Community Development

October 16, 2008

Useful Resouces & Links

Filed under: 1 — Tags: , , — cdmiss @ 2:03 am
When I ask my students to read more than the material given in the class room or write assignments, they don’t think of the college library but of the browsing center. Of course they are not totally wrong in their attitude, because a library functioning with a limited budget can’t provide materials related to the newly introduced programs/emerging  concepts. With their limited computer skills many of the students could not get worthy material for the time and amount they spend in the browsing center. For example to get relevant material for JNNURM program a student has spend more than 5 hours and 150 rupees. No doubt it is taxing the students. Besides there is an inequality exists in using the internet resources between the rich and poor students, between boys and girls because girls are expected to return to the hostel/home before 8 pm. That made me to collect the addresses of useful sites so that whenever we demand them to refer additional resources, we can advice them to go to a specific site, so that students can use the internet resources much more efficiently. This may sound funny for the students from elite institutions where the UGC itself is subsidising many facilities of their college through which students are benefitted. Rich is becoming richer and the poor are becoming poor is also true as far as academic institutions are concerned. The elite institutions where the economically better of are studying are subsidising certain services to their students through grants and projects.
The addresses given in this site may not be relevant or may be obsolete for those students who do their community development in the so called elite institutions. These addresses aimed at those students doing their MSW course in institutions where there is no subsidized IT facilities are not available.
The addresses will grow depending on the demands of the students
Following is the list of useful websites and other resources for student’s reference
Government of India
Ministry of Rural Development Government of India
Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation
National Institute of Urban Affairs
Goverment of Tamilnadu
Rural Development & Panchayat Raj Department
Housing and Urban Development Department
Human Rights
Introduction to Human Rights
Human Rights Commission – India

October 15, 2008

Participatory Rural Appraisal

Since there is an increasing number of students and other friends working in the nonprofit sector have repeatedly approached me to provide some basic material related to PRA, LFA and Livelihood Framework etc, I have decided to put the material in the cdmissmdu (community Development) blogspot. I sincerely acknowledge all the sources from where the content is taken. This compilation will be useful both for the beginners and all those who want to refesh the subject matter. Please post a comment / suggestions so that I will improve it in order to make learning and understanding participatory methodologies as a pleasant experience. Apart from the original sources, I gratefully acknoweldge my sincere gratitude to Dr. John Devavaram, Founder of SPEECH & RCPDS who introduced me to PRA and Mr. Rajendra Prasad, Executive Director, PAD who sustained my interest in PRA and Mr. Balamurugan of Save the Children India, Mr. Muniasamy of CCFC and Mr. Rajesh Kumar and other staffs in SPEECH and PAD who made PRA as a pleasnt experience.
Participatory Rural Appraisal Part I
Participatory Rural Appraisal Part II
A compilation of material by S.Rengasamy, Faculty Member, Madurai Institute of Social Sciences collected from various sources to help the students and development workers to understand and refrsh the basic concepts and tools of PRA

Madurai Vegetable Markets- Sociological Museums

Filed under: 1 — Tags: , , , — cdmiss @ 5:41 pm

Mr.Udayakumar & Ranjithkumar II MSW CD(R&U) have been placed in the Unit for Madurai Studies for their III Semester Field Work and they were assigned to study about the Vegetable Markets in the Madurai City. As our previous work in K.Pudur ward and in Pudur Market revealed that vegetable markets seems to be sociological museums -one can learn about many things. This duo have taken more than 200 photographs about the markets and created a table descrbing the features of the vegetable markets. It is decided to georeference the markets in the Madurai city,with the help of Dr. T. Pavendar. Completing that task may take little more time but we have determined to do that. Working in the markets made us to realize that both the policy makers at the national as well as state level and the local governments ignore these markets without realizing these markets potentialities to promote decent & sustainable livelihoods for a sizable sections of the urban population. If the policy makers decides to seek the participation of the poor vendors,keeping away the power brokers, many,many things are possible.We dont know what makes our policy makers to be blind and insensitive to some of the basic issues. We hope that our work in the markets will bring forth learnings that are truely revealing. Wait for that revealing moments

Teaching Regional Planning

After two and half hours of tiring lecture, I was told that someone was waiting for me in my room.By then I was trying to interest my student on regional planning. It has been my topic of interest for years; when the long lecture ended I remembered that someone was waiting for me. When I went back to my room I could not find anyone, I went to canteen for a coffee and in my return, I found two senior professors from Meenakshi Govt. College for Women waiting for me. After a formal greeting, one of them informed me that she had accidentally visited this blog and to her surprise found the materials related regional planning in the site. I heard from her that regional planning has been introduced as an elective subject in M.Sc Geography under the new CBCS and they have been trying hard to find materials for their students. This blog made them find that regional planning is also included in the MSW curriculum and that made them to approach us (Madurai Institute of Social Sciences) to get some useful reference material as the resources related to regional planning in their library was totally damaged in previous year’s floods.

I recollected my own experience of running here and there to collect materials when we decided to have a paper on regional planning in our curriculum by then was abstruse; I had to work on my own interest to build some good material for the paper. Over the years, I developed materials relevant to our syllabus. When some of the affiliated colleges in MK university area started MSW course, the instructors of that regional planning paper advised their students to get it from their friends doing MSW in our college. Though I was disgusted about their behavior, in order to avoid the hardships faced by the students doing community development specialization in other colleges, I decided to upload the learning material given to my students in this blog and that has been noticed by the teachers like me who were infact searching for resources to help their own students.The decision of these two professors to visit our college itself is a proof for their concern towards their students. More than that their visit made me to realize the power of technology… thanks to Google with its user friendly technology motivated even computer illiterate like me to use its facilities. An enabling environment is needed even to share what we have.. Is it not?

If I recollect my experiences in teaching regional planning to social work students, it was really a frustrating experience. I thought of recommending to take away that paper from the syllabus but for the request of a fraction of my own alumni who really felt that knowledge about regional planning helped them to grasp the nuances of development. One alumnus told me that his knowledge about viability, range of goods and the concept of innovative firms made others to feel that he might have done his MBA additionally. No doubt it sensitized a limited number of students about the need for spatial social justice. But I have to admit that they are very few in number. My teaching experience in the subject has been very frustrating. Majority of my students always give me looks that admit their indifference to the subject.

But teaching of regional planning and adopting it social work curricula benefited me immensely..widened my cognitive horizons and perception. It sharpened my facilitating skills in participatory rural appraisal (PRA), it sensitized me about the intra village disparities and to produce beautiful self explanatory PRA visuals. My interest in regional planning made me a graphicrate.. it slowly made me to learn about GIS and to adapt GPS in PRA practice, normally not of an interesting area for social work educators. My attempt to incorporate GPS in PRA improved the quality of social mapping and reliability of household related information generation. This combination made both the villagers and the NGO’s field staff to feel that social mapping as a pleasant experience. (I am planning to document some of these experiences as an example for best practices in peoples’ participatory geographic information system- PGIS)
This is the positive side but on the negative side, to admit honestly I could not create any interest with my own MSW students. In an utter frustration I recommended to replace regional planning paper with the new livelihood promotion paper. Since locality/regional development is inseperable from livelihood promotion, I retained many of the core concepts that are borrowed from regional planning.
As the semester is coming to an end, I realized that this is the last semester for regional planning paper and it won’t be taught as a subject matter in the semesters to come. It is time to bid goodbye to regional planning from MISS. The approach of the two professors made me to share whatever I have developed. so far But, I feel honored when I think that the material may be better appreciated outside than my students and my colleagues.
Good bye regional planning from MISS and have a nice and fruitful days in the Meeanakshi College.
Thanks to professors Dr. Sethu Rakkayee and Dr. Rameshwari of Sri. Meenakshi Govt.College for women for honoring regional planning by visiting MISS with the real spirit of searching knowledge, the basic quality of a true teacher.
(Note: The entire material is uploaded in scribd site (see the Community Development Specialization Syllabus Post –Paper 16. Regional Planning in this blog ) and ppt presentation will be uploaded in this site after a little bit of editing)

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