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Building People

Human Resource Development Unit

SeSTA’s Human Resource Development Unit was set up with the core agenda of ensuring that young and educated people with empathy and the urge to effect positive changes in the lives of others are recruited, nurtured and placed in grassroots projects. SeSTA owes its genesis to a strong belief– that caring and capable people rather than material resources are crucial to accelerate the process of social development in our country.

SeSTA’s internal HRD processes and programmes are being developed gradually and systematically. The initial focus has been on recruitment, induction, and training of new entrants. Slowly it will also focus on the task of developing mechanisms to systematically build competencies among professional staff.

Going by present trends, even by 2030, at least 60 per cent of the population in India is likely to continue to live in rural settings (UN, 2007). However, currently, there is little societal focus on the issues faced by rural people; rural areas continue to be seen as both transient and ‘backward’.

After 67 years of independence, there remains a huge deficit in the availability of quality human resources to work in the villages, along with communities. This requires a new thinking about development. To bridge this gap, SeSTA is starting the Executive Traineeship Programme (ETP) from next year to groom Executive Trainees, recruited through a systematic process from various institutions, into development professionals. This would offer to the development sector of the NE regions a cohort of trained professionals every year. The idea driving this Programme is that a new set of professionals trained in rural development/transformational skills will fulfil the bottom-up version of the Indian developmental dream. There is no such programme in the development sector of North East India that meets this need. It is envisaged to groom 10 such professionals each year.

HR unit envisages building a system and processes to a build a conducive organisational culture and climate. The HR unit will also be equipped to organise continuous training programmes to focus on developing/ enhancing human, technical and conceptual capabilities required by each role in the four broad arenas of work, viz. Personal application and growth, grassroots transformation, organization roles, and building strategic alliances. These in-house Programmes are being designed to harness the potential of each employee of the organisation. Processes will be initiated to sustain the spirit of centrality of individual. A systematic review system is also being developed to give regular feedback to employees and enable to constantly learn. Efforts are also being made to build skills related to Communication, working in groups and leadership. A strong Gender Equality policy is being developed for the organisation to be fair to both female and male employees.

Grooming Community based cadre
One major component of the grassroots engagement approach adopted by SeSTA is to groom a community based cadre for the movement of the community toward a better future. They are not an extended arm of the SeSTA team, but are actually a pool of competent persons from the community itself. They are accountable to and paid for by the community. They are in turn monitored by and nested in the community institutions like SHGs, Clusters/Village Organisations (VOs) and Federations. SeSTA focuses on grooming women as community cadre. Through various training programmes, SeSTA enhances the capabilities of this cadre and equips them with various skills.

There are two categories of support interventions required to help a community move toward a desired future. The first set is around delivery of goods and services (like logistics and inputs for Agriculture interventions) on an ongoing manner to help the community translate its plans into reality. The second set of interventions is around arousing the need for change in the community and helping them envision and look for possibilities beyond the current. As for the first set, SeSTA groom persons from the local areas who could play the role of reliably providing goods and services required by the community. They are termed as Community Service Providers (CSPS). For the other set of interventions, SeSTA trains people and term them as Community Resource Persons whose primary focus is to stimulate a need for change in the community like triggering the formation of Self Help Groups (SHGs). Nowadays most of the women SHGs are being formed by women CRPs who have been trained through rigorous classroom and on field trainings. Currently, SeSTA has groomed 42 CRPs and 20 CSPs out of which most of them are women, who have been providing various supports to the community. They are highly skilled and motivated people who are really the agents of change in the field.

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