Conference talks about failure as stepping stone to success

A panel discussion in progress.

Impact Failure Conclave 2018, hosted by IIM-B and SELCO foundation, was held at IIM-B recently. The event was meant to address the failures in development and acknowledge the learnings that emerge from them.

One of the sessions focused on the need for identifying and capturing failures. The panelists, Anshu Gupta, Anish Kumar, Dr. Robert Stoner and Svati Bhogle, were moderated by Rohini Nilekani.

The Livelihood session revolved around presenting failures from different angles. The session moderator Sankar Datta was joined by speakers Vishwanath Giriraj and Ganapathy Raju.

Dr. Ajit Kanitkar, a consultant with the Tata Education and Development Trust, was asked about the tendency to associate the government with the word 'failure'. He said, "Ascribing failures solely to an outside party is not a good thing. All of us have moments of success and failure. Like that, the government has also done a fair share of good and bad things."

Shania Mathew and Maya Mukund
 


One of the closing panelists was Amala Akkineni, who shared a personal story with the audience.

Amala Akkineni
Amala Akkineni

She's the co-founder of Blue Cross of Hyderabad and is working for the welfare of animals in the state of Andhra Pradesh. She calls herself as an ex-activist. "My husband and I started the welfare 25 years ago. Towards the second decade, we became part of the national movements that helped eradicate the abuse happening to animals. Eventually, we became one of the first ones to exit."

"In the last five years, we went through a very challenging phase where huge pressure was put on small groups managing with private funding. Suddenly, the awareness level for animal protection peaked and there were activists everywhere; they hijacked the animal welfare moment. There was lack of respect, lack of understanding of the issue before protesting and lack of decorum in the language used. I knew that I didn't want to be a part of it. I stepped away from it and therefore now hold the title of an ex-activist," she said.

"I wanted my organisation to stick to the goal we had. During the two days in a week that I volunteer, I would hear people at the shelter screaming, quitting and so on. People continued to call the welfare asking us to take in more animals. We were overcrowded but we were forced to continue taking in more. One day, I realised that this had to stop. I disconnected the website, locked the gates and put up a notice saying 'Organisation under transformation'."

"I held an emergency meeting and a few hours later, we decided to pick one task that worked well for us - neutering and spaying animals. So, on the 25th anniversary of the organisation, we officially became a spaying and neutering centre. Volunteers will still help rescue animals but it will take a few days to get back."

She added that failure has been her biggest teacher. "I have an Irish mother and a Bengali father. At the age of 3, the failure of my parents' marriage became my biggest teacher."

Anila Kurian

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