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Some beautiful memories during my first visit to Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) August 19, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — paintedpostcards @ 10:06 am

I joined CHSJ on 1st July, 2013. After joining CHSJ, it was my first field visit to Bhopal. From Delhi, four CHSJ staffs were part of the partners’ review meeting in Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) who were all very senior to me in experience and age. It was a great experience for me to travel in the same train with my seniors. We know that Bhopal is also known as the Lake City, during my visit I did not get the time hence missed a visit to the lakes but we enjoyed seeing it from far while travelling in the auto rickshaw.

It was great experience to see the natural beauty (lake) in the city. Earlier I had travelled many times through Bhopal while coming from Chhattisgarh to Delhi but it was quite a different experience for me to be a professional and travel around. In reality only though this trip I got to know that geographically Bhopal is situated on the hills. CHSJ (Bhopal) office is also situated on one of the hills.

The beautiful climate in Bhopal reminded me of one of my visit to Nepal; it was almost similar. There was another very interesting experience in Bhopal. It was Ramzan time and as we all know this month is very holy for the Muslims. Before the travel there was a dilemma whether we will be able to pray or not during the visit as we would have to maintain punctuality and also it was a new place and a new organisation, but, it was really amazing to see the help we got from our CHSJ management team members especially, Satishji who I would like to thank for all cooperation during the visit. There we searched one mosque near the CHSJ Bhopal office, since it was walking distance we went there to pray till we were there.

The second day of our visit, we (Ravish and me) arranged a small Iftar party for CHSJ colleagues and other project colleagues in the office. After the party it was raining heavily but we managed to reach the railway station by auto rickshaw. The interesting part of my travel was that we had earlier planned to take dinner in the train so we had taken a very light Iftar but when we reached the station it was announced that the train was delayed by an hour due to heavy rains. Satishji suggested taking dinner in some restaurant assuming the train will get further delayed. We went to the railway station canteen and had dinner. After some time we came to know that the train has been reschedule with a delay of another two hours and there were chances for further delay. We prepared our mind to go to the waiting room and be there for some time. Finally Ravish and I managed to go to the station market and enjoy some tea, roasted chicken roast and cold drink. I personally bought some gifts for my nephew and daughter from the local market at mid night while Ravish went for prayers at the market’s mosque.

Our wait finally came to an end with the arrival of the train next day early morning at around 5.30 am. The train was 8 hours late and we missed the non vegetarian dinner; we were also worried as Ravish had his flight to Pune that day. We reached Delhi  nine hours late, Ravish and Satishji missed their flight.

Reflection on thematic experience:

In terms of my profession this tour was very fruitful especially in the context of understanding what a social charter was. We also learnt about the strategies and plans of the facilitators and animators regarding the social charters in the community. Through the partners quarterly review meeting I have been able to understand the village level health system and how they are networking with them for any health service at the village level.

As they discussed during the meeting, I was personally impressed to know that now they are able to talk about improving/adding health services through channelization with district level health services planning team. It shows their working zeal and has helped me in exploring my personal understanding/knowledge.

This was an immense learning experience for me and I really enjoyed my official trip at Bhopal. I would like to heartedly pay thanks to my dear deputy director and MAGE team for providing me such an opportunity.

By Dastagir Ali Azam


Attitudes can be changed, values and social norms can be re-designed August 10, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — paintedpostcards @ 10:12 am

I joined CHSJ one month back with an intention to have a deeper understanding of the issues and ongoing work related to gender equality. On the first day in CHSJ I had a query in my mind about the working strategies at CHSJ.

I was glad to know that a proper and timely orientation will be given as I am a new family member of CHSJ. As different rounds of orientation sessions went on I learnt several new things related to the work strategies of CHSJ. At the outset, I was oriented to this new thought of ‘involving men in gender equality’ but with a question remained as in ‘how’.

The rigorous orientation, interactions and discussions with staff members and slight involvement in the ongoing activities helped me develop my understanding on involving in gender equality. I was able to understand that a man can make a big difference in his and as well as rest of the family member’s life. Man, in any family is the key person and has the decision making power. Men’s in household chores create a friendly and pleasant environment in the house hence men need to change themselves positively.

Attitude is the first barrier which prohibits men to take a part in the household chores. Values and social norms, especially, based on gender makes a man reluctant to provide support to the female family members – mother, sister(s), wife, daughter(s) – in their daily house-work, health care, crises, etc.  Ignorance about the importance of gender roles, especially because of masculinity, in the household chores is another cause behind the absence of male participation in the house chores and responsibilities toward the family members.

Now I understand that attitudes can be changed, the values and the social norms can be re-designed, and a man can make a difference by taking part in the household chores. Information and awareness, behaviour changing exercises, and guidance need to be made available to men as a start to get men involved in the household chores.

When a man takes care and provides support, his family members, especially females- a mother proudly shares it with the society, sister(s) enjoy the support and a better life, children have a caring friend, a wife gets handholding support, a wife’s pregnancy becomes safer, and the home environment become more pleasant.

The overall orientation process gave me another opportunity at a personal to also review of my past and present behaviour and has provided me a direction for the future.

By Ravish Ahmad