The biggest responsibility for me as an intern at CoSAP was to visit certain sites where groups of women practice the “Self Help Group Approach.” To be more specific, CoSAP has been working on a 3-year project that has just ended, where the SHG’s have been working on staying resilient during the drought struggle. The main job that Richard and I have is to collect information that indicates whether the 3-year project was successful in “SHG Approach.”
Although I wasn’t able to attend the first field visit due to my illness (typhus), which was a pilot project, I was glad that I was able to attend the 4 other sites that was planned for us to visit. The first town we visited was called Chiro Town, and it was the most urban area out of all of the sites we visited. I was a little nervous because I wanted to do my best in learning, gathering information, and making the women feel comfortable about answering the questions. Compared to the rural areas that we later visited, the SHGs we interviewed in this town seemed much more confident and willing to speak on behalf of their participation in the SHG. What we gathered from this town was that the women were not directly affected by the drought. The fact that they lived in the urban areas gave them the opportunities to involve themselves in different business activities. For example, the selling and buying of different crops or the running of different shops. They also did not receive any government aid due to the success of the group.
With each group we met, they seemed thrilled to have us there listening to what they have to say about their accomplishments and how they have been able to help their families not only have food security but also sending their children to school. As Kasa (lead interpreter), asked questions to the women and translated their answers for us, I can feel a dozen pair of eyes watching every stroke of my pen. My only concern with this situation is that I hope the questions and answers were translated accurately and properly. Not critiquing Kasa’s ability to translate for us, but I just hope that there are words and expressions that can be translated appropriately. I also got the impression that we came here to make a huge impact in their groups, which was sadly not the case. However, I do plan on using the information we gathered and experience for the better since they inspired me so much.