Monthly Archives: May 2015

Why Leadership and Teamwork Constitute a Big Part of Haiyya’s Fellowship

Haiyya Fellow while at door to door canvassion

Haiyya Fellow while at door to door canvassing

In today’s scenario, organizations prefer people who are go-getter and team-players, than the ones who are lone wolves. While working alone certainly has its benefits, it is left far behind in terms of developing a learning graph when it comes to more versatile members of a group. The idea of “one for all and all for one” is fast gaining practice in the sphere of organizational work structures where strategy and out-of-the-box thinking go hand in hand. Team-workers, therefore, often exhibit signs that not only create a significant ambit of creative approaches to a conventional problem, but also help to solve them easier and quicker. Haiyya’s focal point in formulating any program – Fellowship, Campaigns or Training is leadership and teamwork.

Haiyya works on a model that enables leadership of it’s Team members, Interns, Fellows or the community- and we call it Snow-flaking! When I first got acquainted with the Fellowship Manager at Haiyya, the snowflake structure was explained to me. Everyone has their own self-interest, skills, capacity and time – the idea is to capitalize on the uniqueness of each member in a team and work collectively towards accomplishing a common goal. A single Fellow or a group of Fellows can find their calling in anything, from starting their own campaigns, to working on existing ones, to working towards new goals. For example Fellows are working towards sanitation and cleanliness of a particular locality or towards public safety or for enrollment of children in schools etc.  So far Haiyya has a list of successful Campaigns running in different neighborhoods around, all thanks to the well trained Fellows who remain ever dedicated and devoted to the cause.

For those of us like me, who remain clueless about how to make a difference but want to do something about a lot of things, Haiyya Fellowship is a boon. Each Cohort of Fellows comes with their own bunch of unconventional thinkers and doers brimming with potential. Rigorous fieldwork, communication with the people around, skill-developing exercises, community organizing tools and practices – bring out the Fellows from their shells. The Fellowship teaches you the basics of planning and execution, two elements of paramount importance to a campaign. You learn to address and work with the common crowd in your local neighborhood and oftentimes address delicate issues with exemplary sensitivity – all attributes of a great leader. Learning at Haiyya is at the site and interactive – the Fellows graduate as individuals with distinguished and beautifully honed personalities.

Door knocks, community meetings called “people sabhas”, engaging with the local government authorities, an empathetic outlook towards people’s struggles or problems, inspiring other people to join your campaign and give them real roles and responsibilities; all are extremely vital components of the thorough leadership and team-building experiences the Fellows encounter. Together, the commitment and accountability of the Fellows remains with the task at hand. The members of a Cohort are driven by motivation and aspire to make a difference with whatever they take up.

As Louisa May Alcott said, “It takes two flints to make a fire,” the fire within a Haiyya Fellow to create change is based on a shared objective and purpose to bring tangible change as a group at the end of the Fellowship. At Haiyya, you don’t just learn campaigning and organizing; you become your campaign and convert your ideas into action. You become an Organizer- and we say, once an organizer, always an organizer.

Author’s Bio-

Soumya-Communicatiosn and documentation experts

Soumya Raj, Communication Strategist

Soumya closely observed people, their personal and collective struggle and get a chance to write, photograph and participate in them. This coupled with a commendable creative margin is a workplace paradise for her. A third year student of  English Hons at Indraprastha College of Women, University of Delhi, she is driven by story-telling and using it as a tool for change, She can be contacted at


Haiyya: Our Story in a Capsule

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Haiyya is inspired from an iconic youth workers cry, Zor lagaa ke..Haiyya! It is an audio effect to any forceful action we take, like beginning to play tug of war or row a boat, symbolising that societal change can only take place collectively but the voice and action of one leader is needed in order to spark the change.

Haiyya believes that community organizing can not only solve civic and social issues touching public lives, but even add to the wealthy repository of values and lessons to achieve a self sustainable means of existence. We are assembled by our supporters’ collective significance, we capitalise on each other’s strength and the most important resource we organise is time and resources. With an aim to strengthen participatory democracy in urban neighbourhoods in India, we engage with the community and steer its efforts to transform them from an aware and deliberative state of mind into a more constructively active, participative and organized citizenry.

Haiyya, founded in 2013 and led by Aprajita Pandey is based on the Marshall Ganz’s principles and framework of community organising which like many organisations globally, adapt and extend Marshall’s practiced work and ideas in a localised context. Dr. Ganz puts it rightly:

“Stories not only teach us how to act – they inspire us to act. Stories communicate our values through the language of the heart, our emotions. And it is what we feel –our hopes, our cares, our obligations – not simply what we know, that can inspire us with the courage to act.”

Pursuing the tools and techniques that Ganz has developed with great emphasis on the ‘Story of self, us and now’, Haiyya is developing its own story through inspiring the story of others in India. We are talking of ‘others’, who are willing to find that direction and accept responsibility to be leaders in their communities towards a common purpose.

As the regular urban citizen makes a ‘decent’ quality of life for themselves, we often find less to no time for paying attention towards the state of waste management, open drain, the failing public transport systems, to understand our locality’s elect or even attend a neighbour’s funeral! We are not to entirely take the blame when efforts made have been seen to fail and corruption is well soaked in a sponge of a community. For Haiyya, this itself becomes the reason to try out different methods and take that risk just once more in order to reaffirm the potential of people’s power.  At Haiyya, we are holding on to the age old concept of community organisation, though contextualizing it to suit the various urban settings we live in today, cognisant of their peculiar culture, composition and miscellaneous norms. Since a model that works in one place cannot be entirely duplicated at another, Haiyya capitalises on personal relationships, which is the currency of the work that we do; time commitments; and we envision what the community wishes to achieve.

For change and its sustainability, Haiyya chooses to enable citizens to lead, so we can together demonstrate that a different story CAN exist. With them, we share community organising strategies which hold both our government and the citizens accountable for solving civic issues. We build and provide training and toolkit to recruit and structure teams that to create a positive and solution specific environment for shared neighbourhood identity.

What inspires us is the bravery of those who speak up when something is wrong and the leaders who make others more powerful. On this premise, we at Haiyya are for power in the neighbourhood and we BELIEVE that individual potential is what channels public action.

Our campaigns in Mumbai and Delhi have had a dominoes effect and our sole intention is to expand them and their word deeper and wider. The weather, terrain and situations change the entire ball game and so do Haiyya’s methods in different scenarios without compromising on its values. Our aim to transcend into a value based organisation will serve as a platform to foster faith in each other and for communities to grow – till you keep true to the commitment of time and energy these efforts will demand.

Unless the average citizen puts their value and voice at the forefront of community, the issue will remain as it is, business-as-usual will persist, status quo be maintained, our stories will not grow and time will simply slide. Leadership can successfully be nurtured and so can the feeling of concern and the practice of action. Haiyya is focussed towards a better neighbourhood and a better society and if you are, then it’s time to take a lead and start your campaign. Join us and amplify this idea.

Vote for Haiyya as a Leader in Volunteer Engagement at and support us! Provide your comments and feedback to us at For more information about organisations all over the world, who are following Marshall Ganz’s framework of community organizing please visit


Author’s Bio 

Ana, Communications Expert

Ana is a development practitioner based in Delhi with experience and focus on pragmatic approach to research which she has applied on numerous  studies that look at the implementation status of government initiatives in various parts of India. She happily puts into practice reduction, reuse and recycling of materials in her daily life and travels whenever she finds the time and resources to! You can contact her at