Sapna Ahuja interned at All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI) this summer, and shares her enthralling experience with us. Sapna is an MBA student at Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar. Here’s her internship story.
DRASTIC TIMES CALLED FOR DRASTIC MEASURES
It would always be tough to define experiences which twist and turn your life, and make you a better person. To start off, an internship is meant to make a person fall into a new car driving him up-to the speed he has never ridden. This not only enhances his perception about the unknown variations in the mileage of views/thoughts/opinions from his own, but also makes him an improved driver with the know-how of the skills needed and the track to be followed. Moreover, working in an environment with the people who have grayed their hair in the field poses challenges in front of you to perform flawlessly and prove that you are worthy of being a part of the race. While in addition, to demonstrate that you were actually the right choice to be selected for their organization.
The Summer Internship Programme, which I carried out in the “All India Disaster Mitigation Institute” (AIDMI) has left a noticeable positive sign on my cognizance to pursue a career as a rural manager. Working with the organization has not only imbibed me with the knowledge of the rural areas but has also made me a person who can empathetically look into the problems and try to find out the solutions for the benefit of those vulnerable souls.
As Assam is a very disaster prone region, so AIDMI was hired by the Assam government for the disaster management planning. The Project namely “District Disaster Management Plan” was meant to assist the Assam State Government in preparing the district disaster management plan for three of its districts (Dhemaji, Bongaigaon and Chirang). Its objective was to find out the gaps between “what is” and “what should be/ what can be” in terms of disaster mitigation readiness. For this, the hazard vulnerability and capacity assessment (HVCA) exercise was to be carried out in some panchayats/ villages, of the three districts of Assam, which were chosen on the basis of various factors like demographic and geographic characteristics, environment conditions, economic status, etc.
The main components of the exercise to be conducted in the rural areas included the PRA (Participatory Rural Appraisal) exercise where the president, the secretary, all the ward members, the ANMs, the Asha workers, the ICDS centre members, the community leaders, and the Gram Rozgaar Sevak (GRS) and the line department officials, working for that particular panchayat were invited. Thereafter, the schools, hospitals and ICDS centres were also visited to assess the preparedness of the rural institutional infrastructures to deal with a sudden disaster.
Considering the role of a rural manager, my internship was an enriched understanding of the bottom of the pyramid. I had the chance of visiting the rural residents’ places, interacting with them, knowing about the current situation of the village & the problems they face, and also the role of various public institutions in building them up. It could never have been better than this for me to learn holistically about some of the practical applications of “Rural Management”.
Also enwrapped with the incumbency of questioning the administration, about the gaps in the functioning and provision of facilities to the rural people (for dealing with disasters), it was an opportunity to break the back of the beast. It was a rare chance to interact with the people holding high posts in the various departments, and walk with pride having the authority to interrogate them. Thereafter, the whole situation and responses were consolidated and the disaster management plan was prepared for the place.
To end with the comprehensive eyeshot view, I consider myself lucky to have been a part of AIDMI and its project. This enthralled learning has led me to think about the importance of ‘Disaster Management’ as a potential domain that can be pursued as a rural manager. Be it the Bengal famine of 1943 or the disastrous 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami or the recent J & K floods- we need to quit just talking about them. And instead take a step in the direction of helping the government and the disaster vulnerable population to take preemptive actions in extenuating the impact of any such future calamities.
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