The Hunger Project brings together elected women in India into what they call “Federations” which are designated based on their geographic areas. Over the years The Hunger Project has learned that the power of many voices is more effective than the power of one voice in making and creating the kind of social changes that are required in India. As a result the concept of the Federation was designed to bring together women from different panchayats (villages) into a larger group or Block, to compound the voice for change in the area.
In order to effectively harness the power of the women, The Hunger Project’s partners and trainers have developed unique ways of teaching the women on how to best work together through a number of different methods – but most importantly with play. In a society where women are often not allowed to “play” – the use of games makes the lessons more memorable and more enjoyable for the women. Also, it makes the women more willing to participate in the learning. The women are trained on how to come together, how to choose the right leader for the task and how to support that leader to achieve the desired outcome.
Collaboration at its heart must have integrity – meaning the people involved are more concerned with the greater good than the individual glory. Nowhere is this more visible than in the work that the Federations are doing in their villages where issues of a woman’s dignity, empowerment and equality are being addressed. If an elected woman was to only concentrate on her self interest her ability to effect social change would be negligible – which is why each and every woman that we have met in the past two years puts her village first and her self last.
Collaboration is a buzz word for business but seeing the collaboration that the Federations utilise makes you question whether people in business are truly collaborating or whether they are just playing the game. And if we did focus on the greater good – how much more successful could we be?