One month of Fieldwork in Islamabad ends Strong….

It has been a great end of my first month of fieldwork and start to my 5th week in Islamabad. I can feel that I have accomplished a great deal so far since I arrived in Islamabad precisely a month ago. As I make plans for traveling to Lahore and Peshawar, my hope is that I will be closing this week with pretty strong and critical field interviews, and it looks that way so far.

This week started out quite eventful, beginning yesterday by returning to the IRM complex, the place of my first interview in Islamabad, but this time to meet individuals from the The Institute of Rural Management (IRM). IRM owns this building, but it also houses the RSPN, NRSP, among some others. It makes sense that they are together in one building. I conducted one interview and then was provided a short tour of the library. I hope to return again to check out the library more closely and hopefully meet some others later this week.

I was excited when I looked more closely at the first few books on the shelf, and saw Rosalind Eyben’s “Relationships in Aid” and Groves and Hinton’s “Inclusive Aid.” Those books have been very helpful to my research, and directly address the critical relationship assessment on aid.

      

My next meeting happened on a fluke. I love that about Pakistan. You can schedule same day meetings and some people are relaxed about it. Sometimes it is useful, especially when their is a gap in your scheduling, but sometimes it can be a little chaotic. It depends on the individuals.  It worked in this case. I was excited about this one, because last December and January, I had the opportunity to the visit the US-PAK Center for Advanced Studies Food Security and Agriculture branch at the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad; as well as the branch in Sindh for the Center for Water Studies, at Mehren University, Jamshoro.

It was nice to visit a Center that represents the crucial “E” in the “WEF” crises in Pakistan, and it was great to visit such a large university in Pakistan, like NUST. While visiting the US-PAK CAS NUST Energy Center, I had the opportunity to see the campus as well. It is massive and beautiful. It was once again refreshing to learn about a program that USAID has funded, for a span of 5 years, that is able to sustain itself. I met with the team together and they offered positive insights and kept on stressing the nature of their sustainability. I believe the USAID-Pakistan CAS programs on WEF are a real success from USAID, in helping support higher education, while recruiting individuals from remote and under-privileged areas of Pakistan (from FATA and Balochistan even).

{Will post some more photos of the campus here at another time.}

I ended the day back at a coffee shop I love to go to, (The cashiers love me there too) at Second Cup located at the adorable Safa Gold Mall.

Here, I met with the Executive Director of the Human Development Foundation. It was truly another wonderful and engaging meeting and discussion and I enjoyed the casual and candid nature of his comments to my questions.

Afterwards, I noticed there was a festival going on at the Mall first floor, with some music and traditional cultural artifacts for sale. I took a video of the dancing. I wanted to join them but obviously knew it would not be appropriate. But it was a nice closing to a lovely day and great way to celebrate the ending of one full month of fieldwork in Islamabad.

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