​The smaller things that stick: Reflections from facilitating our Partner Workshops

Anantvijay Singh

A reflection by Anantvijay Singh, Rebuild India Fund, on the evolution of our introductory partner workshops since the first workshop that was held at Neembadi, Ahmedabad in November 2022 to our most recent in Bengaluru.

Over the past year, our partner workshops have evolved with a conscious effort on our part to focus on the needs of the group and to incorporate feedback from previous sessions.

Thinking back to the first one we did at Neembadi in Ahmedabad in November’22 with the first cohort of Rebuild leaders, we had started with just a broader sense that we wanted to bring people together and add value to them from insights that Dasra has built over the past two decades.

We organized the second one in Mumbai during March this year, trying to leverage the location and proximity to Dasra Philanthropy Week to build access for portfolio members to the wider ecosystem, leading to a few very intensely packed days of conversation and interaction.

This time, we aimed to find a balance and create a space that enabled sharing and reflection, while ensuring sessions on capacity building had concrete takeaways and actionable insights. A major step forward was the increased participation of existing portfolio members and extended the Dasra network, leaning into the idea that expertise rests among the larger community of organizations.

In these large workshops, it is often the smaller things that stick with us— the incredibly green and peaceful venue at The School of Ancient Wisdom; the sight of leaders reconnecting after years; the enthusiasm of the team at Westbridge Capital to learn more about the sector; the use of the word ‘family’ that participants used to describe the peer group. We eagerly look forward to the next one.

About our partner workshops – from Neembadi to the Ancient School of Wisdom, finding balance while building a community:

Our recently concluded partner workshop for the newest members of the Rebuild portfolio ran from 11th to 14th of July. This was the third iteration of our quarterly partner workshops, the first deep engagement that organizations have after entering the Rebuild fund, kicking off their 5 year journey as partners.
This time around, we had 21 leaders from 19 organizations join us from across 9 states. We also saw participation from 10+ organisations from our previous cohorts and funders all engaging with our new cohort as facilitators and observers.

​The focus of this workshop was to (Re) build three key elements–

1) A sense of community, helping portfolio organizations and their leaders learn about each other and build the foundations for stronger connections in the future. In addition, we aimed to help them start to build relationships with other members of the ecosystem including non-portfolio organizations and the funding community.
2) A shared understanding of the Rebuild India fund, the power of flexible funding, and some critical themes such as compliance and safety at the workplace (Rebuild has a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment).
3) Capacity of leaders to engage with funders and other ecosystem stakeholders on equal terms, via conversations with the team on storytelling and communication, and by leveraging the collective wisdom of the group.
Through focusing on these elements we hope to be able to create a safe space for our partners to thrive and build resilience through their 5-year journeys with us.