If I were to conduct a village study …

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This is an unusual guideline but it is brilliant and should be required reading for any who presume to be involved in development and who go information-gathering in villages. It may not read like a typical guideline or checklist, being written as though Deep Joshi were just musing aloud to himself, but if we all behaved like this and thought like this when “doing an appraisal”, participatory or otherwise, the quality of our insight into the lives of those we try to help would improve dramatically.

Here is a taste: “I know I would travel around the village … walk, walk, and walk. I would listen and talk to people, as they are, where they are. I would keep my eyes open to see; I would keep my mind open and alert so that I observe what I see; I would turn in my mind what I have observed so that I reflect upon what I observed. I would discuss with my colleagues, others around me … And in the end, if I have uncovered my own ignorance, may be it has been a worthwhile exercise…” Read it!

Taken from “A Resource Book for Livelihood Promotion” by S. Datta, V.Mahajan and G.Thakur.

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