The HDTI design and curriculum components were developed in India, in the field, as they were about to be used. A team of fourteen of us worked in our demonstration village of Maliwada, Maharashtra, in the weeks leading up to the opening of the first eight-week “school” in October, 1976. We drew on everything we knew about comprehensive human and community development–economic, political and cultural–from all our theoretical and practical research, projects and programs, along with what we thought we knew about India. For more about the Maliwada school, see: InYr1976TrainingSchool. After the fourth school and at the end of the first year (1976-7), I was asked as the school’s academic dean to write a program description of it that could be used in ICA’s funding and authorization efforts. This document was hand written in the early fall of 1977, as it happened, while my wife, Roxana, and I found ourselves patients at Jaslok Hospital in Bombay, recovering from fairly serious cases of Hepatitis. Like all ICA curricula, the Training Institute continued to evolve over the years, but this description gives a clear picture of its character as it had shaken down by that point in time.I had just completed the manuscript and was recovering in the Bombay House before returning to Maliwada when news of Joe’s death reached us. If we had included dedications in our writings, I would have dedicated this one to him. The booklet was published in the weeks that followed and was used in India and a number of other countries that were subsequently to hold HDTIs as part of their own Human Development Projects.
The Human Development Training InstituteThe Maharashtra Village Development Project
The Human Development Training Institute is an eight-week programme in the methods of catalyzing rapid socio-economic community development. Its purpose is to train people from diverse backgrounds to serve for two years as residential staff in the Maharashtra Village Development Project. Those who successfully complete the eight-week curriculum are offered appointments as auxiliary staff in one of the villages of this Project. The following pages outline the scope and objectives of the Project and the design and operation ofthe Training Institute.
In December, 1975, the Institute of Cultural Affairs:, India, at the invitation and with the cooperation of the Government of Maharashtra, initiated a demonstration community development project in Maliwada, a rural village of 2,300 residents located thirteen kilometres from Aurangabad. The project began with a week-long consultation in which villagers and outside consultants created an inclusive plan for the socio-economic development of the entire community. The results have been a remarkable demonstration of what ordinary people are capable of accomplishing when trained in methods of effective action. In the economic arena, for example, there is now at least one wage-earner in every family, electricity has been brought to the village, new ancillary and khadi industries have been started, modern farming techniques and the use of hybrid seeds have quadrupled normal crop yields, an inclusive dairy scheme is underway and over two hundred families have opened savings accounts in a new branch bank in the village. Correspondingly, the social development of the community is marked by a new health outpost, a community kitchen and feeding programme, a pre-school and an adult education centre, as well as model housing in the Harijan colony.
This rapid transformation of a depressed village into a vigorous and self-sustaining human community has made Maliwada the centre for a state-wide replication effort. Phase One of this effort involved the launching of three additional demonstration village projects, one in each of the other three divisions of the state, as of December, 1976. Phase Two has entailed the expansion of this to one project in each district of the state as of December, 1977, a total of twenty-five. Phase Three is accelerating this expansion so as to initiate a project in every taluka of the state by April, 1979, a total of 232. The final phase will entail the replication of the projects within each taluka until every village in the state is included. The overall intention of this effort is that Maharashtra becomes a demonstration for other states in India as well as other nations of the practical feasibility of replicating rapid and effective rural development at the local level.
The staffing of these project villages with trained leadership is the responsibility of the Human Development Training Institute. The first Training Institute opened on Gandhi Jayanti Day, 1976, in the newlyconstructed Maliwada Community Centre. Since then, Training Institutes have been held in Maliwada each quarter, and their graduates have received staff appointments to divisional, district, and now taluka-Ievel village projects across the state. This initial training experience is followed, for those taking two-year appointments, by a three-month internship in a project village, during which time they work alongside more experienced staff and under the supervision of a project director. The Training Institute thus serves as a foundational component in the overall village development effort, equipping people who care deeply about the future of rural communities in India to be of effective service.
Within the overall context of staffing the accelerating number of village projects in the state-wide effort, the Training Institute has three basic objectives. First, participants learn how to identify clearly and comprehensively the actual human needs in different types of communities. Second, they learn about and see with their own eyes, practical new ways of dealing effectively with age-old problems that have seemed insolvable, and to utilise the local resources, governmental services and appropriate technology available for resolving them. Third, they are trained in methods of corporate leadership which allow them to work as a team and to create the motivity necessary to engage an entire community in the common planning and actuating of its own development. Hence, the Training Institute is not concerned to produce experts in a particular field, but a capable and motivated leadership core which can serve any local community in its overall development effort.
To accomplish these objectives, the Training Institute uses a three-fold organisational model consisting of cycles, excursions and colloquies during the eight weeks: three major academic cycles, two exploratory excursions and an opening and closing colloquy. The basic curriculum is constituted by the three cycles of study, each approximately two-and-one-half weeks long, covering all facets of village development: the economic, the cultural and the social. These cycles are further sub-divided into nine programmatic arenas, each of which is dealt with in an intensive two-day module designed to equip participants with both an overall grasp of the arena and practical methods for catalyzing its rapid development in a village.
The second structural component of the curriculum consists of two major excursions, each three days in length. The first of these consists of an encounter with the profound heritage of India’s rich history and the great social inventions which it has contributed to human civilization. The second is an encounter with the global and urbanised world-usually a trip to Bombay as the guest of government departments and business houses-which confronts participants with an understanding of the vast technological and human resources which this new world makes available to the local development effort.
Finally, the Training Institute begins with a three-day colloquy which orients new participants to its overall curriculum and style; and it concludes with a three-day council in which those about to graduate are joined by representatives of the existing projects, share reports on the progress of the state-wide effort and coordinate plans and schedules for the coming three months.
Within this basic design, the Training Institute uses several different formats of instruction in order to allow for effective learning and to train participants in using a variety of educational devices. The nine programme modules of the three cycles are the foundation of the curriculum. Two days are devoted to each of these critical aspects of community development, during which participants gain a comprehensive picture of an arena such as agriculture or health, which emphasizes innovative and practical ways in which momentum can be rapidly generated.
They do direct field research in Maliwada and adjacent villages to analyze the actual achievements which have been made and those that are now required. They visit governmental and private research and demonstration facilities to view at first hand the new directions and technologies appropriate for village adoption. A panel of guest experts drawn from the relevant private and public-sector agencies spends a morning at the Training Institute, detailing and answering participants’ questions about the specific schemes available to villagers which can accelerate development in the particular area.
Finally, the participants break into smaller workshop groups to build and critique their own detailed plans for implementing such development in a specified village situation. At the conclusion of this intensive introduction to an arena, participants experience a new self-confidence about their ability to provide genuine, practical assistance to a local community.
Alternating with the basic programme modules within the three cycles are two additional curricular components: the operational laboratories and the actional projects. Five operational laboratories deal with the style and methods of the resident staff in a village situation. Usually a day and a half in duration, the laboratories use lectures, structured conversations, seminars and workshops to explore in smaller working groups such topics as effective planning methods, leadership styles, corporate operations, family structures and human creativity.
The other component of the cycles is the actional projects, a series of work days, normally two per week, which put into practice the actuational methods of village development learned in that cycle. Here the participants, faculty and local auxiliary staff work alongside the Maliwada villagers in implementing the tactics of the pilot demonstration project. The planning and subsequent evaluation of these occasions by the participants has proven to be an invaluable training experience.
The Training Institute uses a variety of direct and indirect educational approaches. Direct instruction is provided through lectures, workshops and seminars in which rigorous intellectual effort is required from all. Other devices, such as trips, panels and work projects leave the traditional classroom setting and elicit a different kind of involvement from participants.
Meal times are occasions for forms of indirect learning. During breakfast, participants engage in a Global Collegium, in which they review and analyze the world news of the day for its significance and vigorously discuss some facet of the twentieth-century world with the faculty. Lunches consist of small-group Leadership Tutorials, where participants assume responsibility for leading short workshop sessions and then have their style and methods evaluated by the group. At dinner, again in smaller groups, a Reflective Roundtable gives people an opportunity to discuss universal human experiences through art forms such as folk tales, poetry and drama and to reflect upon some of the significant events in their own lives. The Roundtable concludes with a brief English Language Tutorial, a review of the day’s work and the making of necessary assignments for the coming day. These occasions for informal dialogue between the participants and the faculty build an essential colleagueship into the life of the Training Institute.
The internal operation of the eight-week programme is designed to train participants in effective teamwork. Faculty and students work closely together in the classroom and the community, live in the village and share common meals. Teams are formed early, consisting of approximately ten participants and one faculty member, with the leader of the team being chosen from the participants. The teams provide fundamental training in using the insights of every member of a group to build corporate models through consensus. They also assume responsibility for portions of the academic effort, for the community action projects and for such ongoing tasks as the maintenance of the facility and the serving of meals. They provide a structure whereby the special needs of each individual can be cared for and his leadership capabilities utilised to the fullest extent.
The intensity of this eight-week construct requires a disciplined style of all participants, from the morning rising time of 5-00 a.m. to the closing of the evening Roundtable at 9-30 p.m. However, the alternation of educational forms as well as tea breaks and rest and recreation periods during the day provide a human rhythm to the time. Evening celebrations occur once each week and have ranged from guest performances of classical Indian music to popular films to musical and dramatic offerings by the participants and faculty themselves. Weekly discontinuous time between Sunday breakfast and dinner also insures every person the opportunity for longer recreational activities of his own choice.
More than 400 persons have now graduated from the Human Development Training Institutes. Of this number, over 350 have taken appointments to serve as staff in the Maharashtra Village Development Project. These graduates include single men and women and married couples, ranging in age from sixteen to sixty-eight. Most have come from Maharashtra, but the number includes people from Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Bihar, as well as from the Philippines, Nigeria, Kenya, and Australia.
The largest number of participants has been from villages initiating their own human development projects, but significant numbers have also come from such urban centres as Bombay, Hyderabad, Patna, Delhi, and Jabalpur, as well as from the Maharashtrian cities of Nagpur, Pune, Amadnagar, Nasik, Jalgaon and Aurangabad. Increasingly, commercial enterprises concerned with rural development such as the Canara Bank, the State Bank of India, India Hotels Company Ltd. and the Water Development Society of Hyderabad are sponsoring selected employees for the Training Institute.
The State of Maharashtra, through its Rural Development Department, has begun a programme of sponsoring selected personnel preparing to become Gram Sevaks to the Training Institute. Because of the programme’s multi-faceted educational approach, participants with very limited educational backgrounds have been able to complete it successfully, while those holding advanced degrees in various fields have found that their fullest intellectual efforts have been required.
The senior faculty of the Training Institute consists of experienced staff assigned by the Institute of Cultural Affairs: India whose training and backgrounds cover a variety of fields. The present staff includes instructors with backgrounds in university teaching, business management, pre-school administration, agricultural development, nutrition and health education and social service. Several newer faculty are graduates of the previous Training Institutes who have demonstrated their mastery of the basic methods in the Maharashtra project villages.
While the faculty is composed primarily of Indian nationals, the Training Institute makes an effort to include as well persons with experience of community development from different parts of the world. Currently, the faculty includes persons from Australia, Canada, the United States and Kenya as well as India. Staff assignments are adjusted each quarter so as to allow those who have taught in the Training Institute to have regular project experience and to rotate experienced project personnel onto the faculty. The Training Institute also invites university, professional and government experts in various areas to serve as guest faculty on a short-term basis.
As a not-for-profit registered society, the Institute of Cultural Affairs: India has undertaken extensive funding efforts to cover the major expenses of the Training Institute. These expenses amount to Rs. 1,000 per person for tuition, fees, lodging and meals during the eight weeks. Of this amount, the ICA makes every effort to obtain outside support sufficient to cover all but Rs. 50 registration fee per village participant. It does this through seeking contributions of goods and services as well as direct monetary grants from businesses and individuals concerned about village development.
This outside support has meant that project village participants accepted for admission are asked to pay only the registration fee, cover their travel expenses to and from Maliwada, and provide whatever money they personally require during the eight weeks. For those receiving two-year staff appointments following the training programme, the ICA undertakes to provide living accommodations in the village, meals and a small monthly stipend for personal expenses during the two years of the appointment. At the end of the two years, those returning to other vocational pursuits will do so with new skills in methods of organisation and leadership as well as the satisfaction of having been part of a great service undertaking. Those who have indicated their readiness to continue working with the Institute of Cultural Affairs in its community development efforts in India and across the world will be invited to become members of the permanent staff.
The Human Development Training Institute is for mature men and women of every background who care deeply about the future of rural communities. It requires of all applicants accepted for admission a decision to engage themselves fully in the two months of training in order to become familiar with project methods and operations. It also asks that every applicant consider seriously a two-year project appointment following the training programme. Those selected for the programme must be willing personally to share many of the difficult living conditions of the village for the sake of being of genuine service to the local people. They must be capable of adopting a disciplined and corporate style of life appropriate to the local situation. They must be willing to engage in hard intellectual and physical work during the eight weeks of training. Those who meet these criteria are encouraged to make application to the Human Development Training Institute.
The Institute of Cultural Affairs is an intra-global research and development, training and demonstration group concerned with the human factor in world development. The ICA presently has coordinating centres in Bombay, Brussels, Chicago, Hong Kong, Nairobi and Singapore and is registered in twentythree nations. The Institute of Cultural Affairs: India, is a registered, not-for-profit society with area offices in Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi and Hyderabad. The Maharashtra Village Development Project is coordinated from the Maliwada Office, with other divisional offices in project villages near Bombay, Nagpur and Pune.
The ICA is convinced that effective human development must be initiated on the local community level. Toward this end, its national and extra-national staff live and work with local people in planning and actuating socio-economic projects around the world. The projects, located in both rural and urban communities of extreme need, are established for the purpose of demonstrating comprehensive human development. The work of the ICA is supported by private foundations, corporations, concerned individuals and government departments and agencies on the national, state and municipal levels.
Bombay Office: Maharashtra State Administrative Staff College P. O. Box 660. G.P.O. Bombay 400001 • Tele: 373741 Maliwada Office: P. O. Box 100 Aurangabad 431 001 Maharashtra
— GordonHarper – 01 Jul 2009