“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhiji said “If you change yourself you will change your world. If you change how you think then you will change how you feel and what actions you take. And so the world around you will change. Not only because you are now viewing your environment through new lenses of thoughts and emotions but also because the change within can allow you to take action in ways you wouldn’t have – or maybe even have thought about – while stuck in your old thought patterns.

Effect+ workshops used interactive learning methods to teach students how they can advance the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while also helping them develop intercultural competences, become savvy about the world around them, and be prepared to make an impact in their local communities. This supports the global movement to advance intercultural learning and global citizenship education and AFS’s role in it. 

Group of students being part of the interactive exercise

This project emerged from the Efeito+ Global Citizenship Education workshop for local impact, a community impact event that was held during the 2016 World Congress in Rio de Janeiro by AFS Brazil, AFS International and Children’s International Summer Villages (CISV) Rio. Throughout 2017, AFS Brazil replicated the event in two municipalities. In 2018, it plans to hold five more Effect+ workshops. In addition to working toward the AFS Impact Goals in the new AFS Strategy, we could strengthen our relationships with existing school partners, gained introductions to and welcome into the AFS network as new school partners, advocate Sustainable Development Goals #4 (Education) & #16 (Peace), collaborate with other local organizations who shared our values – to join the AFS Learning-to-Live-Together movement, gain positive visibility for AFS as an educational organization.

AFS India wanted  to reach out to least 10 schools and 500 students in pan India by August 2018 with Effect+ workshops – all in support of the AFS Impact Goals and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The response was overwhelming as the school started in July. So far we have trained 418 and will reach the target of 500 students in 13 schools across the country.

Students engaging in the discussions

AFS India had webinars with National office under the guidance of National director Divya Arora. ICL trainers team consisting of Najmuzzaman Mohammad, Arvind Agrawal, Ajay Mehta, Sarita Badhwar, Keval Gajjar, Manshi Gala, Chaitanya Gokhale, Pankti Gohel and Nishita Mehta came forward to make the event successful. Our sponsors were Info Beans Indore. Dr. Sumer Singh encouraged the project by getting the sponsorship due to which 500 students and 13 schools could reap the benefit of the educational workshop. We had constant guidance from Ana Carolina Cassiano.

To become a change maker it is important that each individual identifies the strength in oneself. Activities of the workshop were so designed so that the students know themselves, understand the interconnectivity and interdependence. How individual action can cause “butterfly effect“ intentionally or unintentionally lead to a positive or negative effect.

“What’s my place”, students got to empathize with different types of people around the world and their problems through their characters. They realized the privileges they have and how to use them to help people who don’t have these privileges.  Finally in session“we generate Effect +”, the students wrote down what they learnt during the whole day and also identified how they want to effect change in their community. They formed groups for cleaning rivers, stopping plastic use, stopping gender discrimination and supporting animals. They reflected what next steps they can take in these groups.

Key-note speakers sharing their valuable learning with the students

Keynote speakers brought a spice to the workshop. Students had interactive sessions wherein global concerns like gender equality, leadership, sustainability, environment, educational opportunities, inclusive societies and caring for rivers were discussed. Student participation was commendable.

We are grateful to students, principals and staff of Chanderbala Modi Academy, Ankleshwar, Gujarat; The Emerald Heights International, Indore; British Co Ed . School, Patiala; Vidyashilp Bangalore; Punjab Public School, Nabha; Heritage School , Jammu; Pine Grove School, Solan [H.P]; Mayo College Girls School, Ajmer; Sanskar Valley School, Bhopal; Choithram International School, Indore; Sunbeam Schools, (Lahartara and Varuna) Varanasi; M.B. Patel English Medium Secondary & Higher Secondary School, Gandhinagar; Global City International School, Bangalore; and Pragnya Bodhini High School, Mumbai who participated enthusiastically and supported the workshop whole heartedly. We also thank our key note speakers for their valuable contribution to the workshops and enthuse the students by their contribution as a Change maker of the community. Our journey of helping the youngsters to grow and become the global citizens of the tomorrow’s world continues.