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Frequently Asked Questions

Democracy Express

Who should apply?


This program is meant for people who have begun working in the political field. People who have a minimum 6 months of active political experience - student leaders who have contested elections (either won or not); full time party workers; people who are planning to contest (or have in the past contested) at panchayat, municipal or state level roles etc. are all eligible to apply.




Why should I apply for this program?


If you want to 1) nurture your inner self for a political journey 2) enhance key political skills like campaigning; communication; strategy etc. 3) increase your political knowledge 4) be part of a thriving political community of leaders




What are the dates of the program?


It’s a 9-day learning journey across four southern states. The four states we will be travelling across are Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The Program starts on 3rd December 2021 and ends on 12th December 2021.




What would the language of instruction be?


The language of instruction will be English keeping the southern states in mind. Hence, its important that all applicants and participants understand English and can speak it fluently




What are the prerequisites for joining the program?


Working professionals or active political people can definitely apply as long as they can commit to 9 days’ full time, to this in-person program. The 9 days journey will be intense. Each of our modules require an extensive set of pre readings to be completed prior. The days will be long with multiple sessions and discussions along with travel. They will also be part of small groups where they complete group tasks together as well.




What are COVID guidelines to be a part of the Program?


Everyone who is part of the cohort needs to be fully vaccinated (both doses). During the program, use of masks and sanitizer is compulsory. On arrival, an additional negative RT-PCR report, not older than 48 hours will be required at the time of boarding into the program.




Is there a cost for the program? Are there any scholarships available?


The program cost is 40,000 INR. Each participant is expected to contribute a minimum of 15,000 INR. Beyond that, we operate on a trust based model that each participant will contribute according to their capacity.
We do provide full and partial scholarships that cover cost of the program; for those who do not have the financial capacity to support themselves for the program. We provide special scholarships to women and people from marginalized communities. The selection process only looks at the merit and potential of each candidate. If you are right for this program, we will collectively figure out how to find the resources to support your learning.




Since it’s a travelling program how we will be travelling across states?


We will be travelling across states via a designated rented sleeper bus.




What sort of training curriculum do you provide?


The program provides an interdisciplinary curriculum to cultivate political readiness in our participants. We also use a variety of instructional methods, including peer learning, debates, dialogues, lectures, presentations and on ground immersions. Please refer to our program page for further details on the curriculum and program.




Do you provide a degree /certificate?


No, we do not provide any degree or certificate.




Will I have placements after this program? Can you share more about the alumni of ISD ?


Democracy Express is one of ISD’s flagship programs. Once the program is over, we would continue to invite you to exclusive alumni learning experiences, connect alumni to political pathways and opportunities and provide long term support and guidance for your future political journey.




What kind of support can I expect to post the program?


Democracy Express is one of ISD’s flagship programs. Once the program is over, we would continue to invite you to exclusive alumni learning experiences, connect alumni to political pathways and opportunities and provide long term support and guidance for your future political journey.





She Represents

Who are previous participants of this program?


You can find the 2019 and 2020 cohorts for Democracy Express and She Represents on our alumni page.




What are the alumni opportunities after this program for me?


Each of our programs hope to provide an enriching experience. We do not provide any formal placements or internships opportunities. Our alumni have gone on to do a variety of things and their learning and skills from our programs have helped them on their journey. Find their testimonials on the alumni page.




What alumni support do you provide?


ISD provides long term support and mentorship to all our participants. As alumni they are connected to the regional and national alumni networks. They receive exclusive access to future conversations with political leaders. There will be annual residentials for alumni as well as need based skill and coaching sessions.





The Good Politician

Why should I apply? How is this different from other training programs out there?


Unlike other academic or training programs that expect students to take a whole year off, The Good Politician with it’s unique executive nature, allows participants to stay in their current roles and be part of the program. The rigorous ‘learn by doing’ philosophy that this program is based on allows participants to learn during the residentials and instantly practice and apply the learning to their work during field time. It is meant for active practitioners and is designed to help you in your current work.




When does this program start?


The program begins on 15th Aug 2021 and ends in May 2022.




What is the structure of this 9 month program?


The 9 months are divided into 3 trimesters. Each trimester will have a 2-3 week ‘residential’ when participants are expected to spend in person full time with the team and the entire cohort. The ‘residential’ is followed by 12-16 weeks ‘field time’ applying their learning and practicing in their own regions. During residentials along with rigorous academic and skill training, participants will also travel across different regions of the country to experience the diversity of India.




What is the time commitment needed for this program?


Working professionals or active political people can definitely apply as long as they can commit to 7 weeks of in person time and weekly online classes during the rest of the program. The 7 weeks in residentials will be intense. Each of our modules require an extensive set of pre readings to be completed prior. The days will be long with multiple sessions and discussions along with travel. They will also be part of small groups where they complete group tasks together as well be part of regional circles where they work on their field projects together. During the field time, they will apply relevant learning to their field and through weekly online calls, keep working on them. We expect our participants to take their commitment seriously, complete all expected pre readings, project related assignments and work as well as deliver their commitments to their team members




Where will this program happen?


Each residential will happen in different parts of the country. The first ‘residential’ will happen in Delhi and villages of Uttar Pradesh. The second ‘residential’ will begin in Mumbai, some rural villages of Maharashtra and end in Hyderabad. The third ‘residential’ will begin in Bangalore, rural Kerala and culminate in Tamil Nadu. The rest of the time you will be in the field, which is your own area and constituency of service.




What sort of training and curriculum do you provide?


The program provides an interdisciplinary curriculum to cultivate political readiness in our participants. We also use a variety of instructional methods, including peer learning, debates, dialogues, lectures, presentations and on ground immersions. Please refer to our program page for further details on the curriculum and program.




Can I skip a residential, come in a few days late or leave earlier?


No. Each residential and trimester is carefully designed to help the overall leadership development of the participants as well as caters to specific needs and skill sets for the field time. We run short and intense modules over a few days and missing a few days would mean missing a chunk of learning. However, emergencies will be considered on a case to case basis.




Do you provide a degree or certificate?


Yes. Upon completion of the course, you will receive a completion certificate which acknowledges that you attended and completed The Good Politician with us. ISD chose to be an action focused organisation and not an academic institution. Therefore we do not have the accreditations required to issue a formal degree or diploma. Our focus is to provide the right mentoring, support and direction to future political leaders, and we hope to provide that through each of our programs. We believe that is far more valuable that any certification could deliver.




What is the medium of instruction?


Our participants come from across the country and speak varied languages. To make it accessible most of the instruction will be in English and Hindi. We expect that our participants will be able to proficient in either of the two. We will provide all our reading material in both languages. During the course, there will be additional support provided to ensure bilingual instruction. If you have more questions, feel free to write to us.




Do you provide internships or placements with leaders and parties?


No, the Good Politician program or the team does not take responsibility for any internships or post program placements. The program provides ample opportunities to network, interact and hear several political leaders. It is upto the participants to use such opportunities to help their prospects. ISD remains a non-partisan stakeholder.




What does a day during the residential look like?


We come together for a very short time during residentials, so these days are pretty intense. Our days begin fairly early by 6 am with a morning circle with the entire cohort. We then engage in some physical exercise, meditation and shram daan across the campus. After breakfast our days will begin around 8:30 am and will engage with content sessions, meet external speakers, travel etc. Our day ends together with a closing circle with the team around 9:00 pm after which the participants will retire for the day, or engage informally.




What does a day during the field time look like?


Field time differs for each of our participants, based on where they are working. During field time, participants will have weekly touch points online. These will happen mostly over the weekends. Alternate weeks will be sessions with faculty, team and external guests. In the meantime, participants will be expected to send in a few reflections from their field experiences, share progress and also receive need based support.




What are important expectations during the program?


  • Completion of necessary pre and post work for the trimester
  • Attendance to residentials and field sessions
  • Respect towards everyone and integrity towards commitments




What are the boarding and lodging arrangements during residentials?


ISD is a frugal organisation and our travel, lodging and food arrangements are simple and basic. The team and the participants will live in same gender dorms or community rooms during the residentials. Simple vegetarian food will be provided on campus. We will account for food allergies and other medical conditions. Travel will be conducted via sleeper class trains or non AC buses.




How do you ensure safety for participants during residentials and travel?


50% of our team and participants will be women. It is our prime responsibility to ensure all our participants are safe and taken care of. All residential areas are surveyed in advance to ensure all safety precautions are available. During residentials, participants and team members live in same gender dorms together. We travel in groups and ensure that all our people are taken care of. All arrangements for travel will be made in advance and account for special needs. We have strict policies that our team members and participants have to adhere to. Any reported instances of threat to safety, harassment or bodily harm will be immediately addressed and proper action will be taken.





Participants & Alumni

Who are previous participants of this program?


You can find the 2019 and 2020 cohorts for Democracy Express and She Represents on our alumni page.




What are the alumni opportunities after this program for me?


Each of our programs hope to provide an enriching experience. We do not provide any formal placements or internships opportunities. Our alumni have gone on to do a variety of things and their learning and skills from our programs have helped them on their journey. Find their testimonials on the alumni page.




What alumni support do you provide?


ISD provides long term support and mentorship to all our participants. As alumni they are connected to the regional and national alumni networks. They receive exclusive access to future conversations with political leaders. There will be annual residentials for alumni as well as need based skill and coaching sessions.





Organisation & People

Does ISD align with any political party?


No. ISD is an independent entity without any affiliations with any political party or organisation.




What do you mean by non-partisan?


As a non-partisan organisation, ISD doesn’t align with any political or ideological school of thought. We hope to be a Sabarmati ashram, which hosts people of different thoughts and perspectives to come together and engage in meaningful dialogue. We are proud of our diversity and accept each of them equally with respect.




Who runs ISD?


We are a small team of committed individuals who are working to redefine public leadership. You can find more details on our team page.