Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The search for Community Committee members

Today our group divides into several subteams, and my subteam and I have the assignment of scouting for 3 involved and enthusiastic community members that would be willing to become a part of the project's community commitee. The community commitee is a body that would oversee the progress of the program and be the community's direct link in contacting government officials or sanitation workers. First, we walked around getting to know the individuals that stood out amongst the 173 families in the narrow lanes. Just from speaking to a few people, the RF students were able to gage which people the community respected most and looked to for leadership. We approached Krishna, an old woman/shopkeeper, Mohammad, a friendly tailor in a nearby community who knew the area well and was passionate about our cause, and Rama, another young male shopkeeper with strong opinions but a great leadership style and network in the community. It's great to see people who are willing to step up and take time out of their work-filled days to volunteer and become community representatitves.

The RF media personel came with us into the slum today and interviewed several members of the community about their opinions of sanitation and how they felt about the current trash situation. The presence of cameras, mikes, etc. caused a lot of curiousity and excitement :).

Small children getting their drinking water (from government tap) right next to the sewage drain clogged with trash.

Yuck, we want to help the community solve this problem ! Water barely flows and you can find ANYTHING in the water from eggplants and coke bottles to human feces.

Musheer speaking to Krishna, one of our future community committee members, we hope!

We were also able to meet with the local President and VP of the community council in their homes. Apparently, people in the community have very mixed feelings about them because they do bring about some beneficial programs and features to the community but at the same time there is immense corruption in the system because they keep a lot of the community's money and don't do anything with it. It definetly was difficult for our group to decide how to take their generous offers of help because of the possible corruption/political ties that could possibly complicate our project. However, in the end we used their help to set up a meeting with the MCD (Municipal Council of Delhi) which handles sanitation/water and we kept our interaction professional and friendly but did not work much further with them due to their mixed popularity with the community.

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