Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Watching the sun set... again

It's the day we shut the blog down and declare the campaign season closed. It's a little bit like life's last moments are supposed to be, with images and voices and moments from the campaign flashing by--a happy moment that we managed to do something good and a sad moment because it also signals an ending. This year, it signals the end of this campaign cycle as well; as you know, we take a year off every three years just to reflect and replenish.

What a campaign it's been! Just 17 people extended our reach beyond our imagination, and reinforced our faith in each individual's capacity to make change. It's so easy to be cynical and say, "What difference can I make?" Too often, we go on to list the things we cannot do, but there are so many things we could do if we would stop focusing on what we cannot. New people brought new words, new ideas and new perspectives to enrich our own. And we think we may have enthused a few enough to take forward their engagement in other ways. Yes, I am gushing but to me, it seems like a minor miracle. Thank you, G.E.M.s!

This was also the year we finally managed to do a spotlight segment on gender violence as public health--a long-standing item on our campaign wishlist. The programmes we had as well as the resource we have created through this year's blog symposium are a source of great satisfaction.

None of this would have been possible without our generous donors, our partners, our resource people who made the time to be there, symposium contributors, participants and volunteers.

Read the 2014 Campaign report here.

But the person whose impress defines the campaign is the Campaign Coordinator, Swetha Shankar. This is Swetha's campaign, and that is how we will always speak of it. Swetha brought a great deal of domain knowledge to the campaign, having worked as a counselor and having written her thesis on sexual violence in conflict. To this unusual attribute, she brought a very centered presence, an understated way with people and great maturity. Her sharp mind, quick grasp, writing skills and most of all, willingness to write prolifically have been a huge asset for us this year. It has been a pleasure to have worked with her. Like I do every year, I close the campaign season ruing that we are unable to retain the talent that the campaign brings our way regularly.

I also want to acknowledge Santha Nallathambi's effort to learn on the job and provide the perfect back-up for the campaign. From organizing the printing of thousands of copies of handouts (and even bumper stickers this year) to preparing and delivering event-appropriate packages to hanging up banners and cleaning out venues, she has been tireless and undaunted by the newness of the campaign (and Prajnya) experience. Thank you, Santha!

Anupama Srinivasan and I have now worked on five campaigns together. I take for granted her domain knowledge, her attention to detail and her people skills. I do not take for granted her strong commitment to gender violence awareness work and to the Prajnya campaign. So I would like to acknowledge here her very, very large part in creating Prajnya's body of work in this area since 2008.

Shyamala Rajagopalan, as everyone notes, provides the tea and biscuits that fuel the campaign, and has until recently also provided the only office space we had. This year, the generosity of the Shree Ayurvedic Multispecialty Hospital has allowed us to have an additional meeting, operational and storage space--our new office. I would like to thank them too.

The sun sets on the 2014 and the 2014 campaign season. Tomorrow, it will rise in a new calendar year. But for us, a new campaign season will dawn only in September 2016. Until then, stay in touch with us on social networks and over email, and don't forget that you have the power to make a difference! Prajnya is only one of many platforms; you are the true agent of social transformation.

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