Tag Archives: research

3 months with Saath: Sam Bowers

Intro: Sam is from UK and is currently studying Masters in International Development from Utrecht University, Netherlands. He spent three months with Saath doing his research on the ‘Male Youth Experiences in the slum’ and given below is his experience in his own words.

My internship with Saath has been a truly unforgettable experience. I worked P1120555with the organisation from February-May 2014, conducting research for my Master’s thesis. My research focused on the experiences of male youth in slum communities in Ahmedabad, and how this can be used to inform and shape effective youth and gender policy and programmes. Saath’s youth programme – Youth Force – provided me with an ideal platform through which to talk to young men in the city, to hear their stories, and understand their views and perceptions.

Living in Ahmedabad was a little daunting at first, but I soon settled into this friendly, welcoming, and undoubtedly vivacious city. From the stunning ancient architecture and melting pot of cultures in the old city, to the high-rises, malls and cosmopolitan feel of the new city, it’s a place where contemporary India’s identity can really be felt. This was my first time in India, and I don’t think I could have chosen a better place to start. Ahmedabad, despite being a rambling metropolis of almost 7 million people, retains the mentality and charms of a small city.

I started my time here with an orientation in Saath’s various programmes, all of which demonstrate a high level of initiative, transparency, and accountability. I have been thoroughly impressed with the wide range of successful programmes the organisation operates. Following this, I was introduced to Abhishek, one of Youth Force’s local facilitators, who acted as my research assistant and translator. I am extremely grateful for all of his hard work, dedication and patience with me throughout the research process, I could not have done it without him!

My research involved in-depth interviews with young male members of Youth Force. It was a lengthy process, including some awkward moments when discussing women and gender, but overall it allowed me to gain a fascinating and invaluable insight into the lives and experiences of those I spoke to. Due to the demographic studied I was also given a real point for personal reflection. Presenting my research to various members of staff and youth leaders from across the state was most enjoyable and insightful; it’s been a while since one of my presentations has had such a captive and interested audience!

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Celebrating Holi with Youth Force

Alongside the research for my thesis, my time with Saath has also given me so much more. I’ve gained valuable professional and personal experience, made some great friends, and had the opportunity to visit some wonderful places and eat some fantastic food. Gujarati ice-cream was a particular highlight!

I’d like to thank everyone at Saath for making me feel so welcome and happy during my time in Ahmedabad, and especially Irbaaz for taking care of so many practical issues that I could never have begun to figure out alone! Additionally, I had the good fortune to be a part of Saath’s inspiring 25th anniversary celebrations, on which I would like to congratulate and commend them. While I’m excited for the next stage of my journey (four weeks travelling across India), I will miss my time here, and greatly look forward to my next visit!

Sam has his own blog about his time in India and if you would like to read more, here’s the link to his blog:

http://fourmonthsinthejewel.blogspot.in/

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A short visit to Saath

Seiko Okayama, a student of University of Tokyo, visited Saath in January for her research. This was her second trip to India and read below her story of her experience with Saath.

It was definitely a memorable experience for me to join the short research program at Saath this January.

As a student of South Asian area studies in the University of Tokyo, I had been looking for some suitable way to connect to the local society in Ahmedabad in order to know about the situation of the human development there in this research trip.

The staff of Saath kindly welcomed me while my visit was quite a sudden one and arranged good opportunities  for me to talk with the people in various communities. In the preparation meeting, Saath coordinators listened carefully to the purpose and the methods of my research and gave me many helpful advices on how to conduct it.

During the small discussion with Saath’s workers, they recommended me to visit two areas where Saath’s Urban Resource Centres were located so that I have interviews with the residents there through the help by the program workers.

When I visited those places for the first time, local people kindly accepted me and answered my questions about the issues they were facing in the daily lives. From the stories spoken by them, I could see how deeply they were thankful to the Saath’s activities, such as medical, financial and educational services which were essential for their lives.

IMG_0403Seiko at our Vasna Urban Resource Centre

Even after coming back to the headquarter office, workers who specialised in various empowerment programs kindly spared their times to answer my questions again, which helped me a lot to understand the background situation of the comments offered by the residents during the field interviews.

As a whole, the days I spent with Saath brought me quite important clues for the future research on the city of Ahmedabad.

Seiko Okayama

Expectations & Experience: Elle’s mid-term research experience.

Let me introduce myself; my name is Elle de Jong and I am a student from Utrecht University. The University is a place where I have gained a lot of theoretical knowledge on development in general, however the practical side is considerably different. These is the main aspect, which I desired to experience by doing an internship at SAATH; having a practical encounter with development and learn from an experienced organization.

SAATH asked me to do research on the quality of the anganwadi’s in Juhapura, which I immediately found an intriguing and motivating research topic. After a literature study in the Netherlands I came to Ahmedabad and had a warm and welcoming meet with SAATH. I started off with an extensive introduction of the organization, understanding their line of thought and their means of working. Soon I realized that the theoretical knowledge that I had granted to be so important had completely different meaning in practice. Moreover, certain features of Ahmedabad and Juhapura in specific, made some of the literature I had read unsuitable. When finalizing my internship, the art will be in combining the knowledge that I have gained from theory and the experiences I have in the field.

The first experiences with Juhapura were enchanting for me; the colourful streets of markets with all various products and the endless kindness of the people made me even more motivated to start with the research. After five weeks I started with conducting the actual interviews, which demanded some patience and innovative thinking. All together I have already had the experience I wanted; learn about the practical side of development and see that theoretical knowledge is not everything. Currently I am conducting the final interviews with the workers of the anganwadi’s, and many more interviews need to be done with the parents to formulate a complete overview. As I am only halfway my internship, I hope I can gather much more information and formulate a useful report for SAATH. I will let you know when I’m finished with this research!

Warm regards, Elle