Stories from the field

Author Perry Watson

Perry Watson – Podcast 5: An Interview with PRIA President, Dr. Rajesh Tandon

In my fifth podcast, I sit down and ask Dr. Rajesh Tandon, President of Participatory Research in Asia.

Before diving into the interview, I have included a brief sound bite from my Ganges riverside experience in Varanasi, India during my stay there over the Christmas holidays.  

I ask Dr. Tandon the following questions: 

What was the rationale for you to start Participatory Research in Asia?;

How would you explain what PRIA does to someone in Canada?;

How do you envisage a successful ‘Water and Sanitation’ development project coming together?; 

There seems to be a disconnect between the behavioral elements and infrastructural aspects of improving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) conditions on the ground, how do you see this?;

As an organization, how do you approach tweaking and changing the participatory methodologies that PRIA employs?;

What advice would you give a university student interested in (international) development work as a potential career? 

Cheers everyone! 


Perry Watson – Podcast 4: Field Perspectives on Open Defecation and a Poem

In this third podcast, I share a few explanatory reasons for the continued practice of open defecation in rural India. I approach my understanding of the issue from a behavioral perspective, as I find it more relevant to the field work I have undertaken. These perspectives are adapted from a previous document that I wrote for Participatory Research in Asia. In addition, I have added some field-based anecdotes to enhance the discussion.

In the second part of the podcast, I share quite a profound poem that a friend shared with me here in Raipur recently – “Die Slowly” by Pablo Neruda. As fate would have it, the poem was given to me right as I was about to create this podcast. 

Cheers everyone! 

Perry Watson – Blog 1: Managing Expectations in a Foreign NGO

This blog posting lays out a few ideas in terms of expectations that I have been thinking about for quite sometime here in India. I felt that it was appropriate to share some of these points as a means of moving onto the thought process for the Capstone portion of my internship. I believe that the personal reflection element adds invaluable context to the research and field work with PRIA.

A combination of the two streams of thought will ultimately form a more holistic account of my immersion in India.   



Perry Watson – Podcast 3: Interpreting the peri-urban landscape

Join me on a typical walk home from my host organization’s office (PRIA) to my residence, here in Raipur, India. 

I discussmany of the sights and sounds, trials and tribulations, and personal reflections that I have gathered over the first two months of my placement. I thought that it would be both appropriate and desirable to attempt to share my own experience, in as much as a podcast can, for a wider audience. The format or lack thereof is organic and free-flowing.

Let’s take a walk and have a chat.  


Perry Watson – Podcast 2: “Seeing with your heart and responding with your brains”

Earlier today I had the chance to sit down with Participatory Research in Asia colleague, Rabindran (Rabi) David Shelley.

In the podcast we discuss Rabi’s own academic background, which led him to PRIA; why he decided to pursue a career in the non-governmental organization sector; PRIA’s water and sanitation project in the State of Chhattisgarh; and the differing capacities that the N.G.O community and the Indian State play in the broader field of ‘development’. 

I conclude by asking Rabindran if there are any books that have inspired him and his work in the development field. 

Cheers everyone!

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