A joint team from Jadavpur University (JU) and Northumbria University engaged in a two-day exploration at Mukti from November 1st to 2nd. This visit aimed to connect with the 12 Mukti Volunteers actively engaged in Volunteering for Climate Adoption and Disasters (VOCAD), following an intensive month-long research program in the Sundarbans. The research ensemble comprised Matt Baillie Smith (Professor and Co-director of Northumbria Centre for International Development), Jannet (Professor and Research Team Member), Sumana Banerjee (Project Manager from Jadavpur University’s School of Oceanography Studies), and Yagnaseni Mitra (Research Assistant at Jadavpur University).
Over the past month, these academic institutions have been embedded in VOCAD research, delving into the intricacies of how Mukti’s volunteers navigate disaster situations and climate crises. Their investigation probed the motivations that drive the volunteers, the challenges they encounter, and the dynamic nature of their involvement. As a culmination of their research journey, the volunteers actively participated in a workshop, utilizing tools such as photo voice and diary writing to articulate their experiences, shedding light on their findings and revealing their responses in pre-disaster, during-disaster, and post-disaster scenarios.
During the team’s two-day visit, the first day was dedicated to engaging with Nandita Jayraman, Mukti’s project coordinator for the Rights and Special Needs project. This meeting served as a channel for understanding the intricacies of Mukti’s volunteer mobilization strategies, capacity-building initiatives, and orientation perspective-building processes. Delving into the participatory tools employed, the team gathered valuable insights. The second day of the visit ended with a meticulously organized workshop.
Looking ahead, the research team envisions a deeper collaboration with Mukti, aiming to delve into the organization’s workings in more granular detail. This two-day exploration marked the beginning of a potentially transformative partnership, laying the foundation for a more nuanced understanding of Mukti’s invaluable contributions in the realm of disaster response and climate adaptation.