Balsena Election Part 3

The final election took place on the 1st of August in Kaparawadi. The elected representatives from each team came together to form the Balsena Council, the main decision-making group of the organisation, in order to elect a President and Vice-President to represent the organisation as a whole.

When everyone was settled we began the day with some discussion about the meaning of the word “Balsena”. The word directly translates to “children’s army” although the Gujarati word “sena” does not mean army in the military sense that it is used in English. We also discussed the meaning of membership and the responsibilities it brings, especially for the council members who were about to elect a leader for all the children of the collective.

The election itself is carried out in much the same way as the team elections. The candidates make themselves known to the group, and are given the opportunity to explain their aims and goals for the organisation if they are elected. There is also a question and answer session for the council members to raise and concerns or questions they may have directly to the candidates. After this, voting us carried out using the same weighted average system that is used in the team elections, with Shaishav staff members aiding the proceedings through the provision of materials and counting the votes.

This year, when the results came in, we found that 3 girls had taken 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. As we try to maintain a gender balance in the leadership, we asked the children if they were happy to have girls in both the top positions. After a vote and some discussion, it was decided that Riddhi, who took 1st place, would become President, whilst Rahul, who took 3rd, would be named Vice-President in order to maintain a gender balance. The next 4, Drushti, Isha and Nilesh and Jayesh (2 boys and 2 girls) would form a committee to aid the President and Vice-President. All this was decided by the Balsena council members with only minimal input from Shaishav.

We are extremely pleased to see Balsena being taken in the direction that the children want. This shows that the organisation is maturing and that it’s members are happy to take the responsibility of leadership and use it well.

Congratulations to Balsena’s new President, Riddhi, and Vice-President, Rahul!

A full report should be on the website in next week or so. In the meantime, here are some pictures.

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