Over the period of time, Lokmitra has grown in size and volume. The interventions to cater the educational needs of the unprivileged communities always demands effectiveness largely depends upon innovations, flexibility and responsiveness. Environment context that are undergoing rapid changes demands appropriate adjustment within organization to realize its mission and long-term goals. Such changes have led to initiate an Organizational Development (OD) process with the support of ‘Rupantaran’ a unit of SRTT in 2010. While going through the OD process, an insight to build and institutionalize organizational learning capacity has gained momentum. The interventions to foster capacities for organizational learning by creating a system to collect, record, analyze and communicate information from field level for on an on-going basis for decision making and feeding it back to the field. It requires human resources capable of generating and analyzing information and translating it into action. The learning group/ team constituted from the field staff has been initiated to foster learning, aimed at building their capacities for critical reflection and analysis of their own experiences and drawing lessons from the same.
The process of learning by doing is one of the innovative ways being adopted by Lokmitra to pursue its capacity to develop critical thinking, enhance facilitation skills; document, synthesize and articulate its own learning in the course of its on-going activities. In this process series of one day weekly review and planning meetings have been organized. The purpose of these meeting ranged from building critical thinking and nurturing collective learning to enhancing skills on facilitation and leadership among field staff. These innovations are seen in terms of process and methodologies adopted to enhance the capacity of field staff for unleashing their potential to strengthen organizational capacity.
There are about eight learning groups constituted amongst the field staff at block level have been included for the review. The process of learning group meeting has been divided into three sub-components. For this process, each member of a group observes the actual field actions (facilitation of SMCs and parent’s committee; teaching demo in school etc) of another member on rotational basis and prepares a brief report for critical reflection and learning in the weekly review meeting.
The participatory methods of group functioning where everybody has opportunity to express their views, ideas and experiences during weekly review and planning meeting has enabled the block Dih group and its leadership to become functional and effective. The process of learning by doing through home visits, engaging in community based monitoring and group facilitation; observation, information collection and reporting; critical reflection and analysis; giving and seeking feedback and generating new learning and executing them into action which has generated immense interest to realize the potential of themselves.
The mock session undertaken on specific tasks and activities in the meeting to ensure its effective implementation in the field has enhanced the confidence of the most of the group members.
The learning groups in its weekly review and planning meeting generally focus on three broader agendas: i) Critical reflection and analysis on thematic/field observation(s); ii) mock session for effective implementation of activity; and iii) plan of action for next week/ month.
The process of learning in group has offered an opportunity for field staff to analyze problems and offer solutions based on their understanding of the local situations. It has generated immense interest amongst group members and now they have been realizing the potential of themselves. Despite the fact most of them have been working in this organization for couple of years and received number of trainings and exposures, they had not achieved as much as they have achieved in less than a year by virtue of being engagement in learning group process. This has generated immense interest for more knowledge and skills for which they have emphasized to have more demonstration on teaching language, mathematics, facilitate SMCs etc as they feel it help them learn faster.