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5 Reasons Why You Should Look Beyond The 9 To 5 Corporate Job

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Engineering, medical, ya phir (or) law? You might recognise this ‘holy trinity’ from all the casual career counselling you receive from your parents, distant relatives and all manners of well-wishers – around the time you sit for your first board examinations.

But maybe, you’re somebody who wants to go off the beaten path, and try to make a difference. And there’s loads of young people who want to do just that!

Last year, Forbes ran two stories about how, more than any other generation, millennials are interested in ‘social impact investing‘, and want to challenge the status quo. In India too, we’re seeing the rise of startup culture, where youths are finding new ways to create positive social changes. It’s no wonder then that many young people are drawn towards development management, wishing to be a part of driving change from the grassroots level.

The discipline is, however, still relatively young in India, and requires highly-skilled hands to take over the reigns in the social sector. So, if a career in development management is your cup of tea, here’s a few things to keep in mind before selecting an institution:

1. The Focus Is On People

When we hear the word ‘development’, we immediately think of economics. But it’s precisely this understanding of the word that leads us to exclude people.

Conventional business is about maximising returns to a few individuals or shareholders. However, there are hardly any existing theories on how development organisations should be managed. There needs to be focus on impacting more people by training them to create scalable and sustainable impact.

That is why it is imperative to select an institution that equips students to understand the dynamic world of development leadership and the challenges associated with the field. Opening its doors to students in July 2017, the Indian School of Development Management (ISDM) is one such unique institution which aims at preparing future generations of managers for the development sector.

2. Bridging Business And Social Work

Vidya Shah, CEO of EdelGive, a philanthropic organisation that’s partnering with ISDM, says that there is a deep gulf between students of social work and the people who actually profit. But, there needn’t be one. Development management, she says, “is really providing that balance for people who are truly interested in development, it can bring a leadership orientation to the work.”

While traditional business or management focusses on directing a fixed amount of resources towards achieving a certain goal, development management looks at social goals that lie ‘outside’ an organisation. The need of the hour is to develop a separate discipline for development management that meets the needs of the social sector and imparts this to students.

3. An Involved And Engaging Curriculum

Learning comes from being ‘on-ground’ and understanding the context you are working in. ISDM’s one-year-long postgraduate programme in Development Leadership has been designed to provide this.

The curriculum, which has been drawn up using the Australian Qualifications Framework, includes ‘engaging with practitioners, theoretical frameworks, hands-on field experience, collaborating with highly motivated peers, and being taught by some of the best professionals in the field’. What’s more – a student will also have access to a number of workshops on skill-building.

4. It’s All About Collaboration

Development management is necessarily collaborative. And having experts who know the field is extremely important. Says ISDM co-founder Suparna Diwakar, “With some of the most respected practitioners, researchers, academics from India and around the world coming together at ISDM, we will be doing pioneering work in developing the discipline of development management.”

Among these eminent figures are Harsh Mander of the Centre for Equity Studies, Arun Maira, former member of the Planning Commission and former chairman of the Boston Consulting Group , Sidharth Agarwal of Teach For All, and Prof. Shiva Kumar who teaches various courses at Harvard University and Indian School of Business. In addition to this, engaging actively with the alumni also contributes to the impact of this field – while also building a strong relationship between those leading by example and those who are on their way to do that.

5. A Strong Approach To Placements

A curriculum and learning environment that creates the leaders and managers of tomorrow is in itself a way of addressing the needs of the development sector. A strong approach to placements, however, will not only put students in good stead when they go out into the world – it will also provide them with the right kick-start to their careers, which they all desire.

For this purpose, students should look out for an institution that encourages regular interactions between students and development organisations that are potential employers. Besides, they should also look for a faculty which has stakeholders who can absorb new talent.

The Time Is Now!

According to Ashish Dhawan, one of the founders of ISDM, the conditions that have been created for development management are very encouraging indeed. Thanks to the capital coming in from foreign investments from corporate social responsibility and growing individual philanthropy, he says, “There is a ₹30,000 crore to ₹40,000 crore revenue pool to tap into, that will require a whole set of managerial capability.”

So, if your game-plan revolves around creating positive social changes and addressing some of the numerous issues affecting people in India today, then studying development management may well be the way to go!

To know more about courses in development management, head to the Indian School of Development Management’s website.

ISDM banner advertising for applications to the institution

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Image Source: Indian School of Development Management – ISDM/Facebook

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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