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Don Bosco Development Offices in South Asia meet to discuss Sustainable Development Goals
By Father Noel Maddhichetty
Mumbai, Aug. 1. The Regional Meeting of the Don Bosco Development Offices of South Asia was held at the Mathias Institute and Salesian Provincial House, Shillong on the 26th and 27th July 2019. The Executive Directors from all the eleven Provincial Development Offices(PDO) and the BOSCONET team participated in the meeting.  
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The theme of this year's Regional meet was ''Unfolding Opportunities for Development'', with primary focus on creating strategies for moulding the PDOs into its more comprehensive role, as the 'Think Tank' of the province and helping the marginalized young for a better life.

The meeting was inaugurated by Father Paul Olphindro Lyngkot SDB, Provincial- Salesian Province of Shillong, with a welcome speech.

A special message for the PDO's network from  Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga, Regional Councillor for Don Bosco South Asian region, was read out to the audience.

The first session of the day was facilitated by Mr. Raj Kumar B, Project Manager-All India Institute of Local Self Governance, whose session on ''Future of Urbanization'', focused on the need to build smart and inclusive cities, in the light of the increasing migration to cities. In the second session, Mr. Ranjan Baruah, Director-North East Youth, focused on the need to research and invest on Green Skills, and to step away from the usual technical job-oriented skill training. The session was particularly relevant in the wake of the saturation in the skill training industry and diminishing number of jobs for the trained youth.

Father Noel Maddhichetty, Director-Bosconet moderated the discussion among the development offices about the challenges faced on the presentation of  PDO's documents. He introduced the specific tasks of the PDOs, as per the new document released by the International PDO Meet, held in Nairobi,2018. Every province presented their individual experiences on the presentation and reception of the document in their individual provinces. Based on the shared experiences, areas where PDOs needed to be strengthened to undertake their new role were identified as - Research and Analysis, Strategic Planning, Networking, Resource Development and Volunteering & Awareness creation.

The next day each province presented the projects that have had significant impact in their region, following which, the need was put forth to come together, synergize and take these projects to the national level.

Furthermore, the need to build the capacities of the PDO's staff as per the new PDO document was stressed. Father Vincent Thamburaj, the assistant director of Bosconet, presented the current and future projects to the PDO's Network and explained the processes of implementation in the provinces.

In conclusion of the strategic meeting of the Regional Heads, the PDOs were asked to streamline and collate the needs of their region and have a futuristic vision while attempting to channel all the developmental interventions. The capacity building program for the PDO staff, a Disaster Preparedness workshop, was decided to be held in Yercaud, Tamil Nadu on the 9th and 10th September 2019. The organizing province and the participants were thanked for their continued collaboration.
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