Being Compassionate Kozhikode – A Conversation with Prasanth N

“Once Mahatma Gandhi said: I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man/[woman] whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him/[her]. Will he/[she] gain anything by it? Will it restore him/[her] to a control over his [her] own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and yourself melt away,” said Prasanth N, IAS, District Collector, Kozhikode

To tap the online space, social media was successfully used as a tool to reach out to the civil society and ensure their participation. Active dynamic communication with the civil society, for instance, listening to their feedbacks, helped in creating an open platform to co-create and collaborate.

The premise of Compassionate Kozhikode is “No cash, Kindness in kind only.” The ‘no cash’ model was relatively new and turned out to be a challenge to educate the public to actively participate in projects as opposed to the conventional way of donating money.

“Participation and engagement of civil society is quintessential for the success of every such project,” says Prasanth N.

According to Prasanth, unconventional non-hierarchical organizational structure was confusing to many. Each project addresses different missionaries, groups and multiple stake holders and hence can’t expect the same level of participation.

“Compassionate Kozhikode is a successful, sustainable and replicable model which can be expanded to additional districts. Stabilising existing projects and the reach is what we look forward to. Award will give us lot of credibility to do the same. Award will give us lot of credibility to do the same.”