With an intention to train youngsters in areas related to governance, city NGO Praja Foundation has initiated a Municipal Councillor Fellowship Programme for college students .
Through this initiative, the organisation is aiming to teach the students about the functioning of the corporation and also attempt to work with the councillors from various wards.
In its first workshop held last week, the organisation addressed seven second-year law students from the Usha Pravin Gandhi College in Vile Parle. It is now expecting to get 25 fellows from across colleges by the end of this year.
“The corporation is one of the most important bodies for the functioning of the city. Through our workshops, we are training the students to take up local issues in the wards, interact with the councillors and think of innovative ways to solve these problems,” said Milind Mhaske, project director, Praja foundation.
In a programme stretching up to six months, the fellows will be expected to devote 20 hours a week. While the projects to be undertaken by them will be a mix of field work and research, the students will also get a three-week break which they can either utilize for their exams or as a vacation.
Although the foundation is in the initial stages of establishing the programme, it is expecting to run the fellowship every year from now on.
While the students are still figuring their career options, the workshops are motivating them to take up a career in governance.
19-year-old fellow Brinda Lashkari said, “As residents of Mumbai, we have witnessed the issues of potholes and garbage in the city time and again and have always wanted to do something about it. With the fellowship, we are planning to gain maximum knowledge about governance and working towards solving local issues in the city.”
Started in 1997, the Praja foundation has been working towards increasing accountability and transparency in governance.