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Time to write the report

As part of our internship we have to write a report based on our findings from the interviews answering the question; can women change Kerala? The report should be around 15 pages long and is going to be read by Jananeethi members and many advocates, Panchayat members, politicians and maybe even the Indian Parliament! No pressure then!

This week was therefore spent solely on planning, writing and putting together the report. This was an emotional week filled with hard-work and stress along with laughter and tears! We also spent many long hours in Samuel's internet cafe when we were faced with power cuts at home, thanks Sam!...

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On Wednesday however we did have a cultural programme to attend. Destin and a number of her advocate friends took us to Cochin to visit the High Court of Kerala. This was a large, very busy building. We sat in on a number of cases as they were in English, although it was still quite difficult to take in what was happening. We were introduced to many other advocates and spoke to a magistrate for a while. To become a magistrate in India is somewhat different to England. Unlike in England where magistrates do not require any formal qualifications and are unpaid, in India an applicant must have the minimum qualification of a Law degree.

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We said a final goodbye to Destin and her friends at the train station before heading home to carry on with the report.

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Posted by laurandtheworld 10:59 Archived in India Comments (0)

Our final day at Jananeethi :(

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After having a mere couple of hours sleep per night the tiredness was definitely getting to us by the end of the week! This morning we were making the final amendments to the report when we had a power cut which lasted over three hours. Just what we didn’t need on the day our report was due in.

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In the afternoon we went to Jananeethi to meet with George, Destin and other board members for our final evaluation session. We each gave our views on what we thought about the internship and specifically the findings we made from our project. It was good to reflect on the internship as a whole and look back on the positive and negatives and to sum up the general findings from our report and discuss these with the Jananeethi members.

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Once we arrived back at our apartment we finally had electricity so we could make the last amendments to our report. All in all I am very pleased with the final report and think it’s something we should all be proud of.

Then we were left with about an hour to tidy the flat, pack and shower before George came to take us to the train station to catch our first overnight train to Varkala. This was the first destination in my six week rollercoaster of travel through India!

Posted by laurandtheworld 11:05 Archived in India Comments (0)

Jananeethi Internship Personal Appreciation

India for me was a real eye opening experience. From the moment we arrived in India I noticed the vast difference in culture and customs compared to England. I grasped the opportunity to immerse myself in the culture straight away, from wearing saris at our welcoming banquet, to eating with my right hand from banana leaves; this is how India should truly be experienced.

The purpose of my travels to India was to undertake a four week internship with Jananeethi Institute as part of a team of four students from Nottingham Trent University. Our project; Can women change Kerala? This is based on a new enactment which gives women fifty percent reservation in local self-government. After conducting one hundred interviews with women representatives (former and present), family members, beneficiaries and government officials, the general response was found to be overwhelmingly positive.

The new enactment is an important stepping stone towards women helping to change Kerala, however this goal cannot be achieved without new changes being made at state level. This is something the women are aware of and are working towards. The new enactment has helped improve women’s confidence and prove that they can be effective representatives.

I would find it interesting to return to Kerala in four or five years when the women representatives are coming towards the end of their term in office, to evaluate what changes they have brought about.

On a personal level this internship has improved my confidence in communicating with people from different cultures and the ability to think on my feet. I am now more culturally aware and I have vastly widened my research knowledge and sparked a new interest in Indian politics, which I would like to continue following. Whilst living in Thrissur, Kerala I also took the opportunity to take part in everyday activities such as morning Yoga at the YMCA from 5-7am, Onam festivities including the Puli Kali parade, a Kalari martial arts workshop and we also visited some beautiful local waterfalls on our day off.

This internship was an incredible opportunity which allowed me to develop many new skills. I would therefore recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the areas of Law and Human Rights. The internship should be approached with an open mind, being ready to learn new concepts and have patience; some tasks take three times as long in India compared to Britain, it's just part of the country and its culture but it gives you time to reflect, which the fast pace at which people live in the UK does not. There are the frustrating times such as power cuts when trying to meet a deadline, but the fun experiences are immense including the sense of achievement when completing a report based on your team’s primary research.

After the internship I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel India for six weeks. Jenna and I travelled from South to North, Thrissur to Delhi by train visiting many villages and cities. To anyone who gets the opportunity, I would definitely recommend travelling India, it is an incredibly interesting country with so much character and culture. Each city and state is so different from the next. It’s impossible to describe the country; it’s just something you have to experience for yourself.

Finally I would like to thank George Pulikuthiyil, Jananeeti Institute and Nick Johnson of Nottingham Trent University for giving me the opportunity to undertake this internship. Thanks must also be granted to Nottingham Trent Alumini Fund for funding the translator; Destin, whom we would not have been able to conduct the interviews without.

I look forward to returning to Kerala in the future. True to what I was initially told, I can definitely agree after visiting many places in this country, Kerala is the most beautiful state in India.

By Laura Williams

Posted by laurandtheworld 05:14 Archived in India Comments (0)

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