Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The chief source of problems is solutions

Today I've a received an e-mail form ICICI bank promoting its ICICI Fellows program. As usual I thought it was yet another money making product from ICICI, but it was a real surprise to me on visiting their website. Its not a product to produce money but its a program to produce leaders of tomorrow. Wow its great to read about this initiative. 
Not giving a second thought I was intended to participate in the program and registered, but its sad to know that the eligible age was 21 to 28 :(

I found many interesting/inspired thing while going through the pages of fellow 2010 profiles and their thoughts and notes on their blogs. Sure India will lead the world to peace and prosperity in future.

And I would like to share a post by Akshay Nikam which impressed me.

Hello everyone.My this blog is not about my project work. But it’s all about what I have
been doing, seeing around and reading some stuffs. To start with I have been meeting a lot of people who are in some way in the development sector or did have some previous experience in this sector. Almost 70-80% thinks that it’s all business and pure profit with these institutions having lost the goals and the vision its founder had. I think about how these institutions might have run with passion and goodwill when it was headed by the founder. But once the founder is gone it all becomes just another business. They thus sometimes have to take decisions which might get the institution running but may harm the community. The same community which their founder had intended to serve. Thus the net effect for a period of say 100 years (Founder running it for 30 yrs + others running it for 70 yrs) may actually be negative and may possibly even end up harming the community....
I was thinking about this problem which many of the NGO’s are facing when I stumbled upon a video by Dr. Albert Bartlett on arithmetic, population and energy. His video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY)
concludes on the fact that by trying to solve problems you are actually
creating newer problems.

Here’s a gist of what he says:
Eric Sevareid’s Law:
“The chief source of problems is solutions”.
-(CBS News Dec 29, 1970)

The Nile River(Egypt) for 1000’s of yrs would flood in the spring. The silt that was carried by the river would be deposited on the agricultural land on both sides of the river and thus renewed the fertility of the land owing to which they had sustainable agriculture for 1000’s of yrs. But in today’s world floods was a sign of nuisance as you had cities developed there and the city people didn’t like it. Also the city people wanted electricity. Now that was a problem and what was the solution. The high dam of Aswan. Fair
enuf........ :)
Now let’s see at d problems caused by the solution
1) 1) The silt carried by the river now gets deposited in the reservoir behind the dam. So d dam has as short life period may be just 100-200 yrs.
2) 2) Due to continuous flow the dam gets filled very easily. As a result d dam would be opened as it’s designed to have. The water that is let out from the dam is clear water. Thus changing all the downstream
3) Now for the people in delta at Alexandria down at the Mediterranean Sea the clear water is washing away their agricultural land coz the water is no longer depositing silt.

4) 3) The biological nutrients bought by the river previously are not being brought by d clear water. Thus d fishing activity going in the eastern Mediterranean is in serious loss and causing livelihood troubles.

So you see everything went bad coz of the type of solution to the problem. The founders tried to solve the problem by starting an organisation but now the institution itself has become a problem The same thing applies even to NGO’s or for that matter any institution. The solution that they are trying to design may itself sometimes become a new problem. Finding the correct next line leadership is very very important.I also want to clear that I am in no way talking about my or for that matter any of the institution in which we have been placed.

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There is another NGO here named Shikshantar which is into a lot of unique stuffs. It promotes zero waste, alternate education, organic food, promotes local and Ayurvedic brands and runs a small
cafe for Udaipur youths every Saturday. They have a fixed 4-5 dish menu and
everything that is served is organic. The founder Manish seems a great guy...He
has a daughter who is around 10 yrs old but has never been to school. He doesn’t
believe in the so called educational system and believes that children learn
much better when they are left on their own, you just have to supervise. That’s
it. A pretty bold statement to make when everyone is the society seems so
obsessed with institutionalised quality education. The guy himself is a Stanford
and Brown University pass out. He has a work-ex of working with organisations
like UNESCO,WORLD BANK etc. A brief gist of what his site’s mission says :
the factory model of schooling is part of the problem. Around the world, education systems have become commercialized 'businesses' which serve to stratify society,
glorify militarism, devalue local knowledge systems and languages, manufacture
unsustainable wants, breed discontent and frustration, stifle creativity,
motivation and expression, and dehumanize communities.The 19th-century model of
factory-schooling today stands in the way of building organic learning
societies for the 21st century.
There is an urgent need to start thinking differently if we wish to do things differently.
This starts with facing the reality that the problems that threaten to
overwhelm and destroy India arise from the 'schooled', not from the so-called
illiterates. Thus, expanding or reforming the existing system of
factory-schooling (whether through schools, distance education, literacy
classes or non-formal centers) will not solve the crisis.
This was what was pasted on one of his office cum home wall.

I don’t have any of my opinions but it’s just something for all of us to think on... Would love to hear from you all..."

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