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Strengthening Community Resilience: The SHILP Approach through Sutradhaars

“During the course of 11 months in the capacity of a Sutradhaar, I worked with organizations that had never developed a work plan, and the exercise of building work plans from the scratch has been a valuable learning experience for me,” said Smriti Vaid, who plays a key role as a Sutradhaar under SHILP – an initiative by Community Action Collab (CAC). Through SHILP, CAC aims to build the resilience of the leaders of Community Organisations (COs) who work with vulnerable communities.

Under SHILP, a Sutradhaar is an individual who extends support to the community organizations and community members and provides them with individualized and customized support in the form of guidance and effective communication. The profile of the Sutradhaar was floated within the Catalyst Group, inviting emerging leaders who wished to not only contribute to the resilience-building process of these organizations but who were also keen to develop themselves as leaders through this immersive experience over a period of 18 months. They are also based in geographical proximity to these organizations and can speak their language. Many Sutradhaars were onboarded when SHILP was launched last year with each Sutradhaar being in charge of either one or two organizations and in some cases even four, depending upon interest, and commitment.

Smriti is currently a Sutradhaar to four organizations – Young Drukpa Association (YDA) Ladakh, Live to Love Foundation, Ladkah, Sanjeevani Kalyan Samiti and Institute of Social Responsibility and Accountability (ISRA). “My role as a Sutrtadhaar involved assessing the health of these organizations on different aspects, such as financial, governance and strategy, leadership etc. I started by interacting with these organizations, then conducted a baseline analysis to understand the core principles of building and strengthening these organizations. The focus was also on developing actionable plans and strategies”, shared Smriti.

“The knowledge I have gained by being part of SHILP has contributed to the development of my skills as well. My leadership abilities have been enhanced through this experience, and I have gained valuable insights that I implement at the work I do”, she added.

Sanjeev Pujar, who is a Community Wellness Manager at Swasti is a Sutradhaar to Live to Love Foundation, Ladakh. “After joining SHILP, I had the opportunity to work very closely with the organization in building their business plan and it has helped me build my capacities in terms of institutional building”, he shared.

“What I have learned as a Sutradhaar after joining SHILP is that the community organizations are prepared to take their operations to the next level now as they have made tremendous progress by attending the workshops and sessions designed for them”, shared Narayana Gowda, who is a Community Wellness Manager at Swasti and a Sutradhaar at SHILP.

The diverse skill set and experiences of these Sutradhaars are enabling organizations to become more adaptive and effective in serving their communities. By leveraging the expertise of these Sutradhaars, Community Action Collab is fostering resilience among organizations through initiatives like SHILP.