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Challenge of the Balance

Aug. 1, 2013-Aug. 30, 2013 , New Delhi
Challenge of the Balance
This international summer school which started in 2007 with a group of 23 students from Oslo University, in the last seven years has more than 200 alumni. This year 15 young people from UK, Nepal and India participated. Summer school on development challenges that South Asia faces today is jointly coordinated with EWB UK Chapter. Of the 15 participating, 11 were from various engineering colleges of UK. They had joined in to understand the social and political aspects of the debate on the twin challenges.

Interactive and questioning all the while, participants visited Sulabh Museum in Delhi, Kachpura in Agra, besides the regular tourist destinations of Taj Mahal and Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Chandni Chowk, Qutub Minar etc. Sulabh Museum that records history of toilets and Kachpura in Agra that is a model village where inhabitants themselves manage their sewerage and waste water fascinated them. Lectures on rainwater and waste water management enthused them to visit these places.

During the field visit to Jodhpur they also saw various techniques of water management. They heard about silicosis rampant in the area because of red sand stone quarrying. They spoke to community and patients and doctors on the fallouts of the ailment.

As they had heard about these issues in the classroom from experts in the field and also from CSE’s water team, they could connect the dots. Classroom lectures on health, legal aid, watershed, indigenous living, to name a few, helped them understand what they were seeing in the field.

As they had heard about these issues in the classroom from experts in the field and also from CSE’s water team, they could connect the dots. Classroom lectures on health, legal aid, watershed, indigenous living, to name a few, helped them understand what they were seeing in the field.

For the end of course assignment they produced a magazine. They chose editors, copyeditor, designers, photographers (among themselves) – an effort that gives them great pride at the end of the course. See the magazine here >> http://www.cseindia.org/userfiles/grassroots_mag2013.pdf

Faculty
Invited faculty included Pradip Kishen (Filmaker & Environmentalist) , Sanjay Upadhaya (Supreme Court Advocate and the founder and managing partner of India's first environmental law firm, Enviro Legal Defence Firm), Sucharita Sen (Associate Professor, Center for Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University), Joe Athialy (Bank Information Centre's Coordinator for South Asia), Bharat Lal Seth (South Asia Program Coordinator, International Rivers); Nitin Sethi (Assistant Editor, The Hindu); Vimal Bhai (Activist, Founder Matu Jan Sangathan); Chetan Agarwal ( has studied the ecological benefits of Mangar Bani and the surrounding Aravalli hills); Pradeep Sachdeva (Planner, Architect); Gaurav Shorey (Assistant Professor, Sushant School of Architecture, Delhi); Atul Sood (Associate Professor, Centre for Studies for Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University); Leena Menghaney (Access Campaign India Co-ordinator at Médecins Sans Frontières); Dr Prakash Tyagi (Director, Gramin Vikas Vigyan Samiti -GRAVIS); Dr S.M. Mahnot, (Director, The School of Desert Sciences); Dr. D. C. Bhandari Principal Scientist Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI); Dr Karni Singh (Director Mehrangarh Museum Trust). CSE’s program leads and experts also delivered several lectures. CSE’s program leads and expert also delivered several lectures.

Feedback
- One of my reasons for applying was to gain an insight into international development first-hand, the course allowed me to do this. The course did help me be more realistic about aspects such as communicating in different cultures, travelling in the developing world and potential issues and considerations to keep in mind during international development.

- The course reminded me of my inspiration in taking engineering: to apply my skills in the developing world. I can say that the course re-inspired me to pursue my true interests. However, it also taught me how complicated development can be and perhaps made me more pessimistic.

- I would reccommend the course as I learnt alot and saw lots that I otherwise would never had got the chance to experience. The social side of the course was fantastic, I've made some like-minded friends from all over the country however it would have been nice to have some more locals on the course to learn a lot more.

- I would definitely recommend this course to others as it opens your eyes to a whole range of different opinions. You also get to meet and speak to a whole range of very important and interesting people who have a lot to say and a lot to teach you.

- The speakers were on average very good, some were absolutely brilliant and others adequate. I feel that the areas we covered were very wide and therefore gave us a very good overview of the development problems faced in India. The learning materials were more than sufficient, paper, pens, magazines, library, reading material etc. The rural trip was an excellent experience but again I would have much rather visited fewer places or had longer days and actually spent more time with the locals, conversating with them and not just one of them but rather a varied opinion across each village. I know that this is difficult due to language barriers but I felt like there were enough willing possible translators for this to have been possible. This would also possibly have been easier if we actually stayed amongst villagers (I know there are security problems with this but I think they are minimal personally), I was actually expecting this of the field trip alongside others and was slightly disappointed. Although, the accommodation we stayed in was indeed fantastic.
Participants
  • Ansh Deep Ralh
    Assistant Director, Military Engineering Services, Jalandhar
    Ashish Raj Dhungana
    M.A. Environmental Management, Pokhara University, SchEMS College, Kathmandu, Nepal (currently pursuing)
  • Billy Theodorus
    Engineers Without Border, UK
    Christopher Hogg
    Engineers Without Border, UK
  • Hemraj Bhattarai
    B.Sc.in Environmental Management, Pokhara University
    Katy Beth Liddell
    Engineers Without Border, UK
  • Kimberly Williams
    Engineers Without Border, UK
    Lorraine Kayley Blanks
    Engineers Without Border, UK
  • Matthew Gilmore
    Engineers Without Border, UK
    Rebecca Rabjohns
    Engineers Without Border, UK
  • Reesha Dyer
    Engineers Without Border, UK
    Robert Daniel Frostick
    Engineers Without Border, UK
  • Shraddha Sudhir Mahadik
    MSc University of Pune
    William Thurston
    Engineers Without Border, UK
  • Yasemin Dogan
    Engineers Without Border, UK