Here’s some info on the scheme that brought me to
The Tata International Social Entrepreneurship Scheme (TISES) is an internship programme organised between Tata Group and (presently) two universities, the University of Cambridge, UK and the
I was one of five students selected from Cambridge and was posted to work at Tata Steel in Jamshedpur, an industrial city in Jharkhand, one of the poorest states in India (until August 2000, it was part of Bihar, the poorest and (reputedly) most lawless state).
My project was an impact assessment of a four year agricultural project, a series of interventions across 16 villages in the Sareikela-Kharsawan District. The interventions included:
- Installing irrigation and water harvesting structures;
- Providing agricultural training and other capacity building – such as the use of high yielding seeds, more productive cultivation methods, and other income generating activities (e.g. livestock, fish, etc.);
- Establishing village-level institutions to oversee the new developments and maintain dialogue between TSRDS and the village communities; and
- Environmental projects – such as plantation of wasteland areas and the provision of renewable energy sources (solar panels and biofuel).
In short, the project aimed at stabilising agriculture across the year (reducing rainfall-dependence), increasing productivity, diversifying rural income generating activities, and ensuring personal, economic and environmental sustainability.
The experience was a first for me in many ways. It was my first time:
India in a developing country doing field-based research (collecting personal information… from Indian farmers… who do not speak English… and then trying to analyse that data… was a steep learning curve!) doing anything vaguely scientific or numerate studying agricultural development writing a scientific-ish report and presenting it in a seminar…