Research and Innovation Project
October –December 2017
“In October 2017 I left with the intention of advancing the research program, which along with my tutor have planned, and the desire to learn about a new reality. What happened was very intense, radically different expectations, infinitely rewarding experience under various points of view.
I land in Ahmedabad and the impact was strong, almost overwhelming. That day was celebrating Diwali, one of the most important Indian festivals, which symbolizes the victory of good over evil and is called “Festival of lights”. A very exciting time for Indians, but extremely incomprehensible to me at that time- in retrospect I would have felt differently-.
Also the first contact with the place where I lived for three months was not clear, but I would have appreciated later.
Immediately come into contact with the community and was essential quickly overcome our differences.
I understand as one of the first things, a slow and quiet pace of life that at first it seems unintelligible. Then, with each passing day, exceeded even the first distrust each other, beginning to feel the sense of time of the Indians: they live in the stream of time and not against it. Every moment of their day, be it work or family, is experienced and appreciated without chasing after too much later. This concept helps to integrate quickly into their daily lives, in their culture, in their economy.
At Prayas, the MFI that hosted me and allowed me to carry out my research and analysis, are welcoming and helpful. Give me access to their database, enabling me to actually approach to microcredit and to its functioning. After the first few days of informative lectures, wonder and I get to combine the staff away to have a direct approach with the work carried out in the territory.
I understand immediately the importance of micro-credit in these territories: the inhabitants of these villages spend almost all their lives in hometown receiving little information and input from the outside. For this micro-credit is seen as a chance for a project, and as a tool to change their economic status.
To better understand what people think of microcredit, and since I had no such data, I decided to create a questionnaire that could support my research (and my curiosity).
In mid-November, follow an Milaap (organization supporting Prayas), and beginning to distribute questionnaires. The first and last approximately 30 were distributed in Madhya Pradhesh, a very poor and largely rural, the remaining near Ahmedabad. All people meeting were female, in line with the principles of microcredit, who wants to turn its activities exclusively to women.
After ten days, through the villages of by Bhabra, Jhabua, Alirajpur, Petlawad I realized what it meant to live according to patterns and principles are totally different from mine. Sometimes we think we have an awareness of the existence of certain places, but our perception is far from reality.
Right there, in remote rural areas, where the only values are family, work, and in the majority of cases the spirituality, it learn so much to think, sometimes, that people, despite everything, is also lucky. The context is difficult to accept: mud houses hospitalize humans and animals, total absence of toilets and running water. But people, although in principle distrustful, proves early hospitable and honored the visit by members of Prayas. To reach some places we walk many kilometers on dirt roads and dusty, but each village where it got the support of Prayas, despite the isolation, is a small community where everyone works and support each other.
From the interaction with this reality, after some days the scenery of microcredit has become increasingly clear. The rules, often trivial, imposed by microcredit are perfectly built for contexts where informality and simplicity are a determining factor.
Each questionnaire was administered in full compliance with the local people, explaining clearly that it was a search for educational purposes, and ultimately all were very helpful.
During his time out of the Office, I came into contact with other offices of Prayas located near the areas where we would have to meet new people that submit the questionnaire. Prayas operators, knowing well the territory and the human context have been able to interpret the purpose of my research, welcomed and appreciated, as it was also useful for their purposes. The difficulties linked to the slow pace of India, makes the work of operators not always organized nor optimized greatly reducing a lot of potential.
I had few more days, so I supported the social Branch Manager in implementing a program for the school. I accepted the commitment because I wanted to stay more in touch with a reality that can be understood only by touching it with hand. I spent some days at the head office in Gandhinagar, to set a good programme that could be pulled out of the results, and four days by Bhabra, where offices were selected schools on which to perform the test.
Interaction with children experience was indescribably good and allowed me to discover a concept of school well away from that to which he was accustomed. There are several aspects that have impressed me, first and foremost the children’s reactivity to external inputs. My presence has generated great interest among the students, who have been following the program and have done the tests required.
From this parallel experience I understand another aspect of micro-credit that, up until that point I was not clear. Why join social activities to microcredit? The answer I found right on this occasion: the side activities stimulate the interest and support women applicants for the credit also socially. I also started to consider relevant the education variable in the analyses that had decided to conduct on the sample.
Apart from searches to complete, the real result was a great personal satisfaction. Having the opportunity to be so deeply in contact with a distant reality from mine, has allowed me to grow and learn to interpret events and situations from different perspectives. Also, living in a country where the main constant is chaos, rules are almost non-existent, communication is not easy, he further enriched, forcing me to adapt my habits to the surrounding context.
In addition, although I spent a lot of time alone, I’ve never suffered: perhaps, thanks to
extraordinary welcome this people was able to offer me
After three months, I went away believing firmly that this country is a tank of culture, of special people, a place full of contradictions that survive in a strange and exceptional symbiosis, and he deserves to continue in the path of growth and development.