Starting our research

17th July 2016

We had our PRA (Participatory Rural Appraisal) training a few days ago. We put it into practice in one of our first projects; creating a ‘social map’ with the community. This is based on the desire to understand Aghor as the Aghorians see it; so to achieve this, we gathered lots of resources people are familiar with (stones, leaves etc.) and used the town centre street-floor as a canvas for the villagers to construct Aghor in 2-D as they perceive it. This makes it sound like a mechanical process but, to clarify, it was a lot more hectic in practice. Despite the multiple voices speaking at once combined with whizzing cars and stray chickens roaming the street, we got there in the end and we have a coherent map to use in our preliminary research. Looking back, it was better to have a mildly chaotic map-drawing session if it meant we maximised the amount of voices who had a say in the way the map looks now; hopefully it is not our view, but it is how Aghor sees Aghor.

Drawing a social and resource map
Drawing a social and resource map

We’ve also been conducting a bunch of surveys this week in order to assess the needs of the community. Predominantly issues of irrigation, education and employment have been brought up. Simultaneously, the majority of people have offered potential solutions to the problems which is great as it fits in with our sustainable development approach nicely. This is because if the motivation to affect positive change is there then all we have to do is facilitate it. Especially lasting structural changes that exist after we’re gone.

Community people and November Charlie 7
Community people and November Charlie 6

We have all had a fair few adventures whilst conducting the surveys, and we’ve learned a lot in the process. Personally, one of the things I’ve taken from the surveys which I wasn’t expecting was the extent of diversity within Aghor. Many people who have different backgrounds and beliefs all call Aghor home, and it is clear that everyone is welcome here.

Things have been great so far and it feels fantastic to be getting stuck into some of the project work.

Remember you can always send messages to them!


Youth In Civil Society Nepal