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One year of CONNECT – up and running

Asin Sharma, CONNECT Coordinator

This year has been full-on. From writing reports till 8 pm, working on Saturdays and Sundays and making work plans on the plane to our field visits where we chose not to eat fish and dal-bhat because it would take too long: the CONNECT slow eatersJ  The big events we have done, the not so big events, the ginger lemon mint soda served during presentations, the International Women’s Day photo exhibition, and so on. And our occasional team “outings”, which in CONNECT language translates to working meetings. All good!

Learning by doing

The right phrase to describe CONNECT would be “learning by doing”. As a programme, we learnt that just socio-economic development was not sustainable, so we changed our approach from Aid to Trade. And, on-boarded partners who liked our ideas and learned how to keep them interested and invested! As young professionals, we learnt that under the right management and with the right opportunity, one can transform from the task of data crunching to project coordinating. And being development workers, we learnt that knapsacks are more efficient to travel with in the field than suitcases.

 

It takes courage to let go of the familiar and embrace the new

First of all, we have to change ourselves. We had to convince ourselves that what we were doing was true before we could pitch the idea to anyone else. Then we changed our team’s perception on how they should think and helped them adjust their lens. Having worked in the development sector for almost all their lives, this was a challenge, and it still is, from time to time. Then we had to constantly remind our partners that we are not like any other projects, nothing is for free, nothing is unnoticed. Then we had to continually prove to ourselves and people around us that we were actually right in our thinking.

All failure is failure to adapt; all success is successful adaptation

Being an adaptive programme, we adapt, modify our strategy, re-think, re-work, challenge the status-quo, design process, build on new findings, implement the impossible, fail, succeed, change ourselves, be exhausted along the way, rejuvenate, get stronger, simplify, persuade, progress, grow, brake to reassess, hold, observe, slow down, but always learn. Learn from ourselves, from international and national experts, our partners, beneficiaries, the CONNECT team. During the first year CONNECT has gone through extensive metamorphosis.

The trouble is, you think you have time

It is hard to believe that its already been one full year of CONNECT. One year, 12 months, 52 weeks,  365 days; let’s not get into hours. It only feels like a few months since we started the quest of finding our partners and writing the CONNECT proposal. We have done a lot, but so little when I think about how much needs to be done. Time flies, they said, and it certainly is true.