There is a lot of confusion about what NGOs do. Some doubt their professionalism, some question their altruistic motives, and many others scoff at their utility in society. Those that provide infrastructure services find it easier to project their efforts and sincerity – but those that do not run shelters, hospitals and schools are perpetually battling accusations of being corrupt and all-talk-and-no-work.
Mixed Pickles was conceptualized to illustrate ‘what Sanjog does, ‘how Sanjog does it’, and to share the learnings – good practices and failures, successes and challenges – of our work. These experiences have been tested by evaluators who are technical experts, and we hope that fellow NGOs and other interested individuals and organizations working on something similar could learn from then rather than reinvent the wheel.
We’ve tried to make the issues an informative read – stripped of the jargon we activists are so fond of spouting. We look forward to your feedback – whether bouquets or brickbats – email us at [email protected] with your comments.
The first issue of Mixed Pickles, published in February 2008, reflects the experiences of an Indo-Bangladesh child protection project called Sanjog, which was supported by Groupe Developpement, the European Commission and other individuals, corporations and foundations.
The aim of this issue is to capture the wide range of activities conducted by various NGO partners in the project, to critically understand the initiatives taken by them to achieve different ends, to figure out what worked and what did not in each of these initiatives. These observations are necessarily accompanied by reflections on some of the fundamental premises – assumptions, methodologies and philosophical reach of developmental work.
The second issue of Mixed Pickles, published in late 2010, reflects the experiences of project Sanjog – a Groupe Developpement initiative implemented in India by 44 NGOs and community based organizations.
This issue of Mixed Pickles explores the context of trafficking and exploitation largely from the lens of rural India, and particularly from the perspective of the rural adolescent girl. In this issue, she is omnipresent – either as a figure of vulnerability, or as study in the quest for independence and dignity. Woven in the commentaries and opinions are the socio-economic issues and systemic challenges that make this group of young people vulnerable to coercion and exploitation, and of the extraordinary changes that can happen when ordinary people push hard enough against captivity, both mental and physical.
The third issue of Mixed Pickles, published in 2012, reflects the initiatives by and experiences of our partners in Bangladesh. These partners work for the empowerment of rural children, for anti-trafficking programmes, for prevention of violence against street children, and for protection and rehabilitation of children living in red-light areas.
The experiences and initiatives are a mixed bag of experiments. Some of them have worked, some of them have not. Some challenges have been successfully met, while some barriers still remain to be overcome. The journey has been heartening, encouraging and enthusing. It has shown us that the energy and will to protect children from violence, abuse, and exploitation is not lacking at all. We hope it inspires in you a combination of enthusiasm and despair; enthusiasm to join in and participate in the action, and despair to goad you to feel the urgency and necessity of these actions.