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Reigniting the Fellowship

 

Posting Date
Fellow meeting at Prana Dewi Resort, Bali.

In 2022, another highlight was the Fellows meeting at Prana Dewi Resort in Bali. After some hiatus, Fellows were able to meet in person again. Twenty-two Samdhana Fellows joined, and an additional four went online. Set in the open space of Prana Dewi, with fresh air and beautiful scenery, it created a friendly and laid-back atmosphere. 

Over two days, Fellows engaged in constructive discussions. On the first day, they explored more deeply the fundamental duties and responsibilities as Fellows. Emphasis was on the importance of mentoring and sharing valuable experiences, both positive and negative, with the next generation. The Fellows reflected on how to effectively interact with new forces and uphold Samdhana’s core values. 

A tribute was paid to Lafcadio, a beloved Fellow who recently passed away. In honor of his work and passion, Patrick Anderson and Chip Fay presented a proposal to establish a fund that would continue supporting Lafcadio’s endeavors, particularly in Indonesia. They also discussed the possible role of Samdhana, such as supporting internships, facilitating mediation processes within communities, and mentoring the next generation of activists.

Cristi Nozawa, as Executive Director of Samdhana provided updates and insights into the organization’s programs and work around tenure, resource management, gender equality, disability rights and social inclusion (GEDSI), and support to the next generation such as the education grants.

The Fellows shared their observations on Sadhana's projects, such as the opportunities and challenges associated with partnering with donors like the World Bank. They recognize the complexities of navigating such relationships while remaining true to Samdhana’s mission and supportive of IPLC partners.

Thematic conversations around democratic resilience, widening wealth disparities, disinformation, state of civic space, and tenure rights were organized. Some Fellows shared the opportunities for expanding work in Timor Leste. A couple of guests provided inputs on their own initiatives related to community product development and marketing online, and on agro-ecological practices. Given the rapid changing contexts, Fellows agreed that Samdhana needs to continue to be innovative and responsive.

Evenings were allotted for self-reflection and sharing on how Fellows perceive their needs and roles in the organization. They stressed the need for continuous improvement as activists. Some suggestions were on having a structured learning program, pro-active communications, and thematic or affinity meetings. Effective communication and clarity were identified as crucial elements for fostering understanding and cohesion among fellow members. A working committee was created to provide recommendations for a Fellows’ programme, including the issues on recruiting or accepting new Fellows.

On the incoming 20th year of Samdhana, Fellows suggested various objectives, including enhancing local fundraising efforts, increasing youth involvement, and nurturing intergenerational interactions. They discussed about documenting Samdhana’s history, and further developing its legacy. The meeting concluded with a reminder of Samdhana’s core purpose: to provide a safe space where people can connect with both the modern and traditional worlds while working towards positive change.

 

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