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Building Resilience among Marginalized Communities: CAC’s Social Protection Efforts through SHILP and ISRA

“The needs of the marginalized communities we work with keep changing and as a leader of an organization that works directly with them, it is crucial for me and my team to stay connected and informed about what they need,” says Jeevan, Advisor of Institute of Social Responsibility and Accountability, a Delhi-based organization that is part of SHILP, Community Action Collab’s (CAC) initiative to build resilience among the leaders of Community Organizations (COs). “After participating in a two-day workshop conducted by SHILP in Delhi, I have come to understand that the best way to learn about the needs of the community is by staying connected and engaged with them. To facilitate this, I have decided to increase the frequency of visits the team makes to the field,” he added. 

These workshops have provided community leaders with a platform to network, learn, and take advantage of opportunities from their peers, resource agencies, policymakers, and investors. As a result, they are able to serve their members more effectively and advocate for change. ISRA has greatly benefited from the workshops conducted by SHILP.

ISRA has its presence in 15 states, spanning across 52 districts and it works towards promoting social protection and accountability in the society. The organization strives to provide support to the most vulnerable sections of the society, including women, children, and marginalized communities. Under social protection, they ensure that the communities they work with are aware of the several schemes launched by the government and that the community members avail the benefits which are meant for them. 

Since January 2022, ISRA has been associated with SHILP. The initiative has helped ISRA in undergoing an extensive baseline exercise, which has enabled the organization to make a concrete plan for its future. The plan includes the organization’s vision, goals, and a roadmap to achieve those goals. The document has become a guiding principle for ISRA and is regularly monitored to assess the organization’s progress.

“The workshop provided an essential learning experience for ISRA,” says Jeevan. “We learned that the needs of the communities they work with are constantly evolving, and it is crucial to adapt and upgrade their approach to cater to their changing demands. Apart from understanding the role of leaders and making the organization more sustainable, it is essential to have a deeper understanding of the community. This learning has helped ISRA to make more informed decisions while designing and implementing our programs,” he added. 

Sunita Saha, President of ISRA shared that after attending the workshop, she learned about effective leadership and importance of team dynamics. “When I return, I plan to share this knowledge with other leaders to help them improve their ability to get work done as a team,” she added. 

With the support of SHILP and Community Action Collab, ISRA is now better equipped to address the evolving needs of the communities they serve and create a more equitable society.

Through SHILP, CAC is building resilience among the leaders of grassroots organizations like ISRA. It recognizes that community leaders are the agents of change and aims to provide them with the necessary tools and resources to make a lasting impact. SHILP focuses on building leadership skills, fostering collaboration, and creating sustainable organizations that can effectively address the social and economic challenges faced by marginalized communities.