The Social Capital created by women SHGs and Panchayat bodies created a safety net for communities during the pandemic period: Mr. Amarjeet Sinha, Advisor to the PMO

Noida: Marking the completion of five years in its endeavour to create a cadre of professionals and a unique ecosystem for Development Management in the country, the Indian School of Development Management (ISDM) celebrated the annual flagship Development Management Day through a virtual event on Monday (February 01, 2021).

On this occasion, ISDM presented three research reports that provided insights on the contours of leadership and management practice towards re-imagining the new normal with Development Management and showcased ISDM’s efforts in working with esteemed partners to understand and engage with challenges posed by the COVID 19 pandemic. The institution released a report titled ‘Emerging Challenges in the post-COVID Context’ in collaboration with IIMPACT that works for the education of girls in socially marginalised and disempowered communities. The executive summary of the study is available at www.isdm.org.in.

The event was marked by the presence of eminent practitioners and thought leaders from the Indian social sector, ISDM’s alumni and students, as well as eminent faculty members from across the world. The video of the event can be accessed on ISDM’s social media channel – https://www.facebook.com/isdm.org.in/

Established in 2016, ISDM seeks to professionalise the leading and managing of Social Purpose Organisations (SPOs). The institution sees the development space as requiring professionals to draw on management disciplines that are unique and tailored to the context of Indian social sector for sustainable impacts at scale.

Delivering the Keynote address on the occasion, Mr. Amarjeet Sinha IAS (retd), Advisor to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), said, “When it comes to communities, the 70 million women and three million elected panchayat leaders of the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) have played a critical role in preventing COVID-19 and its consequences for rural society. Social Capital is the essence of Development Management.”

Reflecting on the journey of ISDM in the past five years, Mr. Ravi Sreedharan, Founder and Director of ISDM shared that it has a 200+ strong alumni network, several renowned practitioners in the field of Development Management as faculty and has received grants from leading philanthropic organisations. In addition, ISDM has also published several research reports and case studies in the year 2020 in its efforts to build a rich and agile Body of Knowledge to strengthen the Development Management ecosystem.

Highlighting the imminent need to focus on Development Management, Mr. Sinha shared that “Technology as a means when used effectively and efficiently together with local-level community information, innovation and social capital can help resolve developmental concerns (…). What comes out clearly is that the discipline of Development Management, especially in challenging times (as has been demonstrated by the role played by SHGs and the Panchayat Bodies) can create a safety net of a kind, even for communicable diseases and pandemic periods.”

Development Management Day was celebrated as the culmination of ISDM’s ‘Development Management Week’ that focused on the theme ‘Re-imagining the new normal with Development Management’. The theme was in keeping with the disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the crises that it could pose for the future.

Addressing the students, faculty, alumni and thought leaders on the occasion, Mr. Ravi Sreedharan, Founder and Director, ISDM said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically reversed the positive impact of civil society and the social sector over the past four decades by taking away livelihood and pushing millions back into poverty. It is imperative for us to think of innovative measures and approaches to ensure impact at scale. The need of the hour is leadership and management talent that has the knowledge, ability, attitude, and skills to lead social purpose organisations and create impact at scale in sustained ways. ISDM is even more committed to building the knowledge frameworks and a cadre of professional leaders and managers for the Sector Coordination Group.”

The institution also enabled a discussion on ‘ISDM’s COVID Response Framework for Villages’ with the Healing Fields Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to making health care affordable. Building on the framework for villages, the Healings Fields Foundation in partnership with Give India is already executing a pilot with 214 villages across 3 states of India in the past months. Data emerging from the pilot intervention establishes the relevance and immense potential for transformation that the framework holds for rural India. The framework proposed will help social impact organisations and governments adapt and respond to the ramifications of the COVID-19 crisis at various levels thus creating impactful and significant change based on evolving contexts.

ISDM took the opportunity to also announce the release of a study on Leadership for a Thriving Future undertaken in collaboration with Ashoka International and Societal Platform.

Congratulating all the stakeholders, Dr Pramath Sinha, noted educationist and Co-Founder of ISDM, said, “From a development management perspective, the context has changed completely. The problems that we all are trying to work on, instead of making progress, we have regressed in the last one year due to an unprecedented force in the form of COVID-19. The inequities that we have been trying to solve have become worse. It is a grave reality that needs to be accepted that whether it is the issues of health, gender, or education, the gap has widened…. SPO (Social Purpose Organisations) will require a lot of time, patience, grit, perseverance and a new kind of reaffirmation of the commitment.”

Dr. Shubhangi Sharma, Executive Director, IIMPACT, Ms. Irina Snissar, Program Design and Knowledge Director, ASPIRe – A joint initiative by Ashoka, Societal Platform and Nilekani Philanthropies, and Ms. Mukti Bosco, Healing Fields Foundation, also spoke on the occasion, presenting insights from their collaborative initiatives with ISDM.

The evening was closed by songs of resilience and hope presented by Ms. Charul Bharwada and Mr. Vinay Mahajan, co-founders of Loknaad.

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