Bjelkeman's travel notes

Travels with the cloud in my pocket.

The North and the South

Deepak Menon (left) and Sharada Prasad outside the Arghyam offices in Bangalore.

I had some really extensive discussions today with Deepak Menon about development aid from the North to the South. Deepak pointed out, which may be obvious to you, that when he is working in this field, being based in an office in Bengaluru in south India, he really belongs to the so called “North” as well. He isn’t viewed much different than the pale, tall, white guy, like I am, when he goes to a rural area to “help”.

We talked a lot about the right and wrong when helping people and the inherent bias you get from your culture. Not only cultures like north European, or south Indian, but also the urban city culture vs. the rural culture. Both of us are urban city people.

Deepak gave me a task today too. He wondered what the rural sanitation solutions looks like in northern Europe, which he had thought about but never managed to find out. I told him what I know about it and it struck us both that it would be really useful to show and compare these solutions when thinking about what works and what doesn’t, also in rural India. So my task for next week is to dig up some material on this and show Deepak.

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Filed under: Development aid, India

About Bjelkeman

thomas@bjelkeman.com

Co-director: Akvo Foundation

+46-8-626 7609

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