A light bulb went on last year in our minds as we began to seriously consider the potential value in connecting the dots between the people within our partner programs—getting them together in one room for a day or two to share ideas and resources.
Thanks to GoPhilanthropic donor Barbara Burger, we were able put the idea into action this September in India by hosting a gathering of 7 grassroots programs devoted to educating and empowering marginalized women and children.  Over the course of 2 days, 22 leaders exchanged best practices and explored collective ideas on the most effective models for positive growth within their organizations. 

Open Space: An empowerment-based approach 
Using an innovative approach to facilitation called Open Space Technology (thank you to GoPhil partner Dr. John O’Connor – Ceres Management), attendees identified their own agenda topics and came away from discussions with tangible solutions to apply within their organizations.  

Attendees set their own agenda topics
Discussion topics included a range of challenges facing small NGOs in India such as how to deal with corrupt government officials, how to attract qualified social workers to work in slum communities, to managing sexuality in adolescents within small shelters for children. 

It was the first time that many of these leaders have had a chance to share experiences involving these sensitive issues and the Open Space workshop offered a safe place for them to exchange their concerns and come away with a variety of practical ideas to implement.
Experiencing first-hand the value that comes from bringing people together to learn from one another, GoPhilanthropic hopes to provide similar forums for programs in Southeast Asia and Africa.

Anuradha Bhosale who runs a women’s empowerment program in Pune connects with Lalitha who works against sex trafficking in New Delhi

GoPhil’s Lydia Dean, Tracey Morrell and partner John’O’Connor -Ceres Management (facilitator of Open Space)