Understanding the need for disseminating knowledge to the social sector professionals on development communication during the pandemic, the Centre for Development Management and Communication (CDMC) at MICA, Ahmedabad recently conducted three virtual Masterclasses on ‘Development Communication, Design for Social Impact and CSR Partnerships’. 

The uniquely designed master class, conducted by Dr. Arbind Sinha, Prof Manisha Shelat, Prof Ruchi Tewari, and Sushama Oza from MICA included case studies, like the global campaign for girls ‘Girl Rising’, and two national-level initiatives ‘Suposhan’ and ‘Gyanodaya’ by Adani Foundation. The three days’ online class highlighted the hidden opportunities for the NGOs in the current business environment and helped the participants understand the challenges and mutual benefits of partnerships.

More than 200 professionals from organizations like International School for Jain Studies, Sri Sri Rural Development Programme, Sri Aurobindo Society, Hope Foundation, Centre for Catalyzing Change, UNICEF, TISS, Sanitization First India, WWF India, ConnectFor and many more attended the Masterclass jointly conducted with Impact Academy (by CSRBOX). 

Speaking about the same, MICA professor Ruchi Tewari said, “The NGO’s find it challenging to communicate with the corporate and other funders. There exists a mindset that corporates only like to see numbers and graphs while NGO are passionate entities who have lots of experiences which they believe corporates are not interested in. Hence, storytelling was provided as a means to bring listener engagement. The objective was to distinguish between tales and storytelling. The film Girl Rising has all the elements of a good story which is crafted with the objective to draw audience attention, building credibility and finally moving the listener towards action.” 

This training has been a response to a long resting need of designing effective training sessions for the NGOs. The lockdown came as an opportunity for the Centre to introduce digital learning to reach out to participants from different parts of the country and the world. 

After completion of three programs, Professor Manisha Pathak- Shelat, Chair, CDMC said, “The response from the participants has been quite heartwarming and it only shows us the future direction for CDMC, and how it can play a very important role in this sector. We are presently in the process of designing advanced level courses along with a six- month certification course in this area.” 

“We shared two programs designed, planned, and executed by Adani Foundation - Fortune Suposhan, that focuses on reducing occurrence of malnutrition & anemia and the second Gyanodaya, that focuses on improving quality education indicators. The idea to share live examples was to explain the participant's successful models, challenges to overcome, the importance of stakeholder engagement, and how it is important to partner with the right kind of organizations. We also discussed how CSR can accelerate the work that the government is doing and create a model where partners can join”, said Sushama Oza, Advisor, CDMC at MICA. 

Dr. Arbind Sinha, Advisor, CMDC concluded, “Although online training has its own limitations, we used it as an option to reach to the people who wanted to know more about creating an impact on the lives of the people especially in rural areas through CSR.” 

The hands-on sessions helped the participants build competency in communicating the essential qualities to the corporate as well as making these qualities a visible part of the NGO’s public image. 

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