By Digital Empowerment Foundation
Published on: November 27, 2023
This initiative aims to enable communities to access more economic opportunities. This research project will uncover the realities and possible opportunities for the citizens of Ramgarh and Bokaro.
The project aims to study and address economic diversification options in coal-dependent regions of Jharkhand, India as the transition from coal would necessitate substantial support for the workers and communities living in these areas. This involves assessing the skill sets of the people in these areas and working with various stakeholders to develop economic diversification plans that promote a just transition to non-fossil fuel-based economies. The project uses field research and engagement with key stakeholders to advance these diversification efforts.
The pilot survey marked the project’s starting point. It was pivotal in refining the questionnaire and ensuring data accuracy. The insights from the pilot study guided the researchers in revising the questionnaire collaboratively. We also incorporated questions on internet connectivity and digital literacy to cover all bases. The planning also involved developing a systematic sampling method to generate a randomized list of villages representing the entire population of Bokaro and Ramgarh. A detailed Survey Manual, including field and questionnaire protocols, was developed. The planning and coordination required for implementing the full-fledged survey were simultaneously undertaken by the field team. This involved a field demo exercise, selection process and digital training and orientation about the survey in both districts, both online and offline. After the said process, a team of 10 surveyors in Bokaro district and 8 in Ramgarh district were selected for the full-fledged survey. The number of surveyors was decided by various factors, including the size of the districts, and the distance between the villages. We also decided to increase the sample size to be able to collect data from coal-dependent areas effectively to meet the objective of the study and improve data quality.
Before the full-fledged survey took off, a thorough Survey Manual Training for all the surveyors was conducted. The training was conducted after the commencement of the full-fledged survey as well, to rectify the errors made at the surveyors’ end as well as record their concerns, queries, and suggestions. The full survey officially began on September 27. Two team members were stationed in the field to monitor its progress closely and as a part of the method to check data quality, are conducting Spot checks, Back Checks as well as High-frequency checks of the backend data. They maintain regular communication with the surveyors through phone calls and WhatsApp to ensure the survey’s smooth progress. While heavy rain, festivals, and app glitches allowed down the survey on a few occasions, a total of 700 households have been surveyed till now in both the districts. To ensure the safety and security of the surveyors, as well as to establish credibility among the respondents, we prepared identification cards for our surveyors, with basic details and contact information of the field research team. We have collected the permission letter from the District Collector of Ramgarh in person and have notified the surveyors about the same. We have sought permission from the District Collector of Bokaro and are still in the process of getting the permission letter in hand. While at times we face challenges on the ground, passion and dedication of the entire team are a source of inspiration and learning. Together we learn, adapt, and make a difference!