July 19, 2023 by Salil Arora
I recently had the incredible opportunity to participate in the Avni Udaipur sprint. This sprint marked a significant milestone for me as it was the first time I met my team members face to face. Since joining the Samanvay Foundation in May 2023, I had only interacted with them virtually. The anticipation of finally meeting everyone in person made this sprint all the more special.
On the 9th of July 2023, as the rain greeted us upon our arrival in Udaipur, the excitement was palpable. With a sprint planning sheet in mind and a list of fun activities to look forward to, our journey from the Udaipur airport to the hotel was refreshing and set the tone for the days ahead.
We kicked off the sprint with a delightful tea/coffee session, where all the sprint members, including our Tech4Dev colleagues, gathered for a small introductory round. Erica, Ankit, and Lobo took the opportunity to explain the organisational principles that Tech4Dev focuses on, along with the purpose and objectives of the sprint.
Following the all-hands session, the Avni team moved to a separate board room to dive into the tasks at hand. Arjun, tirelessly led us, ensuring that all sprint schedules are finalised. With everyone committed to finalising the target activity list and sprint schedule as the first order of business the next morning, we wrapped up the day around 11:00 PM.
To my delight, the sprint offered much more than I had anticipated. We engaged in deep discussions about processes, roles, and responsibilities, all aimed at making our work more efficient and effective. The inclusion of meditation sessions, team bonding activities, and feedback sessions made it evident that I was part of an incredible team, where everyone was ready and willing to support one another.
Unfortunately, I fell ill from the 11th to the 14th of July, which meant that I missed out on several sessions and most of the fun activities. However, I made an effort to attend as much as I could, eager to be present and participate despite the setback.
One of the highlights of the sprint was the enlightening NGO sessions. Having worked in the development sector for over a decade, I rarely had the chance to gain insights into issues beyond those I had personally worked on. Meeting the Ajivika team, who shared their work and the challenges they were striving to address, was both inspiring and encouraging. Their efforts focused on supporting migrant labourers by helping them obtain government ID proofs, enhancing their skills to secure better wages, assisting their families in accessing government benefits, and providing legal support to resolve disputes between labourers and contractors.
Thanks to these eye-opening sessions, I now have a clearer understanding of the issues faced by migrant labourers. This newfound awareness will enable me to approach problem-solving with a more comprehensive perspective, ensuring that our solutions address the various labour-related challenges they encounter.
Moreover, the sprint provided me with the invaluable opportunity to engage in face-to-face conversations with team members, donors, and other NGOs. These interactions offered a broader perspective on the multifaceted work Tech4Dev is undertaking. As the trip came to a close, we bid farewell with smiles on our faces, knowing that we had formed deep emotional connections and strengthened our bond as a team.
The Avni Udaipur sprint was an unforgettable experience filled with learning, collaboration, and camaraderie. It reinforced my belief in the power of personal connections and the incredible work being done by Tech4Dev and its partner organisations. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this remarkable journey and look forward to the positive impact we will continue to create together.