Hi, I am Anushri, an AIF Fellow. Let me take you to my field visits to hilly Kalahandi district and coastal Ganjam district of Odisha, to facilitate participatory research methods with indigenous and other vulnerable communities.
SERVE: Ice-breaking / Rapport Building
I mainly work with women and children. To build rapport with children, I keep it light by doing things that they like. So, I play with them and discuss cartoons and films. In Ganjam, I first had a fun race with the talented, Telugu-speaking children from fishing community of Nolia Nuagam to get to the shore.
Once the children were comfortable opening up to me, we went on a transect walk where I got to see their village from their perspective.
They showed me places of importance to them such as the water spring which was 1 kilometre walk downhill from their village Kaupadar in Kalahandi. The bamboo water outlet was made by the villagers. Everyday women and girls have a bath, wash utensils / clothes and get water for their homes from this only nearby source of water. I could not hold myself from trying that sparkling water. It was so cool and fresh.
Dream Mapping is an excellent way to find the felt needs of people. In Ganjam, we gave chart paper, sketch pens and crayons to three groups of children and asked them to make a map of their village, starting from locating their houses and then adding things that they would like to see. Everyone was appreciated and encouraged to pursue their dreams.
In a Dream Mapping excercise in Manikera Gram Panchayat of Kalahandi, the girls drew water tanks, a medicine store, a bus stop, park with swings, a mobile shop and a temple as presently they have to go really far to access these places. The women of Kaupadar, Kalahandi expressed to have a rice mill in the village.
LEAD: Impact of Design Thinking: Ideation / Brainstorming / Problem Ranking Matrix
Participatory research methods lead to actual social impact when the results are shared with Block and District administration. This happened when the people of Biripadi village, Kalahandi, participated in ideation and brainstorming to express their biggest common problem is lack of Rice Mill. Otherwise women wake up early morning and spend hours to pound rice with a heavy pestle (locally called ‘Kolla’) in a mortar. When my Host Organisation conveyed this to the government officials, they readily agreed to direct funds to this cause and appreciated our efforts to bring this to their attention.
Result of Ideation (2nd picture below): Left side has list of problems that came up after brainstorming. Through a raise of hand, we did voting, ranking of problems and found the number one problem. Then with ideation, they came up with solutions to get a rice mill, written on right side.
Workshop on Menstrual Health at Rangapadar, Kalahandi
Menstrual taboos like staying in a room outside the house and not going to kitchen are common in Kalahandi. At my Host Organization’s training campus in Rangapadar, Kalahandi, I facilitated workshops with women on menstruation and reproductive health. I tried to burst myths about periods and shared how it is a biological process and how it does not make women impure. I showed them a 20-minute cartoon film in Odia by Menstrupedia on YouTube, which illustrated reproductive organs, why periods occur, nutritious food they can have and how to maintain proper hygiene. The women were surprised to know about the reproductive system. They gave positive feedback about the workshop and said that it is an effective way to learn about their reproductive health.
LEARN: Cultural and Social Exchange, Meeting Influential People