Working with I DO has been one of the best experiences in the past few years. I am by profession a GIS engineer, typically a boring, computer savvy guy. I had always dreamt of working in an environment that is challenging and where I can enjoy my life and work. It was made possible by I DO. As a part of their Champions of Change Fellowship, I worked in an NGO called Panchabhuta in Kagal, Karnataka. This Fellowship was for a month in June 2016. That 1 month changed all my thinking about coastal life.
Set in a beautiful background of mountains and beaches, I felt that this area is Nature’s greatest gift. I worked with a wonderful team of researchers. It is not just a place of learning, but a beautiful place to sit back and enjoy the lazy days. Field work involved socio-economic survey of villages around the relatively untouched Aghanashini river estuary. It was a wonderful experience, not as a tourist, but as someone there to learn and try to find solutions to the local issues. I saw some of the most wonderful fishing villages in the area, and could visit some small river islands during my survey work.
Field techniques that I learnt from the surveys are helping me even today. I recently guided a team of M.Tech. guys to collect Health Data survey in Neemrana, an industrial town in Rajasthan. My learnings from the field also helped me to complete an independent project of developing a “PM2.5 spread map for Neemrana”. The Fellowship work has given me confidence to do field work.
I DO team also carried out a new innovative “Manthan” on rural development in Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra. That event was a revelation, and exposed me to different visions of rural development. This kind of experience was new to me. We met Anna Hazare Ji, something that was present in my bucket list.
During this journey, the friends that I made have become influencers and guide me in certain areas even today. I have been able to get in touch with Gubbi Labs and sustainability practitioners only because of the contacts that I developed during my fellowship. Love you guys, and I would love to work with you whenever its possible.