Friday, February 10, 2012

In the first week of TYPF

During my first week as Communications Manager at the YP Foundation in New Delhi I was asked by the CEO, whom I directly report to, to write down my daily reflections and share them with her at the end of the week. Here they are...

February 6, Monday
I've seen too many young people wasting their time, not investing in themselves, not putting to worthwhile use the precious energy that comes free with the gift of youth. Or worse, misdirecting it. Which is why I didn't mind too much the meeting that dragged on for 6 hours today. My lower back was hurting, and I felt like I was on a long flight, but it was heartwarming to see all the well-informed, sensible, and articulate young people in front of me expressing complicated ideas with words like 'macro level' and 'strategy' and not being full of hot air while at it. It was even more wonderful that these were young women. These young people could be anywhere else. They could be out there getting stoned, talking trash, obsessing over insignificant things and unimportant people. These young people could be out there leading unhealthy lives and destroying their minds and their bodies, but they were here, in front of me. I wish they could see what I saw. I wish they could feel what I felt. I felt proud of them, these young people who will one day grow up to be mothers and fathers. Mentors. I'd recently lost my faith in everything, but the more I interact with these sensitive young people, the more reassured I feel.

February 7, Tuesday
I'm glad I took some time to get to know the programme heads. I met with them individually and got them to talk to me about themselves, their programmes, and their communications needs. I specifically wanted to hear about the communications initiatives that worked for them and those that didn't. The good news is that that there's a lot happening within these programmes and that they've even tried to put it all out using various forms of media. The bad news is that it's all been harem scarem. I thought that maybe there was no framework in place to provide all this media the big picture it needs to work within, but the communication strategy for 2011-2012 is already in place and has some great ideas besides. It's just on paper though; there has been trouble with follow-up and implementation. That's the bad news. I have a meeting with Disha and Rachit tomorrow, and by now I've got a clear enough idea of things to know what questions to ask them. That's the good news.

February 8, Wednesday
I am beginning to feel overwhelmed now. There's been so much information that I've been taking in, so many new people whose personalities and thought processes I'm actively trying to absorb, all as part of my getting to know the communications system here so I can understand what's been happening and how it can be improved. I am always sincere about doing a good job, but I think I need to distance myself a little bit for now. I need time for things to sink in and for the big picture to intuitively make sense.

PS - it was fun talking to Rachit about the email database and the newsletter. I've spent so much time trying to run away from my technical education that had deadened me on the inside for so many years, but it surprises me how I don't completely hate it now. Now when I run into databases and that sort of technology, I feel as if I'm running into a lover from a past relationship that had gone horribly wrong but have now made peace with and even have some fond memories of. Remember when...?

February 9, Thursday
It was good to get back to the edit machine today. The Mumbai KYBKYR ('Know Your Body, Know Your Rights') consultation video is one monster project, and for all the wrong reasons. Too much footage in a language I don't understand. I still remember the succession of equipment failure that brought that project to a halt in December. It's been a pending project since then, and I've finally got the logistics of it sorted out. Now I can edit. Thank goodness. Finally it's just me and the machine. It's difficult editing footage that you didn't shoot yourself, particularly if the footage has been overshot without a strategy in mind. But I'm excited about how the final product will shape up. I really think I'm a film editor at heart.

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