Over the past nine years I have worked in the development sector (mainly on drinking water issues). Along with that have also been a part of startup for 9 years. Both these engagements were towards addressing those issues in environment, ecology and health sector that were apparent to a bunch of friends.
At the beginning we were naive to believe that the problems in the sector could be addressed with technological solution or a financial model. For example , we thought the lack of adequate educational aids and equipment like microscopes in schools and colleges can be met by producing the same at lower cost. Whereas the problem was not to do with cost but with the cartalization of this market. Another such instance was, we thought laborers working in cement factories or laying roads don’t use personal protection gears because the employers did not want to spend money on such safety precautions. Whereas the issue was not with the cost of protection gear or lack of employers’ concern, the reasons in this case was a complex mesh of reasons. Later as we spent more time in the sector and with people across the spectrum from grassroots to policy makers, the multi-dimentionality of problems seem to slowly emerge. And most importantly these problems are NOT independent of the individuals involved in it.
With time one thing has become clear, there are NO grand narratives for these issues. Or in other words we can not have one shot solution to address these issues. There are many meta-narratives and stories that address these issues and problems in ways contextual to the communities from where these narratives emerge. This blog is an attempt to articulate those varied stories or narratives that make THE GRAND NARRATIVE or NOT.