The SDA programme was launched in 2011 with the objective of developing Dalit leaders who work at the grassroots level and directly impact the community in their area. These SDAs develop the organizing ability, skills, and perspective of local organizations and grassroots activists and work in collaboration with them to create tangible grassroots change and initiatives for effective impact in their communities.
The SDA programme was initiated as a follow up of the Young Professionals programme. Youth activists selected under this programme have previous background of intensive leadership training and are supported through fellowships for a period of three years, subject to review.
Objective of the SDA Fellowship
- To develop Dalit leaders who work directly at the grassroots level and directly impact the community in their area.
- To create tangible grassroots change by working in collaboration with grassroots activists and organizations
- To develop the organizing ability, skills, and perspective of the selected partners(local organizations and grassroots activists) for effective impact in their communities
Expectations from the SDA Fellowship Programme
- Activists will be grassroots leaders in one area, with 2/3 of their time spent in the field. They will work with two or more of Dalit Foundation grassroots partners to select an issue of concern and design a plan of action to make concrete improvements on this issue.
- Their work will sustainably and substantially advance the rights available to Dalits in a particular community, as opposed to development strategies of providing direct service or helping people simply access government schemes.
- Finally, their work will aim to change mindsets toward the value of equality and develop the leadership of community leaders who engage a significant group of volunteers.
- Activists will collaborate with their partners to build relationships and take action on the issue, garnering media coverage in the process.
The Activist’s role will be to coordinate this project and strengthen the capacity of their partners. They will be collaborating with the partners, not monitoring or supervising them.
- As stakeholders (not staff), Activists will be DF’s “eyes and ears” on the ground, offering feedback on current partners and identifying new partners that DF would not have otherwise reached.