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That Familiar Feeling…

Priti Sharma, Sr Progamme Manager, recalls that familiar feeling which defines PRIA's Learning Week for her.

I first joined PRIA in March 2003. At that time, review and planning meetings used to be a quarterly affair. Since I came from a small organization, the number of meetings and the gathered “crowd” was initially overwhelming. For three days, the conference hall would be filled with staff from PRIA’s offices all across the country and partner organizations, or Regional Support Organisations (RSOs) as they were known. Representatives from various funding organizations would also attend.

It took me a while to put names to faces. We were encouraged to mix with the larger group but I remember hanging around with known faces. It gave me psychological comfort. It was the same feeling a child might have while holding onto an elder’s finger in a crowded fair!

The review and planning meetings provided a great learning platform, for individual and institutional learning. Colleagues and partners would share their work and plan for the upcoming period. At times, they  were combined with other capacity building workshops on particular thematic issues which PRIA was working on, or  managerial and personal development issues. These meetings embodied PRIA’s philosophy of building capacities of its staff and other stakeholders. 

I left PRIA for a brief interval after 7 years of learning. I soon realized how important it is for organizations to constantly learn and evolve with changing times, not only to survive but to remain contextual and gain from external opportunities.

When I rejoined PRIA a couple of years ago I was disheartened to hear that the bi-annual review meetings had been discontinued. So when they were reintroduced last October, I was  happy. A full week of learning!

In the October 2015 review and planning meeting, we practiced various participatory training methods while sharing information about our programmes. With the week just concluded, the learning journey continues. This time, we built capacities in written and visual documentation, how they can be used in our day to day work, and heard the stories of change our programme staff have facilitated. 

On the first day, seeing the room full of colleagues reminded me of my early days. That familiar feeling overwhelmed me as I sat up in front, next to the screen, craning my neck to see the PRIA film!

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