Apnalaya’s CEO Arun Kumar was part of a panel discussion on Community Engagement organised by SNEHA (Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action) on the ‘Dissemination of Urban Health Models for Scaling’ on 24th September 2019. The discussion focused broadly on the importance of community engagement and the ways to approach it.
Apnalaya believes that enabling a community to participate in its development is the best way to make a long-lasting difference in the lives of marginalised people.
With Arun Kumar, the panelists for the discussion were – Anuradha Rajan, Chief Executive – Mumbai Mobile Creches (MMC), Sushma Shende, Programme Director – SNEHA and 2 SNEHA volunteers – Sunita D’souza & Samrin Shaikh. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Nayreen Daruwalla, Programme Director, SNEHA.
“We ‘participate’ with the government and ‘engage’ with the community; it could’ve been the other way round too,” said Arun Kumar at the discussion.
“Do we ‘engage’ with a community to run a project successfully or to strengthen the civil society itself?” he asked. He also emphasised the fact that the result of community engagement for an NGO should be to make itself eventually redundant in that community.
Anuradha Rajan highlighted that constructive dialogue and sharing of resources and strategies between system and communities is a necessity to carry out change.
SNEHA volunteers shared their experience with community engagement during the discussion, on working with a challenging issue of gender-based violence .