The Sustainable Living Institute is an advocacy group based in Auroville, India. Founded in 2015, this organization wants to bring the principles of Auroville to the rest of Tamil Nadu, by working with government to instil policy. Their ideology is based directly on the Auroville charter. According to their website the SLI is a
“… unique initiative by the Government of Tamil Nadu- It is the only Institute of its kind in all of South Asia offering Sustainable Livelihood Capacity Building solutions. The Institute conceptualizes, designs, organizes and delivers programmes for skill, knowledge and perspective building on sustainable livelihoods to the officials of the Rural Development Department as well as leaders of the Rural Communities.”
The website sounds great but wasn’t very clear about its goals. Upon visiting the Institute in person, further clarity was not provided. The purpose of the visit was to learn how AUP communications students could contribute to their cause. After an hour presentation we still couldn’t grasp the significance of the entire project.What specific actions were taken? How did their actions enable sustainable living within the local community?
Honestly I felt as though the presentation could have been more effective. The first slide focuses on training, innovation research, consulting, outreach, documentation and communication. Each slide had the right words but after about the 15th slide I began to disengage. I still didn’t know their purpose. To put this into perspective, the other organizations were clear from the beginning about their purpose. They shared their personal stories, passions and values, which allowed us to connect to their mission clearly. The presenters at SLI presented an informative, well structured power point presentation, but lacked this connection to the people in the room and to the essence of the movement. They under utilized the power of personal testimony, which is the quintessential component to advocacy. It is what moves people to come together under a common cause.