In the last session, we thought that since the young journalists had already done quite a bit of writing, whether they would like to be involved in an action project. With this in mind, we asked them, does a journalist only write? Or can he/she also do something concrete, proactively, to change things? They seemed quite enthusiastic.
In session 8, of the two groups of journalists, each was to share their research on a para problem chosen by them. They were asked to include these aspects:
- Details of the Problem/Issue
- Challenges they anticipate
- People in the para who might help them; possibly approaching the para beneficiaries they talked to before thereby involving them in the growth of the para.
- Possible solutions to either solve/lessen the problem
- What methods they might use – eg. Poster exhibition, awareness meetings, writing letters to Newspapers/the Corporation.
Developments from the Session
Para Issue/Problem 1: Digging up of roads, garbage
Taken on by Jyotsna, Apurbo, Surojit, Pinky, Mintu
Solutions roughly brainstormed – Legal, written appeal to officers high-up in the Corporation
Para Issue/Problem 2: Problem with rented homes
Taken on by Rahul, Salman, Robi, Tania, Anjali, Tapos, Puja
This problem is complex and many layered. The issues often differ from one journalist to the other. Eg. Rahul’s problem is that people who live on the second floor in their rented home can afford higher rent, whereas Rahul’s family, on the first floor, cannot. Apurbo suggested that Rahul, in order to get their cooperation, needed to evoke their pity and sympathy. He needed to approach the bariwallah with the group of tenants all agreeing on lowered rent. Bina said that yes, that was why we needed to approach the problem as a group. We can either think there is no solution possible or we can think of giving it a good try.
According to Anjali, since each person had different kinds of problems with their rented homes, they found it difficult to work as a group. Apurbo said he hadn’t done the assignment since the group was supposed to do it together and no one took initiative. Many agreed that the group could not come together and work since they live at different places, rendering it difficult to synchronize free time.
Jyotsna and Pinky, however, had done their assignments individually. This is what they say.
Jyotsna’s assignment: Garbage and Broken Roads
Do you know what the problem is in the area of Bowbazar where I live? It is filled with garbage. From childhood I have been seeing this. It is the same even now. Here the residents throw around vegetable peel, egg shells, paper, plastic, etc. If the plastic gets caught in the mouths of drain pipes, they might get choked. Apart from this, people tread on the dog shit lying around and make the galis dirty. This is how an unhygienic garbage-filled atmosphere has been created. There may be solutions but people don’t seem to bother. They only try to keep their own homes clean, not thinking of the larger environment. The solutions might be people keeping a garbage bin in front of their homes, to throw daily waste in. When the Corporation van comes in the morning, it can take away the garbage. The problem is that the latter does not come in time every day. If such be the case, people need to present themselves at the Corporation office and complain.
If this does not work out, a complaint can be lodged with the Councillor. If this also falls on deaf ears, there is no other option but to be aware ourselves and pitch in personally to keep the surroundings clean. People can stick posters in different places to increase general awareness about the issue.
Who ignore the problem?
The majority of people in the para ignore the problem. No one listens and end up dirtying the surroundings more.
2. Broken Roads
In our para, the KMC people break up roads to put pipes in or to build the road anew. But after the job is finished, they don’t clean/mend the broken roads. When it is dark, elderly people/children are in danger of tripping and falling on these roads. People find it difficult to move about. Many people have landed up at the KMC and complained, but no one has come to address the problem. It was only when a group of people sent them a letter signed by the Councillor, they came and mended the road.
Pinky’s assignment: Coming Shortly
Follow Up Assignment for All Journalists:
To create an action plan about how each group plans to address the problem they have researched. Make a list of the ways in which Kalam might assist them in carrying out this plan, eg. Supporting with materials, use of camera/voice recorder etc. Bina explanation of a 3 fold structure:
- Problem and action plan
- How to solve/medium of solution
- List of materials and the help they will need from Kalam.
Para Issue/Problem 1
Digging up of roads, garbage (Jyotsna, Apurbo, Surojit, Pinky, Mintu)
- Posters in different houses/street
- Garbage bins for pedestrians
- Household garbage to be disposed off in household bins and should be taken off by the Corporation
- Community awareness programme – music, theatre, presence of Councillor
- Writing a letter to the press to invite them to this programme/sending out invitation cardsHelp in drafting letter
Para Issue/Problem 2
Problems with Rented Homes (Rahul, Salman, Robi, Tania, Anjali, Tapos, Puja)
- Awareness programme
- Letter to KMC
- Meeting with community to gather solidarity, then meeting with landlord
- Media to be used
- Street theatre Role Play (in 4 paras)
- Meeting in Community club/somebody’s rooftop
Materials needed: Blank posters, Colours, Pens, A4 papers, Envelope, Ideas
From Kalam support needed in Money, Painting, and Ideas.
The next session (Session 9) they have been asked to come up with:
Division of responsibility
We’ve been doing some catching up on the first round of grantees and reading about your progress give us great hopes. We started mini-workshops before we received our RV grants and realized the amount of work to be done just on the formation level. Your workshops updates are really worth the dig and we realize our groups have similarities (we tried to have many young people willing to write journalistic stories).
We understand your difficulties in terms of connectivity since we meet the same and your latest video upload will be showed during the next session to inspire our friends.