What is the programme?
ADVOCACY INTERNSHIP PROGRAMME (AIP) is a unique venture of the National Centre for Advocacy Studies. Inaugurated in 1999, the AIP aims at developing a set of dedicated and active youth committed to social change and justice. It is a programme that caters to the needs of social activism and enriches participants with a political perspective, knowledge base, and skills required for effective people-centred advocacy. It is designed to prepare young people to work in the field of development and social change through an 18-month process of learning that combines academic inputs, capacity building, field experiences and perspective building
What does the programme involve?
The multidisciplinary course is designed to emphasize a rights-based perspective to social change, focusing on the concepts and practices of people-centred advocacy and human rights activism (rights of dalits and women; right to food, health and work). The topics covered include the character of Indian society, polity and economy; globalization and imperialism; human rights law and social justice; approaches to social change and social movements; environmental protection; policy analysis; campaign planning; networking; and research methodologies.
Within 5-6 years of the beginning of the programme, an Academic Council was formulated, to advise and guide the Advocacy Internship. Besides, a resource team comprising experts from diverse fields was formed to facilitate the Internship programme.
Advocacy Internship Programme in a current year would usually deal with two consecutive batches. One which has completed the in-house programme and is placed in an organization for 6 months and the second which is still undergoing the in-house programme within the organization. Under Internship, the interns also make three field visits to grassroots advocacy organizations to have hands-on-experience of social action and advocacy.
Who are the interns?
Criteria for selection of the interns included educational qualifications (preferably post-graduate level) and experience (about two years’ association with social action groups). Priority would be given to candidates from remote areas who have limited learning opportunities. However, moving beyond the realms of education and experience, potential candidates would attend a two-day residential camp to assess their attitudes, aptitude and motivation levels.
Each intern is placed with an advocacy organization for six months. During this period, apart from working as a part of that organization, they are expected to write a dissertation on the process of campaign within the context of advocacy and socio-political change.
The six-month placements have great impact on the interns, with them finding the experience inspiring, many even going through an inner transformation. They not only begin to understand how advocacy processes work in the field, but the skills they learn during their in-house training are practiced in the field.
In a constant endeavor to improvise the program, in 2006-07 sessions with a psychologist and councillor were introduced. These sessions, which focused on self awareness, self development and interpersonal relationships, were meant to help interns understand themselves better so they can change for the better and become more effective in their work.
The Advocacy Internship Programme has produced around 100 young advocates who are working in various positions in organizations from grassroots to INGOs.
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