Three field workers from UBU/JGVK’s Resilience project have shared their thoughts of their motivations of being a part of the project and the experiences they get, and finally they were asked, which outcomes they hope for the project.
All of the three are working in the project area in North 24 Parganas, which biggest water related problems are arsenic in the groundwater and flooding related to monsoon rain.
Rina Roychowdhury, who has been involved since 2006 in the former arsenic projects carried out by UBU and JGVK/KTT, explains that one of her biggest motivations of her work is to make local villagers aware of arsenic exposure and the problems related to that. She likes to motivate people to collect arsenic free water.
Mrinal Roy, who is a new social worker in the project, says about his motivation: ”I have the will to do social work, and by that I want to be involved in the development work of the village. Actually every human being should help everyone. Another aspect of motivation is the financial support”.
To that Shuvankar Mondal agrees and adds: ”I want everyone in my country to get arsenic free water and to be aware of disasters. We, as villagers, think a lot about money – also for next generations – but the quality of drinking water is much more important. If people get aware of arsenic exposure they will focus less on money, because water related problems concerns everyone”. Before the resilience project started Shuvankar was working as a teacher at the local private school, also run by KTT, and it is clearly he wants to help to strengthen the local community.
Mrinal likes his new job and says that he gets a lot of new experiences, and he enjoys working with his colleagues, who he is also learning from. Rina tells that she also values the group work, and in addition to work with her colleagues from KTT/JGVK her best experiences are when she is collaborating with UBU members and students from Denmark, who come with other point of views and other backgrounds.
Working in the project can also result in some bad experiences. Rina has met families in which members have died from arsenicosis. Furthermore Mrinal tells that it is difficult to interview the poorest people, who might not even have a proper house. All three workers have experienced challenges when interviewing households.
“Some villagers do not want to answer questions if they cannot see they get anything from helping. Also interviewing illiterate people can result in challenges, as they might ask irrelevant or unexpected questions, and sometimes they don’t even want to say anything”, explains Mrinal.
All project workers get training from JGVK about the different project topics, interview techniques and how to make a good relation with the villagers. Shuvankar tells that the training by JGVK has given him a good idea on how to work in a rural area with different kind of people.
When the field workers were asked what they hoped would result from the project, Rina says: “That people are aware of their own problems”, and Shuvankar adds: “and that they are able to help themselves solving the problems, so they are more resilient and well prepared for disasters”.