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Building Bridges in India: A Learning Exchange series promoting knowledge sharing among our grantee partners

Posted 23 July 2019 in EMpower News, Grantee Partner News   |   Share


Mini-roundtable in Lucknow

EMpower’s program officers in India began the month with a mini-roundtable in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh which was hosted by Medha. The purpose of this interaction was to get three of our grantee partners - Medha, Ibtada and Sadbhavana Trust - together for an open and meaningful discussion about their work with girls and women on employability and employment.

Byomkesh Mishra and Christopher Turillo from Medha, Rajesh Singhi from Ibtada (Rajasthan) and Hameeda Khatoon from Sadbhavana Trust participated in the roundtable. EMpower invited the leadership team from each organization so that each participant could learn about the other’s journey over the last decade and get a peek into the evolution of their work.

This format of engaging grantee partners was introduced and implemented in May, when EMpower’s program officer, Alifya Loharchalwala, organized a mini-roundtable in Mumbai. The purpose of these roundtables is to promote collaboration and knowledge-sharing among grantee partners in India.


This roundtable followed a reflective and participatory format that was made possible through a range of activities and in-depth discussions. Grantee partners were invited to this roundtable as knowledge partners, giving EMpower a chance to participate as well and share its journey, strategic focus in India, learnings and priorities.

Each Executive Director reflected upon the history of their organization and how their personal journey shaped the program and its goals. They articulated successful approaches, best practices, challenges and plans to address barriers.

Value in organizing the Lucknow roundtable

  • Grantee partners in rural areas have a different set of challenges compared to those in urban areas. This roundtable had a mix of organizations with the experience of running programs in both regions, which allowed a wider and more balanced scope for discussion and learning.
  • The roundtable was useful to grantee partners who are new to EMpower — Sadbhavana Trust, in this case — to understand EMpower’s partnership style by listening to the experience of other partners.

What this roundtable achieved

  • The Lucknow roundtable allowed participating grantee partners to explore synergies in work, possibilities of cross-learning and the scope for EMpower’s support in this process
  • It enabled them to identify strengths, innovative approaches and gaps in their respective programs
  • The format create space for partners to delve into programmatic challenges and common areas of interest

Way forward

Each participant identified an area that they would like to collaborate on with the other organization to strengthen their program

  • Medha offered to share its online resources with Ibtada and Sadbhavana Trust
  • Ibtada is exploring opportunities to work with Medha to deliver their Training Of Trainers module (TOT) to Ibtada staff to improve their mentoring and job facilitation model
  • Sadbhavana Trust is planning an exposure visit to Medha to understand their curriculum and program implementation strategies

Here’s what we heard

Here’s what Hameeda Khatoon, Executive Director of Sadbhavana Trust had to say about the roundtable —

“It was a memorable meeting — one in which I had the opportunity to reflect on the last 10 years of my journey. It also gave each one of us a chance to learn about the ups and downs that the other has encountered in their personal and professional lives. Although we spent only a day in each other’s company, the interaction was quite impactful and I hope that we will have such opportunities in the future as well.”

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