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Joining the ARC Initiative alongside five other organizations has been a transformative journey for me and the team at Alokito Kori. While some organizations have moved ahead in SALT conversations, baseline analysis, and community engagement, every organization shares a unified goal: to instill a sense of ownership within the community. This ownership will empower the community to make decisions and work towards their development, safeguarding children and youth without relying on NGOs, INGOs, or other external entities.

I had the opportunity to conduct SALT with Tasnim Chowdhury, Documentation Officer of ECDO, one of our fellow cohort members. They have conducted over 180 SALT conversations within their community. Organizations in this initiative have recruited SALT Facilitators from within the communities, who work tirelessly to motivate and encourage their neighbors. This grassroots involvement ensures the community is empowered to rebuild and improve their lives through positive actions.

In traditional development practices, there's often unhealthy competition for funding, deliverables, and top positions, often at the expense of the long-term well-being of the beneficiaries. I recall my time as a volunteer in an organization where internal politics overshadowed genuine collaboration. Despite the supposed democratic processes, I often found myself involved in efforts to secure my position, even facing isolation when I tried to build relationships across different districts. This experience taught me the importance of connections and collaboration in personal & professional settings.

The ARC Initiative has opened my eyes to the value of working together to intensify our impact. We are not competing against each other but challenging ourselves to grow. This mindset shift is crucial; by supporting each other and learning from one another, we can achieve impactful success. I used to be heavily pessimistic, and while I still have moments of doubt, I have become more hopeful. My faith in myself has allowed me to move forward and lead positively within the organization. Unlearning several negative aspects of my mindset has been essential to ensure these attitudes do not reflect in our work.

“I have seen, faced and orchestrated several toxic situations in my life, which brought me nothing but sadness and depression. This is the reason why I believe the change in me is necessary.”

Looking to the future, I believe the community will grow confident enough to approach Members of Parliament, Mayors, and other relevant authorities. They will share their challenges and propose solutions, demonstrating their power and encouraging government officials to support and collaborate with them. This shift in dynamics will further empower the community and ensure sustainable development driven from within.

In summary, the ARC Initiative has encouraged a collaborative spirit among the six cohort members and inspired a profound change within our communities. We are laying the foundation for a brighter, more self-sufficient future by moving away from competition and focusing on collective growth and community empowerment.

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