Field trips have been an essential component of our Development and Emergency Practice masters to learn about research methods and the meeting point between theory and practice. Read about past field trips here.
In the words of Sue Webb, MA DEP student 2018-19
Over 12 days in April, a group of 12 DEP students and 3 lecturers visited Saida, in South Lebanon. This was the third and final field trip organised with the help of a partner NGO, Blue Mission. Building on the findings of previous DEP research, we set out to learn more about how the Lebanese host community and the Syrians and Palestinians displaced from Syria are managing the challenges they face, particularly regarding housing, education and livelihoods. After orientation and training on the use of narratives, we had the opportunity to interview over 35 individuals and small groups, both in Saida and the surrounding areas. Arabic-speaking DEP students Nelly and Rima were valuable interpreters, along with Blue Mission staff. We also spoke to organisations working with refugees in Saida and Beirut. We then analysed what we’d heard, trying to crystallise what we’d learnt about our chosen themes; we presented our findings to Blue Mission on the final day. It was a thoroughly beneficial and enjoyable trip. We worked hard, learnt a huge amount, ate and laughed a lot together and even had a day’s sightseeing at Byblos.
This year students travelled to Gujarat, India to study the long term recovery challenges after earthquake of 2001. The visit was organised in collaboration with All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI), Gujarat, India. The 2001 earthquake had devastating effects on the affected population. 15 years on MA DEP students travelled to affected areas of Kutch and Patan districts of Gujarat. They conducted interviews with affected persons, undertook transect walks, used sketches to delineate changes. Captured in this special issue of southasiadisasters.net published by AIDMI and includes articles by DEP students on various themes allied with post-earthquake recovery challenges.
As part of the ‘Observatory of Symbolic Violence’, a group of DEP students in partnership with CERAR (France) conducted a research trip to the Valle del Cauca region in Colombia. The team talked with different communities affected by conflict including the campesinos (farmers), cafeteros (coffee producers), indigenous people, Afro-Colombians and the displaced populations. The two week trip concluded with a debrief presentation to FECOOP in Cali, highlighting key findings such as fighting stigmatisation and normalisation, and mobilising youth as agents of change.
The aim of this trip was to investigate the impacts of symbolic violence on direct and indirect victims of one of the longest contemporary conflict (65 years of violence) and of the hopes created by the peace process. Hardships but also populations, modes of adapatation, resilience and coping were monitored within two specific populations: displaced cafeteros (coffee farmers) and indigenous Pijao natives. During two weeks, 7 students, local members of partner universities and NGOs and one Brookes lecturer conducted interviews, focus groups and active observation of life of the affected communities'.
This year DEP students visited Typhoon Yolanda affected areas in Philippines. They assessed the recovery efforts taken so far, and interviewed survivors to understand their current challenges, in particular in relation their livelihoods and shelter. They also met government representatives, local council members, and other international NGOs to understand their roles in meeting these challenges. This field trip was taken in collaboration with the international development organisation: Action Aid International.
In April 2014 nine students and staff from CENDEP travelled to Palestine to undertake a research trip around South Hebron. Examining concepts of peaceful resistance and coping strategies in conflict situations, this field trip contributes to an ongoing study that builds on the existing strengths and capabilities of the Palestinian people living in this region.
Rebuilding Communities After the Earthquake, Livelihood and Shelter Study Leogane
In January 2014 students and tutors from CENDEP were joined by staff and students from the University of Georgia, the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) and Tufts University to undertake a ten day participatory assessment with the NGO Habitat for Humanity of housing following the January 2010 earthquake
Vulnerable Communities Participatory Assessment
In January 2013 eight students and staff from CENDEP joined students and staff from North West University’s African Centre for Disaster Studies (ACDS) and the University of Georgia’s Center For Community Design and Preservation for a ten day community assessment. The assessment took place in Piketberg in South Africa’s Western Cape, and involved visits to communities and meetings with officials. As with previous field trips, the purpose was to learn and test participatory approaches. The team was kindly hosted by the West Coast District and the Bergrivier Municipality. As part of the work students produced a final report which was presented to officials in Piketberg.
In January 2012, 26 students from DEP joined 5 students from the USA's University of Georgia and the NGO Resource Centre for Participatory Development Studies (RCPDS) to undertake a 10 day participatory assessment of coastal communities in Nagapattinam affected by the 2004 Asian tsunami. Nagapattinam was the worst affected area in India, accounting for 76% of deaths within Tamil Nadu. Over 6000 people lost their lives and approximately 40,000 houses were destroyed. The assessment sought to gauge how communities had recovered and the extent to which aid provided had contributed to this process. To these ends students spent time listening to communities, while undertaking participatory rapid appraisal (PRA) techniques. At the end of the workshop findings were presented back to participating communities for comment and discussion. Findings and recommendations were also discussed and verified at a half day meeting attended by local NGOs and government officials.
In January 2011, as part of the annual DEP field trip, 14 students undertook a 12 day participatory assessment in Morjim, a village in India's Goa State. The work was undertaken with the Indian NGO SEEDS India and the International Centre in Goa (ICG). The assessment focused on the threats of climate change along the coastal northern edge of Goa and the potential threat to vulnerable communities. Activities included discussions with local stakeholders and the use of participatory rapid appraisal (PRA) tools, including mapping and transect walks.At the end of the assessment student made two presentations. The first was to local residents in the fish market, wherein attendees were invited to provide feedback and comments on draft findings, including voting on which recommendations residents thought were most important.
A second, formal session held at the ICG offices, was held later in the same day at the ICG offices and was attended by academics, experts and journalists. At that event the final report ' Morjim at risk? Community at a crossroads, Goa, India' was launched and discussed. The report received widespread interest in the media and was reported on the front page of the Times of India and The Goa Herald, as well as appearing in several websites and other newspapers. To find what the Deccan Herald said, click here. As a result of this study, an electronic platform entitled Goa Action Research was created, to share academic, professional and other projects on current issues in Goa.
In January 11 students from DEP attended the two week optional field visit to the Indian State of Orissa. The purpose of the visit was to conduct a participatory assessment with vulnerable communities. To these ends students spent time in Pentha Kota, a community of some 5000 families who have lived 'illegally' for over 50 years on the beach of the popular tourist town of Puri. The visit was carried out with the NGOs SEEDS India and the Urban and Development Resource Centre (UDRC) with help from the Orissa Slum Dwellers Federation.
On January 14th 2009 students attended a 12 day workshop in Nagapattinam, a town in Tamil Nadu. The workshop involved undertaking community assessments using participatory rapid appraisal (PRA) techniques in two villages affected by the 2004 Asian tsunami. At the end of the workshop findings were presented back to communities. The workshop was carried out in collaboration with the NGO Resource Centre for Participatory Development Studies (RCPDS).
In January 2008, CENDEP organised two field trips. The first in Alexandra, Johannesburg. A Johannesburg study tour for undergraduate architecture students, spent time in Alexandra township, as well as visiting Soweto, Constitution Hill and the Hector Pieterson Museum. While in Alex students were hosted by the Alexandra Renewal Project (ARP).
The second for DEP students, involved a livelihoods assessment in Polokwane Province. Working with members of Polokwane Provincial Government Department of Housing, who hosted the workshop, students undertook participatory rapid appraisal (PRA) in two settlements, with findings being presented back to Government, NGOs and others for comment.