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Workshop on ‘Capacity Building in Community Based Participatory Research, Day 3 & 4, Pandit Ravi Shankar Shukla University, Raipur, April 22 & 23, 2016


The third day of the capacity building workshop started with two student groups making their presentations on their understanding of research topic and questions, which was carried forward from the day before. This was facilitated by Dr Sumona Dasgupta, Visiting Fellow, PRIA. This was followed by an open discussion where the students shared their understanding and thoughts on the word ‘participation’. While varying inputs were received, this was then titrated against the theoretical aspects of ‘participation’. Ms. Wafa Singh, India Research Coordinator, UNESCO Chair, used the theoretical concepts to make the students understand its implications, and the similarities between book concepts and their thought process.

Thereafter, Mr Walter Lepore presented the research design of the recently concluded study on ‘Training the Next Generation of Community Based Researchers’. With his presentation, Mr Lepore tried to make a point on how the project conceptualized. He traced the entire process from the motivation to do the research project, the broad topic, specific research questions, and methodology used and finally, the findings that emerged. He gave the students some very useful tips on how to narrow down from the topic to the questions, keeping in mind, its feasibility and usefulness in the respective context. He shared that, ‘We, as researchers are not free from biases, however, what is important is that we understand and recognize them, and ensure that it does not hamper our research work. ‘

Mr Walter Lepore, sharing the research design of the study on ‘Training the Next Generation of Community Based Researchers’

Further, Dr Alok Pandey, Deputy Director, PRIA, made a presentation on Participatory Rural Appraisal concepts and tried to build the student’s understanding on the issue, and its implications. He shared that, ‘XXXXXX’. Moving ahead, Dr Pandey detailed out some of the common research methods used in participatory research, and demonstrated the same with practical pictorial depictions. He shared that, ‘We need to treat our subjects as ‘citizens’ and not as ‘beneficiaries’. We also need to understand as to which of our acts is impacting other’s learning and what influence it is having on them’

Dr Alok Pandey, sharing his reflections on ‘Participatory Research Methods’

Further to this, the students were made to perform a group activity, and do a practical exercise of research methods like transect walk, resource mapping, social mapping etc. They made to do a quick recee of the university premises and prepare a chart of their findings. The students were seen as very actively participating in the activity, engaging with the task at hand, and most importantly, showed their keenness to learn new things, which could improve their research skills and abilities.

Group activity on PR methods

Some of the other methods demonstrated were Focused Group Discussions  (FGDs), and semi structured interviews. These methods were also demonstrated in a more practical and participatory manner, rather than a one-way classroom discourse. These two methods were practiced in a manner that related to the skills that a researcher needs to acquire in order to do CBR & facilitate community knowledge. The fish bowl method was used for doing FGDs, and the students were made to brainstorm on the topic, ‘Lack of employment in the state, and the gender inequality in the same’. While two circles of students debated on the topic, the rest played the role of active listeners. At the end of the exercise, Dr Alok Pandey, who facilitated the session, used audience feedback to reflect on the process from the point of view of the discussants and the audience alike. Some of the major points which emerged are:

  • Need of a facilitator to lead the discussion is extremely important
  • Keeping personal views exclusive from the topic of the question is essential.
  • Playing the role of respectful listener is also an important part of an FGD
  • Need to ensure that the discussions closely follow the topic  at hand.

Student engaged in Focused Group Discussion

The last session, which particularly focused on development of skills was organized in a way that student volunteers acted as interviewee, while Dr Alok Pandey played the role of an interviewer. Therefore, using the format of a semi structured interview, the students were taught the basic nuances of conducting interviews in the community, and the aspects that needed to be kept in mind. Some of the major learning’s that emerged from this session are:

  • Making the interviewee comfortable in the discussion
  • Being ready for surprises/unpleasant occurrences
  • Maintaining the flow of the conversation
  • Being sensitive towards community values/belief systems

The fourth and final day of the programme started with a session on ‘Hindrances of Participatory Research’. During the session Dr. Sumona Dasgupta shared that at times, research get affected by the elite, who consider their knowledge supreme. However, the methodology of Participatory Research minimizes the chances of monopolistic practices in the context of knowledge creation and its use. Further, she elaborated on points to be taken care of while doing a research and what all things to be kept in mind while collecting data. The process was supported by experiences of the participants in the process of data collection. In the session, questions were raised about government acceptance of the research reports, and framing of research questions.  It was shared that, ‘It was necessary to involve the community in a participatory manner before framing the research questions’. Various participatory tools, methods to select an area with respect to the topic, etc. was also discussed in this session.

Dr Sumona Dasgupta, sharing her reflections with the students

This was followed by grouping the participants, according to their respective universities, wherein the groups planned the topic of research, that they would pursue in the upcoming months. Here, the students and faculty members, together, identified the topic, key questions related to that particular topic, methods of data collection (including sample) and time plan. Thereafter, they presented their research design before the audience, which included Mr. P P Soti (Member of the State Planning Commission) . Mr SOti gave a very careful listening to the research presentations, and also shared his feedback on the same. The participants shared following topics during the session:

  • Citizens perspective to Solid Liquid Waste Management in Urban and Rural Chhattisgarh (Guru Ghasi Das University, Bilaspur)
  • How art can help in the promotion of Swacch Bharat Mission (Indira Kala SangitVishwavidyalay, Khairagarh)
  • Use of Biodegradable waste and How can CBR be used in village khooparvala (Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur)
  • Waste management system in vegetable market of raipur city (Indira Gandhi National Open University)
  • Awareness of men and women Raipur slum regarding govt. programmes (Sunder Lal Sharma Open university, Bilaspur)
  • Positive negative reinforcement regarding sanitation (Pt. Ravi Shankar Shukla University Raipur)
  • Dairy farming in Bastar with contribution of children, woman in marketing (Kamdhenu University, Chhattisgarh)
  • Responsibilities of villagers in Gram Panchayat development planning – Abhanpur (KushaBhauThakareUniveristy, Raipur)
  • Toilet construction in least amount (LakhanpurEngieering College, Sarguja)
  • Health of Bastar Woman (Schhol of Regional Studies, PRSU, Raipur)

In the valedictory session of the workshop, Mr. Soti opined that the efforts made by participants during the workshop were commendable’. He also shared that ‘this is the first time in my life that I am witnessing a programme wherein there students and faculty and making joint presentation of their research ideas on a common platform’.

Mr P P Soti, sharing his feedback with the students

In his concluding remark, Prof. S K Pandey, Vice Chancellor, Pt Ravi Shankar University, Raipur, shared that ‘there is need to develop a dynamism and vibrancy among the students and faculty members so that they can identify the issues related to community development and can work those issues for the betterment of the society.’

Group photograph of the workshop participants

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