Research on the Pandemic and Healthcare
This ongoing project on healthcare during COVID times, initiated in June 2020, has a focus on a number of sub-themes that include examination of social determinants of the multidimensional COVID burden; of the current status of basic public services impacting health, livelihood and food security; the precarious condition of migrant workers, the role and empowerment of frontline healthcare workers to deal with both normal time and crisis time challenges, and people’s awareness of COVID 19 risks. The empirical focus of this project is mainly on the State of West Bengal; with a more modest qualitative enquiry in Himachal Pradesh. A telephone survey of sampled households in different districts of the state and of a selected group of frontline healthcare and other service providers has been conducted. The analysis of collected data is in progress. We expect this study to have important implications and lessons for post-pandemic analyses, coping strategies, and research methodologies.
Achieving Quality Education through Enhanced Teachers’ Capabilities
This project started in 2019 and involved in-depth research as well as practical on-ground action for enhancing teachers’ capabilities and harnessing their creativity to further the quality of education. The main tasks envisaged in this project included (a) a preparatory workshop with teachers to understand the issues of quality education; (b) to carry out a comprehensive baseline survey to map the status of primary education in West Bengal; (c) to undertake action based on the report of the survey, in the form of training programmes, education meets, etc.; and (d) to construct a physical resources centre, housing books and reading material on pedagogy, which could be made available freely to teachers. This study is nearing completion and we expect to prepare a report and present our findings at an early date in 2021.
Women’s Empowerment in Nutrition
Our earlier collaboration with Collaborative Research and Dissemination (CORD) and Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR) by way of data collection for this project led to the decision, in November 2019, that Pratichi would now work on preparing a report based on this data as well. Initially the focus was on areas where women were less empowered than men, as also on analyzing the aspects of empowerment of different social categories of women – young (in the positions of daughter or daughter-in-law of the household) and elderly (mothers or mothers-in-law). Empowerment was analyzed on the basis of economic independence, health status and health awareness, ownership of assets as well as decision making within the households. Later, in February 2020, it was recognized that there was a need to move away in the analysis from the economic dimension to other dimensions such as health, fertility and decision making within and outside the household. Accordingly, the Pratichi team jointly identified a set of issues that could be taken as measures of empowerment. On the basis of this preliminary analysis, a first draft write-up was prepared and submitted to CORD for feedback. With the lockdown following the COVID 19 pandemic, we are awaiting the feedback on this report so that it can be taken up for further analysis and preparation of the final version of the report.
Action-oriented Listening: Public Voice and Policy Choice
Pratichi (India) Trust has undertaken an evaluative study of the mechanisms that have been recently put in place in the state of West Bengal to record citizens’ demands, perceptions, and complaints vis-a-vis a number of welfare schemes that have been introduced by the Government of West Bengal. Documentation of these critical voices with respect to the functioning of several such populist schemes is, ideally, linked up with an interest on the part of policy makers in their amends. To what extent policy actions respond to people’s critical inputs for their further improvement is the question that this evaluation aims to pursue.