General Secretary, Bharat Gyan Vigyan samithi
new delhi, India
|Participatory resource mapping and planning not only raises the levels of education, awareness and livelihoods, but with concomitant legislation for right to information, it can make access to information and transparency in governance a reality.|
The ample amount of good practices available around us need not be casually replaced with practices that have evolved thousands of miles away. Good practices available locally, that have developed indigenously over the years are generally rooted in the local knowledge systems and evolutionary traditions of the people. They can be an immense resource, especially when sustainability looms as a critical issue for the years to come.
The Peoples Science Movement (PSM) attempts to integrate high science and people’s knowledge and skills. There is a strong element of empirical knowledge and science in traditional practices: that of farmers, artisans, masons, tailors, etc. Elements of science inherent in such practices need to be integrated, rather than substituted by laboratory science.
Most of our programs are focused on local governance. Local people have their own lifestyles, their knowledge, their natural resources like land, forests and water, and animals and fodder. They know, plan and decide on the basis of their available local resources. In order to attain real local governance we promoted participatory resource management. For example, in order to plan for education, you need to know how many schools and children are there; to improve agriculture, what kind of soil exists and what kind of the drainage is available for irrigation, how much water is available, and so on. The best way to present the survey data is through resource mapping. Local people collect the information, collate it and map it.
It all started in 1992 in Kalliashri in Kerela, the beginning of the Kerela Panchayat Development Plans. Consequently now Panchayats formulate their own development plans in Kerela. These plans are integrated to make the official state development plan. We could manage to involve the community due to the literacy campaigns we started in 1989. Since then we have been using resource mapping in a variety of areas.
For us resource mapping is a tool, a method that can be used varyingly in different locations. We used it extensively in Orissa for disaster management and in eight other states for watershed development. We must address the larger issues, such as the rural and urban divide. Rural people produce raw material that gets value addition in cities. If the value addition can be done at local level itself, the rural people can be immensely benefited. This requires local level technology upgradation, data analysis, market surveys and planning; and resource mapping can be a powerful method to achieve this.
|Rural people produce raw material that gets value addition in cities. If the value addition can be done at local level itself, the rural people can be immensely benefited. This requires local level technology upgradation, data analysis, market surveys and planning; and resource mapping can be a powerful method to achieve this.|