With full of enthusiasm and excitement, we gather for the third session of EmpowHER junior, organized by Ujyalo Foundation.
The session started with a talk from our first guest speaker, Angela Shrestha, one of the winners of EmpowHER 2017. She talked about her own journey, learnings, and her project idea. She was keen on answering all of our queries and providing advice. She emphasized how impactful her EmpowHER journey had been, and how it helped her grow as a person. She inspired all of the changemakers within the room.
Pavitra Gautam, the Co-Founder, and CEO of Karkhana led our next session. He facilitated an interesting and open-minded session, where our imagination was put to the test. First, we were presented with newspapers, masking tape, and an egg, and were asked what we thought we would be doing. He did not want us to narrow down our ideas and wanted to see what ideas we’d come up with when our minds were let to roam freely.
Then, we were informed that we had to design and construct an egg tower in groups of two with the available resources. This left every group thinking of ideas and trying to construct a tower to hold an egg on top. Many groups succeeded and many groups failed. However, the thing everyone had in common was that everyone was trying, and that essentially made them winners. After this activity, we reflected on how it may apply to our lives. Everyone provided their own understanding and we discussed all of the points, trying to find examples as well.
Finally, we found out that ‘ideation’ is simply creating an idea and the process behind it. He then told us about the three principles while creating an idea: always place quantity over quality, because when you are thinking of the quality of the idea you are judging the idea; defer judgment, do not let ideas to rest; and finally, always think of the most unusual and out of the box idea. Through this activity, we also learned about the minimum viable product, which means to develop something with sufficient resources. This session left all of us reflecting and thinking.
Our next session, was about designing for change. We were asked to list out a few problems that we would personally like to change in the world or in our society, in groups of three. Then we had to pick one problem that we all agreed needed solving. Next, we were presented with newspapers, tape and glue, to construct a model of a possible solution to the problem. This left us with a conclusion, that we should be able to design solutions to problems affecting us directly.
Afterwards, we had another session on Leadership. We all wrote down different characteristics of leaders and when asked to pick just three core values we realized that we could not. Moving on from this when we all listed down five leaders, we mostly wrote down political leaders, who were usually old men. Then in an activity where we all had to draw whom we envisioned leaders, some tried to contest this. As for the people who drew, we were quick to realize that their definition may not be appropriate for everyone. Through this exercise, we realized why earlier we could not pick out just three core values. Essentially, there are many qualities of a leader, even outside the conventional definition, and it too like many things is fluid. Therefore, in the end, a leader is just a person who is trying to bring a change.
We then learned about the interchangeability in our leadership and followership roles, how in some situations we may be one or the other. However, we need to find the right balance between the two in life. After that, we had an energizer, where we played a game of charades. This left everyone laughing and enjoying.
This was then followed by a reflection session, where we talked about how we would try to implement the learning of that day in our project idea. We realized the importance of taking the learnings and reflecting back on it. Afterwards, we helped one another regarding the usage of emails, as it is an important communication medium.
This session on ideation and leadership enhanced our own imagination processes and redefined what leadership meant for us.
By: Priya Rajbhandary and Sandhya Tamang
The writers are EmpowHER Junior Changemakers.