How we do research in FIN India – A personal story from Sueli Kyomi Brodin !

How we do research in FIN India – A personal story from Sueli Kyomi Brodin !

How we do research in FIN India – A personal story from Sueli Kyomi Brodin !

May, 2017

“I have an assignment for you!” Prof. Shyama V. Ramani of UNU-MERIT said. “You are going to visit a typical Indian village – a representative village in a developing country. Immerse yourself. Observe carefully. At the end of your visit, tell me your opinion on why the state of sanitation and hygiene is the way it is. Take as many photographs as you can, even of toilets. They can serve as photographic evidence for our research.”

As we drove to the village of Chhipadi in the state of Gujarat, India, one hour away from Ahmedabad, the sixth largest city in India, I was pensive: “How do you invite yourself into a stranger’s home and ask if you can take a photograph of their toilet? Would that work in the Netherlands?”

Our small group consisted of two representatives of two related NGOs focusing on sanitation and waste management issues, Mr. Rangi of FINISH Society India and Ms. Alix Reichenecker, a researcher at WASTE; Ms. Praachi Kumar, WASH researcher at UNU-MERIT; and myself, communications officer at UNU-MERIT. Mr. Rangi was leading the visit, as he knew the village well after having recently supervised the installation of wash basins in the public secondary high school on behalf of FINISH Society India.

Defining Chhipadi as a village may seem a bit misleading. Indeed, the inhabited area immediately struck us as being much larger than the usual European village. According to information found online, Chhipadi counts a population of 15,500 inhabitants representing a little over 3,000 households. Children form a large part of the population, with 12,8% of them between the ages of 0 and 6.

Our visit took place soon after Diwali, the festival of lights, celebrated all over India with great enjoyment. This meant that schools were closed and most children were at home, except those taking special classes or vocational training lessons.

As we started off our tour, two young men enthusiastically volunteered to accompany us and started answering our questions about life in the village. One of them worked as an English teacher in the neighbouring town and the other one was a student in engineering in Ahmedabad. The English teacher seemed especially pleased to practise his language skills.

Pride and responsibility

What systematically struck me during our tour, which lasted a few hours, was the enormous contrast in cleanliness between public and private spaces. The streets surrounding the village and the open spaces inside it were covered with litter. Yet, the main shopping street, the shops, the private homes, the classrooms and the Hindu temple were clean and well kept.

The same observation applied to the state of the toilets. The public toilets at the government office and at the public school were in appalling condition, in total contrast with the two private toilets we were able to see, one inside a family household and another one outdoors, which were perfectly clean. The rudimentary toilet in the private vocational tailor’s school was also clean.

The people we met and spoke to along the way were friendly and welcoming. A middle-aged woman who was heating water in the street to wash her dishes kindly invited us for a cup of tea inside her small home. Her kitchen and all her pans were spick and span and she had a warm smile on her face as she started boiling some milk tea with freshly ground ginger. That cup of tea turned out to be the tastiest masala tea of my entire week in India.

The woman was open and hospitable and did not mind answering our questions. She told us that each household in the village was entitled to a daily supply of 30 minutes of water. When we asked her if she recycled the water, she said that she did not. There was a modest shop in the front side of the house, where her husband sold mainly cleaning products such as soaps, shampoos, and detergents. After taking several pictures with her family of five, we overcame our shyness and embarrassment and asked her if we could see and take photographs of their toilet and shower facilities.

Again, with a proud smile, she showed us the spotless spaces, which looked as if they had already been cleaned that day.

As we continued our walk through the village, we saw a woman washing dishes on the ground near one of the three big water towers. Another woman crouching next to her was sweeping the dirt and the litter around them, as if she wanted to create a circle of cleanliness around them.

“Is open defecation a bad thing?”

A little later, we arrived at the secondary public high school of Chhipadi. We were invited to join a classroom and say a few words about sanitation practices in our respective countries. Alix demonstrated the six-step hand-washing method. The teacher and the students listened with their full attention. The boys and girls were seated separately on each side of the room and they all looked neat and tidy. Their schoolbooks and notebooks were impeccable.

When we asked them about toilet practices in India, Praachi said something that provoked a reaction of uneasiness and confusion in the classroom. She asked the students to raise their hands if they thought that “open defecation was a bad thing”. Many students did not seem to know how to deal with that question. They seemed to be caught in a dilemma. Were they supposed to give the answer that they thought we expected, and by doing so, condemn a behaviour that they perhaps also practised? Eventually they all raised their hands with uneasy smiles…

The teacher and the students became more vocal when we asked them about the toilet facilities in their school. They had many grievances. They said that the school’s toilets were inadequate and that there were too few toilet facilities in relation to the number of school children. They also complained that the toilets were run down or broken, ill maintained, dirty, smelly, and did not offer any form of privacy.

When we saw the dreadful toilets with our own eyes, we understood what the students meant. No wonder that open defecation could appear as a cleaner and more private solution!

Private vs Public

Our minds were bustling with questions: How could the same people be able to keep their own houses so clean and yet accept the streets around their village to be so dirty? How could the local authorities justify the lack of waste management in the village? How could the school leaders and parents endure sending their children to a school where no one could possibly use the filthy and degraded toilets?

When we would ask some of these questions out loud, the villagers nodded uneasily with a half-smile, but stayed silent. They did not seem to know what to say nor did they seem to want to discuss them.

When we reported back to Prof. Ramani, I ventured an explanation: “The people we met obviously cared about cleanliness and knew how to keep a place clean. They even demonstrated a lot of pride in it. That was clearly not the issue. However, they only seemed to care for the places they felt responsible for. They did not seem to mind the bad management of public spaces and public facilities in the village. It was as if they considered this responsibility beyond their scope of action.”

Everyone agreed with my hypothesis. But it opened a larger question: How to build pride in caring about the state of community goods? How to build civic pride?

Got answers to Sueli‘s last questions?

Let’s hear from you!

503 thoughts on “How we do research in FIN India – A personal story from Sueli Kyomi Brodin !

  1. Lindsay Mcqueeny

    There’s a guy running for Legislature in California called Collins who would like to provide a twenty-five percent raise in shell out for professors and deal with our education and learning structure! Our learning environments are overloaded, our professors are overworked, and our kids are falling back. Joe Collins Jr Education and learning initiative states it’s going to finance to repair our educational institutions, decrease class sizes, add more funding for special education packages and Probably none of these other sorry people in politics have plans to facilitate our teenagers, we have to give this gentleman a opportunity! His web page is https://joecollinsforcongress.com visit his site

  2. Beauty Fashion

    Good web site! I truly love how it is easy on my eyes and the data are well written. I am wondering how I could be notified whenever a new post has been made. I’ve subscribed to your RSS which must do the trick! Have a nice day!

  3. oyuncucemiyeti ana sayfa

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However I am
    encountering problems with your RSS. I don’t understand the
    reason why I am unable to join it. Is there anybody else getting identical RSS problems?
    Anyone who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  4. website

    hello there and thank you for your information – I’ve definitely picked up anything new from right
    here. I did however expertise some technical points using this web site,
    as I experienced to reload the web site a lot of times previous to I
    could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your web hosting is
    OK? Not that I’m complaining, but sluggish loading instances times
    will often affect your placement in google and
    can damage your high quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords.

    Well I am adding this RSS to my e-mail and can look out for
    a lot more of your respective fascinating content.

    Make sure you update this again soon.

  5. Anonymous

    It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and
    it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I wish to
    counsel you some attention-grabbing issues or advice.
    Perhaps you could write subsequent articles
    relating to this article. I wish to read even more issues approximately it!

  6. Israel

    Its such as you learn my mind! You appear to know a lot approximately this, like you wrote the
    e-book in it or something. I think that you just can do with some p.c.

    to force the message home a bit, however instead of that, that is great blog.

    An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

  7. سفارش افزایش سئو سایت

    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this brilliant blog!
    I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to new updates and will share this blog with my Facebook
    group. Chat soon!

  8. Jenni

    Howdy exceptional blog! Does running a blog similar to this take a great deal of work?
    I’ve very little knowledge of coding however I was hoping to start my own blog in the near future.
    Anyways, should you have any recommendations or techniques for new blog owners please share.
    I know this is off subject however I simply had to ask. Thanks a lot!

  9. Leila

    Howdy are using WordPress for your blog platform?

    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started
    and set up my own. Do you require any html coding expertise to make your own blog?
    Any help would be really appreciated!

  10. Elvis

    I ѡanted to tһank yоu for this wonderful read!! I absolutely enjoyed
    eveгy littⅼe bit of іt. I’vе got yߋu book marked tⲟ look at new tһings
    yоu post…

  11. Russel

    Eѵerything іѕ very open with a гeally ϲlear explanation of the challenges.
    It ԝas truⅼy informative. Your site іs veгy useful. Thhank үou for sharing!

  12. Clayton

    Hi Dear, are you really visiting this web site on a regular basis, if so then you will
    without doubt get fastidious knowledge.

  13. Kirby

    Hello There. I found your blog the use of msn. That is a really neatly written article.

    I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to learn more of your
    helpful information. Thanks for the post.
    I’ll definitely return.

  14. judi slot 303

    Hello There. I discovered your weblog using msn. This is a really well
    written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to learn extra of your helpful info.
    Thank you for the post. I will definitely comeback.

  15. dubai77"

    Pelajari tentang berbagai produk slot Dubai77 terbaik yang tersedia di Indonesia.
    Temukan aneka ragam permainan judi slot online yang menarik dan menghibur.

    Dunia perjudian slot online semakin menarik dengan kehadiran berbagai produk slot Dubai77 terpercaya.
    Di Indonesia,para pecinta slot gacor dapat menikmati berbagai
    pilihan permainan slot yang menarik dan seru. Artikel ini akan mengulas beberapa produk slot Dubai77 terbaik yang menjadi favorit
    di kalangan pemain judi online.

  16. buy Synogut

    This is a very good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.

    Simple but very accurate information… Appreciate your sharing this
    one. A must read post!

  17. Moshe

    Good post however I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject?
    I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further.
    Bless you!

  18. разработка сайта nemkovich design

    на сегодняшний день весьма
    востребованной услугой является отдел продаж под ключ
    Это означает, что компании могут
    обратиться к специализированным
    маркетинговым агентствам или консультантам,
    таким как “Немкович Маркетинг Студио”, для полного управления и
    развития своими продажами. Эта услуга включает в себя ряд преимуществ:

    Профессиональный опыт: Специализированные агентства и консультанты,
    такие как “Немкович Маркетинг Студио”, имеют богатый опыт в области маркетинга и
    продаж, что позволяет им предоставлять высококачественные
    услуги.
    Сокращение рисков: Компании, заказывая услуги отдела продаж под ключ, могут снизить риски и заботы, связанные с управлением отделом продаж,
    и обеспечить более надежное выполнение поставленных задач.

    Фокус на ядерных компетенциях: Заказчики могут сконцентрироваться на
    своих основных компетенциях, оставив маркетинг и продажи профессионалам.

    Экономия времени и ресурсов:
    Аутсорсинг отдела продаж позволяет сэкономить время
    и ресурсы на найме, обучении и управлении
    персоналом.
    Использование современных инструментов: Специализированные студии маркетинга обычно имеют доступ к современным маркетинговым и
    аналитическим инструментам, что помогает повысить эффективность продаж.

    Эта услуга становится особенно актуальной для компаний, которые хотят максимизировать свой маркетинг и продажи, но не имеют внутренних ресурсов или экспертизы для этого.

    b5JjiwV5-3

  19. Boscitra

    What’s up, yup this piece of writing is genuinely
    nice and I have learned lot of things from it on the topic of blogging.

    thanks.

  20. minimum deposit pocket option

    Greetings. The author’s name is Will probably. Minnesota may be the place she loves most and she doesn’t begin changing it.
    One of the things I love most is to read books but Can not make it my
    profession really. Invoicing is her day job now and she’ll be promoted soon.

  21. Dwayne

    I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?
    Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is
    rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.

  22. thegadgetflow.com

    Hello! I just wanted to ask if уou eer havе ɑny pгoblems with hackers?
    Ꮇy last blog (wordpress) ᴡas hacked аnd I еnded up losing monthѕ of һard work due tо no backup.
    Ɗo yοu havе any solutions tο protyect aɡainst hackers?

  23. Adell

    You realⅼy make it seem so easy with youг presentation but Ι find this topic tο be actuaⅼly
    sⲟmething thаt I think I would neѵer understand.
    It seems t᧐o complex and exdtremely broad fоr me. Ι
    am looking forward for yoսr neҳt post, I’ll try
    to gget the hang οf it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *