The UNESCO Chair in Community Based Research & Social Responsibility in Higher Education, in collaboration with CESS, Hyderabad, organized a one-day workshop on ‘Learning to do Community Based Research: Perspectives, Opportunities & Ways forward’, on April 18, 2016. This workshop witnessed sharing of experiences, reflections and perspectives on CBR by speakers and participants. CBR experiences were shared by the UNESCO Co- Chairs, Dr Rajesh Tandon, who outlined the Indian context, while the international perspective was shared by Dr Budd Hall.
Pic 1: Dr Rajesh Tandon, sharing his reflections on CBR
Both of them spoke about the history, issues, challenges and ways forward in the field of CBR; and also answered the questions that emerged in the open discussion session. Further, Walter Lepore, Co-ordinator of the NextGen Project, shared the findings of the study. He shared the findings that emerged from the global survey, and the key lessons from the case studies which were done as part of the project. Dr Darlene Clover reflected on gender issues in the field of research and training. She emphasized the importance of re-visiting research, incorporating gender just values. Local and regional experiences were shared by Dr Krishna Reddy from Osmania University and Prof V N Reddy (former professor, IIM-Kolkata). Mr. Srikantnath Reddy representing the Higher Education division of Government of Andhra Pradesh spoke about the need for changes in curriculum and the ways in which community based research can be incorporated in it.
Pic 2: Session on open discussions
The second session of the workshop focused on Community Centric Research in WASH. This session was chaired by Mr. Manoj Rai, Director, PRIA who stated that this session was to mainly to find out the broad areas in sanitation on which community based research can be taken up. Dr. Sakshi Saini from detailed out the experiences of the Rapid Action Learning Unit in Andhra Pradesh and the opportunities and challenges involved. Dr. Jayalakshmi, HOD, Centre for Policy Research, NIRD spoke about the need of put some light on various structures of the Govt. which are involved in providing sanitation and briefly spoke about previous projects undertaken in this area. Prof. Indrakant, RBI Chair Professor, Council for Social Development, Hyderabad shared various studies on economics of sanitation and re established the need for a linkage between communities and academic institutions.
The session ended with institutions like TISS, Hyderabad coming forward to collaborate on the Community based research on Sanitation drawing from the post- lunch session. The programme generated new enthusiasm in academia, NGOs, students, about Community Based Research, indicating potential for further work in this direction.