Praxis days 6-8 – final update


So we actually did the fieldwork on 6th and 7th March and some final reflections and summing up on 8th, but I managed to contract a stomach bug around the same time (so much for being sensible) so this is a bit late…

Well, the group split into groups for the fieldwork – my group went to an urban slum in NE Delhi called Seemapuri:

to do some work with women and schoolkids there around the Right to Education act in India and their lived experience of it (or more realistically – their experience of its lack of real effect).  The sessions were coordinated through a local transparency focused community based organisation Pardarshita, helping to amplify their voices to get the government to live up to its commitments:

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So our first day was… interesting… We had been told virtually nothing about where we were going, who we were meeting, how many people, what kind of space, what their expectations were…  And had tried to plan around this (impossible) the night before…

So the morning was a bit chaotic and felt a bit more top-down than we would’ve liked – but it still emerged lots of interesting themes

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After a brief planning session over lunch, the afternoon seemed better and day 2 was much much better – amazing what a difference a bit of planning makes, even when it’s as rough and ready as this!

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By the end of day 2, the women had explored some interesting aspects to the education problems in their community (including, a surprise to us, the fact that alcohol and drug issues were one of the main problems!)

And, despite a brief distraction from preparations for a wedding feast outside (particularly disturbing for the vegetarians in our group):

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by the end, they seemed happy, we were happy, we all got on well and – we hope – the exercise was useful for them and for Pardarshita, not just a learning vehicle for us!

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(honestly there was much much more smiling and hugging until the second before the camera clicked…!)

Day 8…

This was mainly summaries and reflections from our “Participatory M&E” group and the other “Ground Level Panels” group – and I stupidly forgot to get pics of the cool summary flipcharts everyone did, oops!  I did though get a photo of Robert Chambers pretending to be the UN telling everyone what’s best for them.  A nice way to wrap up I think 😉

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He also said something I have been harping on about for years – nice to know the feeling is more widespread and I’d love to engage with others on how to tackle it:

“The development sector suffers from a terrible worldwide shortage of facilitators”

Even more true if you make it ‘good and participatory facilitators’!

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