspirations a person can find a rewarding career.
Fifth factor that makes a career more rewarding is the compound satisfaction. It offers a more rewarding career to those who do not consider financial success alone to be a measure of success. Addressing the most complex challenges, taking up the cause that matter, reaching the remotest parts of the world, dealing with a variety of people and making the world a better place to live are some aspects that make the satisfaction derived out of the work a compounded satisfaction that makes the experience more fulfilling.
It is no longer a sector that deals merely with activities that largely fall in line with charity. The diversity, complexity, travel, networking, learning, opportunities and satisfaction make the experience beautifully challenging.
Abhishek Reddy M
Dr Reddy’s Foundation