Our Guiding Principles

After many discussions and thrashing out of concepts, Barefoot College through its own work ethos, however, laid down the Guiding Principles for the Code of Conduct.  This was finally agreed upon.  Which are as follows :

  • The organization must be living and working in close proximity to the rural community.
  • The organization must believe and practice a collective decision-making process.
  • The organization will not include any party-political individuals on the Board.
  • The organization must have an intrinsic belief in the democratic political process.
  • Organizations must ensure gender equity within the organization.
  • The organization must not judge the worth of people by their paper qualifications, but by their willingness and ability to learn.
  • The organization must not discriminate against caste, religion, political thinking.
  • The organization must create a space for creative and constructive personal growth within the organization.
  • The organization must believe in the law of the land and a commitment to social justice through non-violent means.
  • The organization must have respect for collective traditional knowledge, beliefs, wisdom, and practices of the community.
  • The organization must be committed to the preservation of natural resources and will not endorse processes that destroy, exploit, or abuse natural resources.
  • The organization must and will not encourage technology that deprives people of their livelihoods.
  • The chief functionaries will set a personal example in adhering to the Code.

This code of conduct has been exemplified by SAMPDA members who are Barefoot College’s affiliated voluntary organizations. Working all over the country who are different, autonomous but have a  tacit understanding within them. To adhere to this.

  • The organization must not judge the worth of people by their paper qualifications, but by their willingness and ability to learn.
  • The organization must not discriminate against caste, religion, political thinking.
  • The organization must create a space for creative and constructive personal growth within the organization.
  • The organization must believe in the law of the land and a commitment to social justice through non-violent means.
  • The organization must have respect for collective traditional knowledge, beliefs, wisdom, and practices of the community.
  • The organization must be committed to the preservation of natural resources and will not endorse processes that destroy, exploit, or abuse natural resources.
  • The organization must and will not encourage technology that deprives people of their livelihoods.
  • The chief functionaries will set a personal example in adhering to the Code.

This code of conduct has been exemplified by SAMPDA members who are Barefoot College’s affiliated voluntary organizations. Working all over the country who are different, autonomous but have a  tacit understanding within them. To adhere to this.

 

THE NON-NEGOTIABLES AT BAREFOOT COLLEGE

The Barefoot College’s consolidation of its body politic went from strength to strength, emboldening them to be committed to the six non-negotiables. With which we would not compromise. These were :

 

EQUALITY

The Barefoot College holds that every person in society is important and must be respected.  Anyone, regardless of caste,  class, educational qualification, or gender is eligible for any responsible staff position.

This value has shaped every aspect of life in Tilonia.  Equality means that every member is eligible for any responsible staff position.  Everyone eats together in a common mess and washes his own dishes.  They do manual labor regularly and keep the campus clean.  Caste hierarchies,  which exist in a traditional Indian set up, have no place here.

 

COLLECTIVE DECISION MAKING

The Barefoot College has attempted to remove both formal and informal hierarchies and encourages the entire staff to participate in decision-making processes.

Collective decision making has given Tilonia its strength and staying power in what is deliberately a loose structure.  Most issues are sorted out in a consensual manner between the people themselves, again strengthening the framework for participatory self-development. The structure of the organization is largely flat, encouraging a free flow of information and giving voice to the concerns of all the groups, making everyone accountable to each other.

 

DECENTRALISATION

The Barefoot College is committed to grassroots level planning. Rural communities can identify their own needs, elect their own leaders, and solve their own problems when they have access to information and political education.

Decentralized decision making is a key factor in the Barefoot College philosophy. The Barefoot College encourages a high degree of freedom and autonomy to its functionaries at all levels.

 

SELF-RELIANCE

When people develop competence and confidence and join together to collectively solve their problems using their own knowledge and skills they learn that they can depend on themselves.  The Barefoot College aims to build up self-esteem and self-reliance through all its programs.

Dependence on external agencies and the government for knowledge and skills is minimal. Natural resource management and adequate provision of basic needs are all looked after within and by the community.  Barefoot health workers,  engineers, accountants, and teachers have replaced the urban-based, paper qualified professionals on whom communities elsewhere are still dependent.

 

AUSTERITY

The staff leads a simple life working for the collective aspirations of rural communities rather than striving for individual material goals. This has resulted in the poor feeling a sense of ownership towards the Barefoot College since barriers and levels that prevent direct interaction do not exist here.

Austerity in thought and action is stressed. The compensation structure, for example, best exemplifies this austerity and equality with the highest-paid employee earning $ 120 per month, and the lowest-paid employee earning $ 40 per month.

 

OPENNESS TO LEARNING SKILLS

The staff is encouraged to learn and relearn by working in as many disciplines as possible. No one should say – “This is not my job.”