Then and Now… Some trends at JCI Curepipe

24 Sep

JCI Curepipe has been active and creating positive change for more than a quarter century now. Many events and projects have been appreciated at local and national level. However, a lot can change  in 25 years, and so does motivation and the way to proceed. In this context,  some of the trends have been analysed over three generations, with Sen Patrice Ferriere, representing the Local President 15 years ago, Nessen Ramsamy, as Local President 4 years ago and Prashant Lallah, as one of the contemporary Local President.

These gentlemen have been asked a set of same questions with a view to analysing the trends over the years for these factors.

1. Why did you join JCI Curepipe?

Personal development is naturally a forte with those who join JCI, and it is no surprise to see that even the ex- Presidents valued the potency of the organisation as a tool in aiding in developing their personality. Over the years, JCI has proven itself time and again as a platform where everything could be achieved through hard work, and responsibility was allocated to those who deserved it. For these reasons, many members see it as an opportunity to prove their worth, and forge their character on the way.“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”  For some of the members, the love of the country fuels the need to join hands with likeminded peers in in the hope that in numbers lays the strength to help and give back to the country. Community projects are common within the organisation, and more often than not, the results are there for all to see, and brings to all the satisfaction of knowing that they have done something to help those who need it, and maybe they can do a bit more next time.

2. How was the availability of facilities during your time in JCI (communication, fax, meeting place, etc)?

As expected, as time passed, there was an increase in the availability of facilities. As communication got easier, the life of the JCI Presidents grew simpler. Facilities were easily available, and it was much easier to get in touch with members. It is also true that with time, members could offer more help, as the number of members grew, and with them the reach of the JCI network. As time went by, JCI established its name, and as such, it was definitely easier to recognise. For those organising events and searching for meeting places, the doors opened more readily. The easy accessibility to mobile phones and email was also a big step forward, as meeting invites by email and instant communication through text messages became the norm. Nowadays, it is impossible to imagine running such an organisation without them, and we are sure that many would wonder how our seniors managed to hold the reins so effectively.

3. How would you rate recruitment of new members during your time in JCI?

The recruitment of new members has always been a tricky affair, and it has always been treated as such.  While word of mouth remains the best way to draw new members, social networking and media has done their part in helping. At most recruitment meetings, attendees stand up, introduce themselves and point out the person from whom they heard about JCI. However, the number of people who hear about the organisation through Facebook is increasing rapidly, and more than once, those who are interested have read about events organised by the team and consequently contact the members for more information. While ex- Presidents are unanimous to say that recruitment is a delicate process, it is true that some found it easier than others to attract new members. While advertising and marketing remains the keys to attracting more people, many Presidents count on the members themselves to bring in more members, in line with the Impact of One.

4. How would you rate participation in members’ meetings during your time in JCI?

It would seem that the trend in member’s participation has generally decreased over the years. While 15 years ago, member participation was high, it decreased considerably to the point where several invites were necessary. This can be attributed to the fact that in the early days, recruitment was done principally by word to mouth, which resulted in a close knit group of people who already know each other. Thus, it would have been easier to set meetings at times where everyone was free. In the later years, as the number of members grew, so did the difficulty in gathering all the members at a time. Nowadays, the trend has picked up again, but only with an average audience; surely there is much room for improvement in attracting members back again.

5. How would you rate participation in events of JCI Curepipe during your time in JCI?

We finally reached a point where all the generations of JCI Presidents agree completely with each other. It would seem that event participation has remained steady in the last 15 years, with more than 70% of members attending.Participating in events is after all the main aim of all those who join JCI and the members have adhered to this principle faithfully. Of course, we should always strive to outdo ourselves, and the objective should be 100%, but Local Presidents can be proud of their respective members, and the constant dedication they have shown towards the organisation throughout the years.

6. How would you rate the ease of obtaining sponsorship for events of JCI Curepipe during your time in JCI?

Another tricky issue that has to be dealt with each year is sponsorship. While everyone may be full of good ideas, these are not always feasible. The main obstacle to starting a project remains the financial means to do so. Obtaining sponsorships is singularly the most difficult part of setting up a project, and also the most determining.Throughout the years, Local Presidents have convinced firms and companies into providing funds to bring about the various projects that they were planning. Some evidently found it harder than others, but everyone agrees to say that if you are dedicated to the cause, and give yourself enough time to look around, you ultimately achieved the desired results. With JCI Curepipe having been accredited with the CSR Foundation since 2010, everyone is hoping for sponsors to be more willing to part with their funds, and help those with good intentions.

Concluding Remarks

Our brief study has indicated that although there has been some variations in the factors under study, in general, things have remain nearly constant over the last 15 years. While this conclusion may at first seem insignificant, it is a fact that increasing effort has been put in by successive Local Presidents to maintain this status quo.  Fifteen years ago, there was no internet and no Facebook. Youngsters had few ways to express themselves and JCI was a golden opportunity to meet other young active citizens and plan together for projects which would positively impact the society. Over the years, and with the advent of technology, more ways have been available to young citizens to express their views and creativity, resulting in a decreasing desire to meet up to work on projects. Hence, technology may have put a major dent in JCI recruitment and new ways now have to be devised to attract potential members for the sustainability of the organisation.We wish to thank 1996 LP Sen Patrice, 2007 LP Nessen and 2010 LP Prashant for their time and contribution to this study.

Darshini Servanshingh (JCI Curepipe Member)
Kiran Bhujun (2011 National Secretary and JCI Curepipe Member)


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