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Mahatma Gandhi’s Social Change Method: Equip Yourself to Make the Change You Wish to See

“You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.” -Gandhi

Take this course to study this and other tactics Gandhi used to give rise to democratic power, while walking his path and experiencing the lifestyle he practiced at his ashram (spiritual learning center) in Sevagram, India.

In today’s world, where we are pushed by large forces often outside of our control, Mahatma Gandhi’s method of social change presents the tools that will enable you to shape your community’s future according to collective, local interests. This course will empower you with the skills to utilize Gandhi’s time-tested method, which overthrew the British Empire by focusing on growing power with existing community resources.

His humble, but productive approach to social change and local empowerment was symbolized by khadi, the hand-spun and handwoven cloth with which Gandhi clothed himself in protest of the British domination of India’s textile industry. The Mahatma (Great Soul) advocated for people to take control of their circumstances and confront oppressive outside forces. If you can weave cloth quietly on your front porch, he taught, then you can also walk off and quietly march; where you goâforward-thinking, and with conviction in your heartâothers will follow. Soon, a human force has grownânot dissimilar to the process of how one frail strand of hand-woven cotton can be webbed with other frail strands to collectively make a garment that clothes but also speaks of a new, locally-made life.

Gandhi gave the world an important gift: a proven method for how to shape our lives. We invite you to accompany us on a journey to his ashram and learn what you have the power to give to the world. As the Mahatma has said, “The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.” This method achieved freedom and more for one-fifth of humanity. Much more than a symbol, he led people down the path toward equality, on which they voluntarily followed, eager to undergo the process of collective empowerment.

Non-violence was a central component of Gandhi’s method, but this goes much further than the refusal to use guns or bombs. Consider the challenge (but fun opportunity) of bringing together opposing factions of people without introducing conflict! In this certificate course, you will learn skills you can use to improve community life holistically and sustainably. According to Gandhi, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Together, we will learn how words and actions are change-making tools. This course also presents an opportunity to experience Gandhi’s lifeâ you will live in his ashram, eat as he did, and study on the same mud floors where the Mahatma taught. This is not a yoga course (though such courses are wonderful). This course will lead to understanding Gandhi’s assertion that, “If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”

You can elect to enroll in this certificate program as an academic course to earn graduate level credits, or you may simply choose to pursue the certificate of completion. If you choose to earn credits for your participation, you may apply these towards the university’s Master’s degree in Applied Community Change (see: www.Future.Edu for more information).

“You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.”- Mahatma Gandhi

Course Dates: Online study from Oct 1 - 28, 2017; and an 11-day residence in India from Oct 29 - Nov 8, 2017.

  • In the month before going to India complete the online Modules 1, 2, & 3: “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”
  • November 29, 30, 31, in Delhi (two days) - History of India and Gandhi’s Death (Course Module 4): “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
  • November 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 at Gandhi’s Ashram at Sevagram (four days) - Learning the Gandhian Method: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
  • November 6 & 7 (two days) at two organizations practicing the method - Society for Education & Action in Health, and Chetana Vikas-(Empowerment of Individual & Community): “We who seek justice will have to do justice for others.”
  • November 8, in Delhi wrap-up, course ends, and participants depart.

Cost : A $250 (non-refundable) registration fee grants access to online course content, and the opportunity to earn a certificate of completion. Students will pay for and arrange their own roundtrip airfare to Delhi, India. An additional $1,000 fee covers program costs while in India for 11 days. Total certificate cost is $1,250, plus the cost of airfare to and from India (payable in full before travel to India).

Travel : This certificate requires travel to Delhi and Sevagram, India from October 29-November 8, 2017.

The Learning Experience

Learning from your Home
Swaraj Getting started: Words are Tools Document How Words Are Being Used Ethnographic Research
Satyagraha Centrality of Principles Truth Find Commonality with Oppressor Map Areas of Overlapping Interest Representing through Maps
Lokniti Walk as One Learn Peer Group Process Learn PhotoVoice Document Change at Home Socio-gram Creation Participatory Logs
At Gandhi’s Ashram: Experiencing the Legend and Living the Life
Charkha Shape the Message Gandhi Printing Press Grow with Local Resources Passing Important News Identify the Range of Resources Blogging Representing through Maps
Sarvodaya Holistic Change Rise of All Social Movement Mobilization Actionable Prioritization
Khadi Act the Message Fasting All Freedom is Local Be a Symbol of Life Community Working Together Symbols to Gather Community Socio-mapping Creating Logos
Swadeshi You Create Your Life Experiments with Truth Iteration as Means to Excellence Doable Evolving Ends
Conclusion Wrap-Up Priorities for Communication Capstone Presentation Project Present using PhotoVoice

Introduction to the Course Instructor: Major Professor: Dr. Daniel C. Taylor. Professor Taylor has studied and implemented the empowerment-driven approach to improving the lives of communities as well as the natural environment. Growing up in India, he has studied the Gandhian method (his grandparents were privileged to have worked with Gandhi himself). Distilling the larger method of empowerment-driven social change (changing society through the energies of people) Taylor has helped grow field demonstrations of people transforming their communities in the USA, Nepal, India, China, and Afghanistan. He is one of the synthesizers of the SEED-SCALE method. This method can be learned in detail in a parallel certificate course, Grow the Change You Wish to See (

Course Parameters: Simply visiting the different learning sites in India is inspiring, even life memorable. Sitting on the mud porch made by volunteer labor, the place from where Mahatma Gandhi came to think through, then send out instructions for how to fight for freedom (from British rule, from caste, from gender discrimination, from poverty, from ill health, and importantly for him to free the soul from feeling inferior). But Gandhi pursued these goals through rules. Discipline was the foundation of achieving his (or any) deep quest.

Accordingly, course participants will be expected to complete all of the course’s modules in order to meaningfully engage in the individual and peer learning process. As the Mahatma said, “Books are like soap for the mind.” In recognition of different schedules and varying time to commit to this course, the overall, required study load will be light, and the course will include additional resources for supplemental study by interested participants. Through collective learning, we shall help each other learn the way of Swaraj (self-rule). To let us know we are on track, each of the eight modules has an automated testing process so participants can monitor their own progressâbut to advance, a basic passing score is required for each module. This way, we can talk together.

Real education consists in drawing the best out of yourself.” -Gandhi