Exploratory Study of Village Chaukhandiya

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INTRODUCTION

This report consists of the study taken up during the two months1 of fieldwork. As a part of IRMA curriculum this report fulfils the fieldwork component of the report. The study is an attempt to explore and understand the village society and its functioning. Under this segment, we were sent to Madhya Pradesh and were hosted by Aga Khan Rural Support Program (I). The organisation is working for uplift of villages by means of conservation of soil and water resources. We were allotted Chaukhandia village as our place of study and observations made and listed in the report were restricted to the boundaries of the village only.

Our report is an expression of our understanding of the village and is expected to be useful for students, academicians and development professionals while planning any developmental activity in the village. The disaggregated information about the villagers will help in analyzing their quality of life, by studying their economic condition.

OBJECTIVES

The primary purpose of this fieldwork was to acquaint ourselves with the rural life. Our aim was to probe into various aspects of a village life and get into the depth of what was being taught in the classroom and relate it practically to the village context. To summarize into points, the objectives of our study can be as follows: * Refine and align our idea of a village whilst understanding the village realities in totality * To develop an in depth understanding of the village life by experiencing the village society, polity, infrastructure and economics. * Acquaint ourselves with the organisations functioning in the rural areas and the effe ct that they had on lives of the villagers.

Structure of Report

The report is roughly divided into five broad sections. Firstly, we will discuss aspects by which one would describe a village to a stranger, i.e. where it is, who lives there, etc. Second section goes deeper into the people and their way of life i.e. their culture, society and polity. Third section deals with economy of the village. Fourth section discusses village institutions and infrastructure and the gaps which emerge. How to fill those gaps is discussed in development plans, the last section.

METHODOLOGY

During our stay in the village, the most important tool for data collection was observation of the activities done by the villagers. In the first week, we focussed on rapport building and observations of the happenings in the village and transect walks. It was during the transect walks that many of the things which could have been missed out in this report were observed. Following this, we had intensive informal chats with many of the villagers regarding the practises, general condition of the village, issues faced by them etc. This helped us to understand and identify the issues from the villager’s perspective. For the purpose of the study of the village, we identified the various variables that were to be collected. After this, we identified the primary and secondary sources from where we could get the data and cross check them. For the purpose of getting primary data from the villagers, a household survey was conducted based on a stratified random sample. In certain cases the information provided by the villagers was prejudiced and hence the method of triangulation was employed to ensure that the information got was authentic.

Primary Source

Informal Interactions

Being a tribal area the villagers showed some reluctance to share their views on the topic of interest. As a part of the strategy adopted for the purpose of the research, informal interactions were undertaken. They helped break the ice and build rapport and trust with few villagers which put them at ease with us. This further contributed to making our in depth interviews more detailed in nature as we could get more honest responses out of them.

In-depth Interviews
Once we became comfortable with the villagers and vice...
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