The management found that since most of the NGO staff are from local regions, they get little to no exposure to the outside world and the growing technology available. This posed the challenge of a growing communication gap. The training was intended to educate them and bring them on-power with better presentation and language skills. This would help them better represent the NGO and thus, they posted this project.
Sankha understood from the E-module orientation that the volunteers needed to have a plan in order to move forward with the project successfully. He contacted Goutam and the project coordinator, Sajal to understand the project. Once this was clear, they established that they would have 12 sessions, for 2 hours every Saturday. The timings of their sessions were from 11 am to 1 pm.
The staff also came on board with their own set of expectations, and the volunteers wanted to understand what they were. Goutam created an Excel sheet with a few self-assessment questions. The members of the staff had to rate themselves on a scale of 1 - 10.
With a lucid picture of the work at hand, the volunteers began devising strategies that would benefit everyone involved. The volunteers had one-on-one sessions with each staff member to figure out why they wanted to enhance the particular skill they had mentioned in their assessment. This allowed them to scale down and modify their training content to the comfort level of the NGO’s staff. They came up with study modules and created about 10-12 PPTs on various topics based on the NGO’s requirements, which were shared with the NGO for their reference and learning.
The staff was known to be shy and not very outspoken, but the volunteer’s efforts paid off, and they began interacting. “We used to congratulate the ones who spoke a lot and the ones who didn't, we tried to understand their reasons.” Goutam recalled. Despite the training module being in English, The volunteers made sure to explain the subject in Bengali for the staff to be able to follow along easily.
A fun moment during the team’s journey was during one of the sessions. The volunteers found out that they had a Jatra performer in their midst. They gave him a dialogue to perform to and entertain the rest of the audience. This session brought out the hidden talents of all the staff members and prompted them to have personal conversations based on their interests with their fellow staff members.
The entire team bonded well and everyone involved had a great experience. There were a few external factors that hindered the project, such as electricity and network issues due to the NGO being in such a remote area. In spite of these problems, the volunteers managed to conduct the sessions on time. Sajal recalls, “The staff was eager for the sessions and our motives were clear and met. The people who were shy were now fighting for a chance to speak to the volunteers. This wouldn’t have been possible without the volunteer’s efforts and the technology to facilitate it during a global pandemic.”
For the volunteers, the transition from English to Bengali was what they realized was the need of the hour. Being able to keep an audience engaged via a virtual set-up was a challenge. They credit their internal coordination and work experience for being able to follow through with the project.