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Goodwill Social Work Centre | Dr. J. Christopher Daniel | Interview

Since its inception the Goodwill Social Work Centre has been working in the areas of children’s rights, children’s rights through artwork, Children’s environmental health rights, humanitarian aid, Intensive family preservation of dysfunctional families, Youth and women development, non-formal employment training for youth, community technology services, environment education and action, social research, NGO capacity building and networking and NGO consultancy. i-genius previously wrote a news story on GSWC and so this we follow up with it’s Founder and i-genius member, Dr. J. Christopher Daniel.


i-genius: Why did you set up Goodwill Social Work Centre?
Dr. J. Christopher Daniel:
Beginning my professional career as a social work and Human resources management academic in 1972 I branched out to become a social entrepreneur by establishing the Goodwill Social Work Centre as a registered NGO in India with the purpose of working with children,youth and  women in families in distress during which time I developed the Goodwill social work model as a practice approach. As an Academic I  made a career decision not only to teach professional social work, human resources management, NGO management and project management  but also, to be a practicing social worker during my professional career spanning over 35 years.

i-genius: What makes a good candidate for a CEO?
A  CEO ought to be a credible leader who creates values for himself/herself, his/her followers and his/her organisation in terms of quality, performance and results and who always ‘walks the talk’. The degree to which a CEO as leader is seen as credible is the degree to which the followers will allow themselves to be influenced and does not appear as the ‘know-it-all leader’.

i-genius: Who’s/what’s been your continued source of inspiration?
Most importantly, my professional education and training in social work and my wide academic teaching and field based experience at the college of Social work where I have had worked for over 35 years has  inspired me to a great extent. My continued source of inspiration has been the communities of people from whom I have learned social realities and with whom I have been working since the founding of the Goodwill Social Work Centre.

i-genius: In what way is the work you do related to social enterprise?
Goodwill Social Work Centre as a nonprofit combines social philanthropy, professional social work and social development in the delivery of a wide spectrum of services to the community. It is a groundbreaking social enterprise that implements new ideas that revitalise, challenge and grow local communities touching and enriching the lives of children, youth, women, dysfunctional families and also builds NGO capacity through networking initiatives and empowering young women  with entrepreneurial  skills to advance economically and assisting them for gainful employment. Please check it out: https://www.facebook.com/notes/goodwill-social-work-centre/success-stories-of-sampled-beneficiaries-january-2010-june-2011/437922496227152, to read  the success stories of sampled beneficiaries my social enterprise  under CTCs and non formal employment training projects for children, youth and women in and around Madurai,Tamilnadu, India

i-genius: What difficulties did you experience setting up Goodwill Social Work Centre?
Though I have not experienced any perceptible difficulties in setting up Goodwill Social Work Centre, fundraising for our development projects and building a substantial  and active donor base for continuing  to receive support over a long period of time is a major challenging task.

i-genius: What are the most crucial things you have done to grow Goodwill Social Work Centre?
I have made a significant contribution to humanity at large through my contribution and operation of the Goodwill social work centre which has been working in the areas of children’s rights, children’s rights through artwork, Children’s environmental health rights, Intensive family preservation for dysfunctional families, non-formal employment training for youth, humanitarian aid, community technology services, environment education and action, social research, NGO capacity building, Global Links Initiative(UK)’s networking in Tamilnadu(India) and NGO consultancy.

I am instrumental in winning the most prestigious “Panda IT Aid 2006 Initiative: Panda Software Digital Solidarity Grants Program” for the Goodwill social work centre awarded by Panda Software International, Spain.

As India Representative (Tamilnadu) of the Global Links Initiative, U.K during 2006-2009  I have  involved in NGO networking and capacity building initiatives among the GLI(UK) Tamilnadu networkers, India

As Project Leader of the ‘Corporates-Goodwill Social Work Centre partnership initiative I have  actively involved in partnering with multinational companies  and International funding organizations in taking up cross sector collaborative development projects for children, youth and women  since 1996.

i-genius: Why is it important to use art to explore and protect children’s rights?
It is important in as much it empowers children in the age group of 7-17 with information on their rights, developing skills in them in arts and learning to combine arts with the study on their rights and inspiring them to discover their unique talents through a variety of hands-on workshops in arts and crafts and folk arts. Children put their creative energy into their artistic expression. They show a high level of creativity in their artwork and a inner-connective knowledge and awareness of child rights issues and concern which affect them and children worldwide. Goodwill social Work Centre believes that the art painting, murals, art models they make and their learning of children rights through folk arts will make an impact on the viewers and inspire them become more proactive in the protection and promotion of children’s rights, which is an adult obligation.

i-genius: How do you measure the impact of the work you do?
The impact is measured using intervention-oriented research within the framework of quasi experimental which comprises pre and post assessment surveys and quantitative and qualitative research approaches which include interview method, case study, focus group discussions etc.

i-genius: What future plans do you have?
Christopher: A
. Seeking funding collaboration for taking up innovative development projects for children, youth and women in particular and replicating our existing projects to benefit more target population. B. Taking up ‘Corporates-Goodwill Social Work Centre partnership initiatives. C. Networking with Corporates, International funding organisations and foundations.

i-genius: What is your favourite motto in life?

i-genius: What advice would you give to those starting up a social business/project?
Professionals who start up a social business/project ought to develop work related behaviour which demands certain basic workplace competencies in order to meet both individual and organizational goals. The 21st century social enterprise/nonprofit requires a new breed of ‘knowledge workers’ who have to work more with their brains instead of their backs. To be a successful Social entrepreneur  one must have acquired ‘21st century literacy’ namely the ability to read, write, and compute with competence, think analytically, adapt to change, work in teams and use technology.

Professionals aspiring to become a social entrepreneur   should explore the basic elements of self-awareness which may help him/her decide what competencies he/she has acquired during the process of academic learning and what skills he/she may want to develop in him/her prior to taking up social entrepreneurship initiatives. Make a self assessment whether I am a ‘qualified graduate’ or a ‘competent candidate’ and my qualifications do really dovetail with the basic workplace competencies.

This interview was conducted as part of the i-genius Getting Started interview series. If you would like to learn how to get started in your social business, then why not take our ‘Getting Started – Social Business Start Up’ online course with i-genius Academy. To find out more, click here!


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