Need to Look at Education as a Concept Apart from the Confines of the Classroom – Sudarshan Suchi, CEO, Save the Children
GoBarefoot, a professional networking platform exclusively catering to the Development sector, by facilitating connections and exchange of ideas and information, has collaborated with Katalyst India and Third Sector Partners to present “Leadership Conversations in the Development Sector”, a series of insightful interviews conducted by Shital Kakkar Mehra, India’s leading executive presence coach and Founder at GoBarefoot. Featuring seasoned and reputed leaders from various verticals of the social sector, the series offers a peek behind the scenes and helps viewers find answers to the most pressing questions facing the sector.
Discussing the years 2020 and 2021, which caught everyone on the wrong foot, Sudarshan Suchi, CEO, Save the Children, mentioned how the organisation focused on maintaining connectivity between people’s minds, despite the mandate of social distancing. “Save the children figured out ways to reach out to the last-mile populace and, for this, we had to recalibrate all our reach-out models. Our colleagues were out in the streets, reaching out to the community through two stages. The first effort was towards reaching out, letting people know and staying connected, and the second effort was aimed at reimagining education away from the established model,” he said.
With few families having access to a fully smart phone and even fewer of the last-mile aware of accessing education online, Save The Children questioned themselves – “If kids cannot come to school, is there a way to take the school to the kids, while remaining within our constraints?” This resulted in the set-up of multi-activity centres catering to children through on-ground support from more technologically mobile parents, and access to refurbished spaces. In addition to giving children a safe space away from their four walls, these centres helped bridge the divide between technology and education, while also ensuring kids received their mid-day meal. The organisation also focused on mental health and helping children develop the life skills necessary to deal with unprecedented challenges.
Every stakeholder should learn to listen and listen to learn. The government can teach the social sector how to scale up and collaborate for rapid speed and holistic engagement, while the government can learn how to get down to the last mile and build relationships with the community. Both the sectors can imbibe cost optimisation, efficiency and timing of capital deployment, from the corporate sector, in addition to facilitating predictability around results and accountability. The combination of the three can lead to scale, with a system in process, and a personal touch, ensuring transformation.
Changes in Donor Profiles
It shouldn’t take a law for us to do things that are socially right. Those of us who stay in urban, privileged sectors think we are safe in our compounds, but we are only as strong as the weakest link. Ideally, donation should be a second-nature, rather than a favour and people should consider the country’s children like they consider their own children, avoiding a focus on results when investing in their future.
Advice on Failures
What is failure? You thought and promised something and it failed to happen. In retrospect, you have two choices – you never did anything or, learning from your failure, you assessed what more you can do and how differently you can do it. Everyone should celebrate failures and focus on learning outcomes, while rewarding people for their performance instead of discouraging them when they fail.
Read our previous conversation with Anshu Gupta, Founder Director, Goonj here.