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Don Bosco Network South Asia-BOSCONET Annual Provincial Development Offices (PDO) Meet to Chalk Out Roadmap

By Father Noel Maddhichetty
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Mumbai, Aug. 22. The Don Bosco Network-BOSCONET Annual Provincial Development Office (PDO) Meet  was held on 20 August 2020. The online video conference saw the participation of 11 PDO offices, alongwith BOSCONET Provincial In-charge Father Agilan Sarprasadam [INT] and BOSCONET staff. The meeting began with BOSCONET DIrector Father Noel Maddhichetty and Asst. Director Father Santhan Ubagram welcoming all the participants and inviting Father Jayaprakash-Director, Bosco Reach Out, to lead the prayer. Father Sarprasadam extended appreciation to BOSCONET for raising funds to facilitate Don Bosco India's relief operations during the pandemic. The PDOs were lauded for carrying out COVID-19 emergency relief work on a massive scale across India.
Don Bosco Network National Coordinator, Louis Manohar  shared project ideas which could potentially be implemented on a national level by the network.
   1. SMiLE Project - A migrant labour empowerment project which educates migrant labourers about their rights, builds their capacity through life skills and additional work skill education and trains them to empower other labourers by sharing their knowledge.
   2. Smart Classrooms - The project intends to upgrade rural schools with smart classes and train its teachers with elaborate teaching modules. It aims to bridge the digital divide between rural and urban students.
   3. COVID-19 Safe Schools - The project aims to prepare Don Bosco schools to reopen in a safe environment. The prevention strategies include equipping the schools with infrared gun thermometers, automatic sanitizer dispensers, disinfectant machines, hand washing stations and personal protective equipment (PPE) for cleaning staff.
   4. Disaster Management Training- Indian states are witnessing recurrent disasters like floods in certain states. Women in such areas can be trained in disaster management to build resilience and mitigate future losses.
   5. School Fees subsidy - It involves raising funds to sponsor students in Don Bosco schools, whose parents are unable to pay school fees due to loss of income/unemployment.
   6. Capacity Building of PDOs in the domain of financial sustainability, project implementation and multimedia.
   7. Support for the higher education of Salesians.
Additionally, Father John (PDO-INC) proposed devising a project based on providing agro-based training to the people who have returned to their villages post lockdown.
Father Maddhichetty presented BOSCONET's Annual Report (2019-2020) which delineated the sanctioned and implemented CSR/foreign projects; funds raised and expenditure from its six programmes - corporate social partnership program (CSPP), social development program (SDP), individual partnership program (IPP), education to social giving (ESG), donor promotion program (DPP) and communication for partnership (CFP). The financial details of 2019-2020 were presented and it was shared that BOSCONET has become a self-sustaining entity.
BOSCONET COO, Samrat Ganguly introduced an online platform to the PDOs wherein school students can be enrolled. The platform enables the students to create digital fundraisers for NGOs. It trains them to create marketing content, launch fundraiser campaigns and mobilise people to donate for the organization's cause.
The proposal discussed will be presented to the SPCSA meeting to be held from 1-5 September for approval. The Annual Meet concluded with the PDO partners agreeing to deliberate on the proposed projects/initiatives and to provide feedback at the earliest. BOSCONET is to prepare project proposals based on the feedback and data provided by the PDOs. These will be presented to corporate, foundation and foreign donors.  Father Lawrence Montiero Director of Konkan Development Society [INP] proposed the vote of thanks.
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