Over the past 6-months, EduCARE India has seen a lot of development and improvement, and many incredible interns to help lead the way. Job roles have been given more clarity, more resources and tools have become available to interns and overall it has really strengthened the team dynamic across all clusters, from Himachal to Rajasthan. Although the entire COM (Collaborative Operations Management) team strives to ensure this happens, there is one position above all that seems to have a lot of pressure put on their shoulders when policies, processes and procedures are not properly organized within the clusters and that individual is the Cluster Coordinator.
Every cluster in EduCARE has a Cluster Coordinator: Himachal Pradesh (Naddi and Rait), Punjab (Dholbaha and Janauri), Bikaner (Gajner and Chandasar) and Jaisalmer. Their responsibilities include new intern induction, keeping projects inline with the clusters strategic plan, goals and objectives, scheduling, meeting facilitation, conflict management and documentation…to name a few. It is a big role and an important role to ensure the cluster runs like a well-oiled machine.
To help continue the growth and structure of EduCARE, the COM team made an executive decision to try out a “Cluster Coordinator Retreat” – a three day get-together/meeting for all EduCARE’s Cluster Coordinators to come together to discuss topics such as the induction process, human resources, goal setting, conflict management and documentation. The first retreat took place from May 27th to May 29th in Paro, Punjab, where the Punjab Cluster’s ViKAS Center is located, in between Dholbaha and Janauri. The three-day retreat included open discussions on how to improve, grow and organize our clusters, along with workshops as I mentioned above. We also engaged in Punjab’s cluster projects, joining the Punjab team for a visit to the Paro migrant camp where the cluster is managing an eco-garden, eco-toilet built late last year, a chicken coop and ASP (after-school program).
Although the word “retreat” makes it sounds like three days of resting at some exotic spa in the mountains, our group of eight actually had a really great time learning and sharing with one another, engaging in the workshops delivered by OPS and when the days came to an end, cooking, eating and spending time together. Meetings are always easy to do online or over the phone but face-to-face is always a more personal and enjoyable experience. Leaving the retreat, I felt at ease with my workload compared to when I first started. When I first arrived, the only real training I received was being handed an 18-page manual, which gave me an instant headache. I think the three days were extremely helpful especially for new Cluster Coordinators who are about to transition into the role. I now feel extremely confident that they will be able to grasp what their job entails and not feel overwhelmed knowing that the COM team is here to support them, their fellow Cluster Coordinators are here to lend a hand and that although the workload may seem a little heavy at times, the organization is behind them 100%.
As I return to my cluster, I feel very confident in moving forward in my role and am excited to implement some of the positive changes and improvements we discussed. I really feel they will continuously benefit not only the cluster but also our entire team individually in their project management skills.
Bikaner Cluster Coordinator