Through the unbiased lens of a biased fellow

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After weeks of anticipation, back and forth communication and a flurry of expectations, the maiden #Tech4Good fellowship batch finally arrived in Bengaluru to set the wheels of the learning drive in motion. The eagerness to learn and the excitement to meet other committed fellows in person ( We did get a digital glimpse of each other in advance, courtesy of #Tech4Good team, they are simply splendid :)) were satiated during the course of the program. The following four days would entail an astute amalgamation of insightful sessions, immersive peer learning, creative and unwinding fun activities, all so in an atmosphere of comforting bonhomie that imbued the cohort.

The first day kicked-off pleasantly with genial smiles and curious glances exchanged during the amiable gathering at the program venue. The fellows finally got the chance to meet the #Tech4GoodFellows team who had been tirelessly coordinating the entire pre-program phase and ensured that we had a seamless run-up to the program and throughout it (Kudos guys, you entertained all our pestering queries and shenanigans, simply incredible). Any lingering anxieties were immediately quelled by the Appreciative Enquiry which enabled the fellows to learn about each other, which therefore served as the bedrock of friendships that were forged and are due to flourish. There was mellowing laughter and admiration as the fellows humorously yet sincerely introduced their partners to everyone. The exercise diffused warmth in the setting while making one feel privileged to be a part of a distinguished lot of people doing wonders in their respective spheres.

The founder of the #Tech4GoodFellows then addressed the fellows as he succinctly described the motivation behind conceptualizing the fellowship, the structure of the program and the expected outcomes and support available. The ensuing sessions were insightful and interactive as various cloud-based, user-friendly, and customizable technology solutions for various operations of non-profits were presented and effusively discussed. Beginning with GreytHR , a one stop solution for employee management, payroll, and internal communication was followed by an extensive session on Data Literacy, encompassing the five stages of being data literate, data interpretation and also allowing non-profits to assess their organization’s data literacy level on the Data Maturity Framework.

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The following days involved intriguing audience-friendly sessions on Good CSR by Samhita Foundation (a smart platform for Non-profits to access CSR funds and connect with donors ), Salesforce (A 360 degree CRM and program management platform, check out the Salesforce Non-profit Success Pack), Tableau (Data Visualization), Commcare Solutions – Dimagi (focused on creating mobile applications for data collection and analysis for front-line community workers).

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The fellows then got an opportunity to attend a one-day full-fledged program by various divisions of Google India team at the Google office. The Google team walked us through some thoughtfully selected technology solutions designed and proposed by Google for Non-profits ranging from Youtube Impact Labs, Open Data Kit (ODK), to the nuances of G4NP (Google for Non-profits) initiative.

What made the sessions even more interesting was that they were eclectically interspersed with engaging and fun group activities which further allowed us fellows to bond and learn about each other’s stories and idiosyncrasies (We could be seen indulging in light-hearted frivolity ever after :D). The activities had us perform entertaining (or perhaps hilarious :D) skits depicting the various facets of being the ‘IT Guy’ in non-profits. We further had the creative juices flowing as we conceptualized and created our own #Tech4Good Superheroes and unveiled them to the world (From Wonder Woman to Bahubali, they all pale against our Tech Saviours). We were even left scrambling around the Google campus, digging for dinosaurs (Yeah, you read that right). We revelled in each other’s company, celebrating birthdays, sharing goofy anecdotes, and binding over musical renditions, all for one, one for all.

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The unveiling of the Tech Supeheroes

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When we all Google’d it

Cometh the final day: The ultimate day of the program was laced with two vital sessions. Beginning with Branding and Communications where Arpita Bhawal [Head- Marketing, Branding & Alliances, ET Marlabs] elucidated the importance of effective and personalized communications and brand identity in the context of non-profits. It was swiftly followed by a real-time simulation exercise on Change Management by Swapneel R,(Technology Manager at Dasra & Teach for India fellow) who gave the fellows a peek into the inherent human challenges they would most likely encounter while proposing a change in the systemic paradigm at their respective organizations. There was palpable enthusiasm and alacrity amongst the fellows as they went about the stimulating exercise.

Well, and this was it, the sessions had all come to an actionable end ( which certainly seems achievable due to the promised incessant support from #Tech4GoodFellows in the next three months and thereafter). The laptop screens were reluctantly closed and put to sleep for one final time. The fellows eagerly looked across the room to ensure they didn’t miss their goodbyes with the ones who were leaving immediately (courtesy of the horror induced by the infamous Bangalore traffic, you simply never have enough time to reach the destination). Amidst this quite fittingly though, the exquisite experience was embellished by a soulful musical performance by one of the fellows; Jankiraman who sang a melody for the soul and caused harmony of hearts, leaving us all feeling a part of the same social fabric woven into an intricate weave of change.
Gratitude to #Tech4GoodFellows , Godspeed to fellows!

Till we meet again :)

Image Credit: Pixabay.com