Thursday, 13 August 2015

Winding down Researching Resilience

By Dev Kashyap, 2nd year MDP student

With just a couple weeks left in my University of Winnipeg field placement in south-east India, I can't believe how time has flown by. However, in reflection, the past month has been a whirlwind of visits to 'Adivasi' or Indigenous communities in and around our base of Kotturu, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Myself, along with my MDP classmate Manna Sainju and host organization Appropriate Reconstruction Technology Information Centre (ARTIC), have reached our goal of completing all key informant interviews and focus group discussions with our selected participating Adivasi communities in the month of July.

July took us through the beautiful landscapes of three local rural counties or "Mandals" as they are called in Andhra Pradesh; some of them accessible only by rugged roads. Part of what we have learned revolves around the similarities in Adivasi habitations in terms of the effects on them from changes over the past 30 years: globalization; emerging technologies and government programming and policies. What is certain is that all of these communities embody resilience in terms of their day-to-day living. Things that we take for granted in North America - such as constant electricity, piped water directed to our homes and easy access to irrigation - are amenities that require planning and hard physical labour in many cases here in rural India.

All in all, I am grateful for my experience here, the assistance I have had in my research from the team at ARTIC, and last but not least the willingness of the research participants to contribute to my higher learning about the rural experience of Adivasis in south Asia. Resilience is manifest in their processes of living day-to-day here and embodied in the daily tasks performed by Adivasi communities. Resilient communities carrying on in the face of externally-driven changes.

Dev, Prakash, Yamuna and Shrimaiji from ARTIC, and the research participants from the community of Bommika, Andhra Pradesh

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