Reflections from the Leadership Journey Gathering- With Commutiny the Youth Collective- By Devika

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We were invited for this Leadership Journey gathering and Nishant and I seemed to have no clue what we were getting into. We walked into this office in Kalkaji and luckily, things only got better.

Commutiny the Youth Collective, popularly known as CYC is an association of youth led and youth engaging organizations across India working towards promoting empowering spaces for youth leadership. Their objective is to help people move towards the needs of the society while continuously working on the self as well. They are well known for their media tools, especially the films they create for social purposes.

The objective of this gathering was to bring together people from different organizations who are supposedly ‘Youth Leaders’. They wanted to open up a space for dialogue and film screenings to help us investigate our own methods of working and introduce us to the tools of 5th Space.

We started the session by watching two movies- ‘Find your own Music’ and ’18 till I die’. They were both interesting films that opened up an opportunity to discuss the various lenses through which the youth in this country are viewed. The Economist Lens, Problem Solver lens, The Youth for Development lens and the Youth Development Lens exposed us to the abundance of mindsets. After Changelooms, Aagaaz has been quite conscious about trying to create a Youth Development based work environment. We want to create spaces where learning and growth happens for every part involved.

Soon, we were introduced to a very heartwarming film called ‘Class of Rowdies’ that led to a great discussion on creating empowering spaces for students. We spoke about ways of creating avenues where the youth involved take part in the decision making processes. We also ventured into conversations about curiosity, questioning and how they influence learning in a positive manner.
We continued to speak about tools that would help us equip ourselves better as leaders. A lot of ideas were presented and it was nice to hear that so many people are working in this direction. Peer-to-peer learning, Empathy, Dialogue, Lack of Judgement, Reflection, Trust and Transparency were some of the words that were floating around. The facilitators of this session then introduced us to Pravah’s philosophy that consisted of Reflection with Action, Experiential Learning, Ownership of spaces and Joy in Learning.

We got a lot of valuable insights from this interaction, especially in the theoretical realm. They also gave us a questionnaire to look at difficult decision making and how polarities confuse us, just like they confuse young people. We were also introduced to a mobile game on leadership that the organization has created to help understand options, decisions and repercussions. Lastly, we were given a question to think about- ‘How much space do I give to young people to feel empowered?’ This was a difficult questions that definitely put me on a spot.

The films we were shown were quite impressive but I wished that we had spent more time dissecting them. This would have helped us understand how such media can be used in our lines of work as well. In addition to that, a session with higher audience participation could have engaged people much better.

I’m really thankful to Pratibha, Kanika and Aparna for inviting us. Their own facilitation skills were a learning experience for me. They managed to open spaces for healthy debates. They also expressed their points of view and held space for the participants, without being directive. The factual information and statistics they shared with us, helped me come to terms with the bigger picture I sometime lose while concentrating on the intricacies of the group I am working with.

The most valuable aspect of the workshop was the opportunity to meet other organizations and leaders. There are not many avenues created for cross pollination in a semi-formal setting. I look forward to more gatherings!

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