Tata-Dhan Academy: PDM

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Programme in Development Management

PDM 8: Building People’s Organisations for Development, Natarampalli

Farmers in the field transplanting paddy

This term, PDM 8 students at the Tata-Dhan Academy visited several villages around Natarampalli as part of their first “Building People’s Organisations for Development” (BUD) lab. The three-day programme is designed to let students observe—and practice—some useful techniques for organising communities around a given theme.

The first day’s focus was on the village screening process. As DHAN is promoting its rainfed agriculture theme in the area, students identified a number of factors to assess to help understand the village potential in terms of (1) applicability of the rainfed theme, (2) the extent of poverty in the village, and (3) the feasibility of implementing the programme in the area. Students divided into several groups and used a combination of observational and investigative techniques to maximise their ability to gather information about the village in a short time period.

There were two main activities planned for the second day: evolving group bylaws, and understanding the saturation concept. However, when one group of students arrived in the village and had a low group membership turnout for the day’s event, it was decided that instead of focusing on the bylaws, it would be more productive to complete membership profiles of the members present. The other group was able to complete its activity as planned, reviewing their group’s bylaws and making clarifications where necessary. Neither group of students was able to complete the saturation activity, but they were able to practice “seeding the concept” to non-group members. Later, from a debrief which went late into the evening of the second day, each group was able to share its new knowledge with the other.

Cluster interaction in Melour village

On day three, the plan was to observe a cluster meeting. As the rainfed theme is fairly new in this area, however, rather than a normal cluster meeting, students were able to observe more of a cluster interaction. Members from assorted groups were present for the event, which included a review of bylaws, ensuring “concept clarity” on the rainfed theme for all group members, reinforcing the concept of clustering, and establishing plans for each group. At the end of the interaction, the PDM 8 students presented a lively skit to the farmers; many of the farmers commented that the skit accurately identified some of the problems they face, such as migration issues.

Labs such as these help prepare the students for their fieldwork and development practice segments. In this case, for PDM 8’s forthcoming development practice segment, students are expected to organise several community groups. Additionally, they are encouraged to try to initiate a cluster interaction with the newly formed groups early on. Students will begin their activities towards the end of August this year; there will be one more BUD lab before this to demonstrate and practice additional concepts.

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2 Responses

  1. sumitvij says:

    Ananda, I appreciate the way you have amalgamated the photographs and write-up to project the kind of work students at the academy do.

  2. jagadhn says:

    Hi Anand

    I appreciate your Initiation… go ahead all the best. Sorry to say this small correction, it’s not “transplanting rice”; ideally it should be transplanting paddy, or to be more specific, transplanting paddy siblings. Anyway its very minor, I will try to add something later.

    Thanks a lot.

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