How can we keep up the pace? Activista Bangladesh looks forward

I opened my eyes. The alarm was set for 5:30 am.  I would not be up in this time in any Friday morning. Within next few minutes I received a phone call that a car will be picking me up soon. I was feeling like going back to the bed again but I did not. I was thinking that there will be 13 more Activista like me sacrificing their precious weekends for Activista Bangladesh.

On January 5th to 6th, Activista Bangladesh celebrated the New Year with two days of annual planning. After a long year with hard work we really needed this planning for some time to just have fun, think, and reflect. It felt like the “first drop of rain in the summer”.

My story, your story, our story

We started the planning process by reflecting individually and sharing the reasons why we joined Activista. One by one we shared our personal stories which motivated each of us. With tears and laughter our common story was formed. Following that we had group reflection about our success, challenges and learning’s from 2011.

While reflecting on our success of last year surprisingly I realized we were really good at mobilizing volunteers very quickly. We managed to gather all our volunteers and resources within a very short period. Now, we have wings in 7 Districts of the country and core volunteers from 10 different Universities. Six different campaigns were initiated and more than 40,000 youth were mobilized on the very first year. This was an outstanding achievement and it was only possible because of our ownership and commitment towards a positive social change. In the first year of Activista Bangladesh, our collective dedication created an image as a Proactive and Responsible Youth Network within ActionAid community.

What I have learned 

We split up in to small groups to address our challenges and came up with possible solutions for 2012. Working in a more structured and organized way will be the main emphasis of the coming year. We realized a need for contextualized campaigns knowledge in Bengali language, for example a complete manual for our Activistas, and replications of the Global Change Training at the grass roots. Another resolution was to arrange regular sharing of knowledge for the volunteers. An induction about Activista and ActionAid is also compulsory for the volunteers who will ensure transparency and efficiency with in our work.

Last year we just kept on raising our own standards with each of our events. International Women’s Day celebration and World Food Week were events with bigger budgets and for wider audiences but we managed both of the events successfully.

I wonder if we can live up to those high standards again this year?

We also need to celebrate more often after completing the campaigns with our achievements to keep us motivated and engaged.

Activista has made me a dreamer

But back to the discussion group: It was almost dinner time and finally we were finished. Yes! We have sorted out our plans for the year of 2012 and we are very optimistic. Prepared to JUMP in with more enthusiasm and will be outreaching our shelves with accomplishments for others to follow us.

At the end we were all tired physically but not mentally. That is the unique spirit of activism which is so hard to find. For me it is amazing to be around with such great people.

Within a year as part of Activista Bangladesh I have grown as a campaigner, developed as a volunteer and most prominently trained as a dreamer.

I wish a Happy New Year to all the ACTIVISTAS around the world and hope they will grow like me in 2012.