# Suno Suno / Heeli Keeli - Vocal for Local > **W4P India 2020 Janastu/Servelots with DA and Medha** Has version - https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/feb2631eb3ea489eb019ffb8282396f6 ## About As part of "la Caixa" Banking Foundation call Challenge Work4progress 2019, Janastu / Servelots in collaboration with Development Alternatives (DA) and Medha is working in the Mirzapur district, Uttar Pradesh state in India. With a larger objective to encourage rural women, students, young women in traditional labor and skill contexts, typically low literate and unconnected or unable to discover or publish useful content on the Internet, to find purposeful online communities to actively engage with for their collective needs of skill development and entrepreneurial aspirations. Servelots started in 1999 with the aim of developing a Pantoto project, based on web software for communities to manage community knowledge. In 2002 Servelots initiated Janastu, a collective and non-profit that sought to understand and support the technology needs of other non-profits and communities. Janastu has been granted 12A tax exemption for its work on “Software Commons”. Janastu and Servelots have been engaging with WiFi-mesh networking since 2004 after the tsunami havoc on the east coast of south India. We started working with friends from the Freifunk community and other organisations working on rehabilitation-related networking needs. After the Dharamsala Wi-Fi Summit in 2006, volunteers worked with students and local communities to set up urban mesh networks similar to those of Freifunk. The [Follow the Sheep project](http://mitan.in/followsheep/#Home) with a pastoral network in India experimented with tiny mesh networks at nomadic shepherd camps in 2010. We also worked with the deployment of a Commotion network in a rural area which is in the forests and hills about two hours from Bangalore, after an OTI workshop in 2014. Since then we have been encouraging the use of mesh for services such as archives and annotations for low literate community needs for media making, archiving and retrieval using a number of approaches. ## Visit to Mirzapur 8 members from Janastu team had planned to visit Mirzapur in march 2020, tickets were booked for both flights and trains. With the covid situation we had to cut short on people and finally Dinesh and Shalini went ahead with the visit. While planning for the Mirzapur field visit, Janastu got in touch with the MNREGA Mazdoor Union (MMU) group from Rajatalab, Varanasi district and Satendra, representative of Development Alternatives (DA) at Mirzapur. <a href="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/RZEZqi60Exn3hMY0G2peAnS1PV-ftE3KT7-o7K0vJzdvi9we9AQfxiQdQZVm8chNWFLBdj0ST6hktJoLhKLjMbnJsDG_7bDByxRrbiDAIFQ9o58l-XHuWJQiwnrrW66aBNhki6dVng=w2400&source=labnol.org"> <img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/RZEZqi60Exn3hMY0G2peAnS1PV-ftE3KT7-o7K0vJzdvi9we9AQfxiQdQZVm8chNWFLBdj0ST6hktJoLhKLjMbnJsDG_7bDByxRrbiDAIFQ9o58l-XHuWJQiwnrrW66aBNhki6dVng=w600-h315-p-k" /></a> Suresh from MMU group introduced us to the Dhuriya village in Mirzapur district and Gram Saba Jesava, Bindpurva with the help of local coordinator Urmila. We met a group of women and young girls. Briefly we introduced ourselves and asked the women to say something about themselves. Some said they are housewives, some work at stone quarry. Girls we met were mostly school dropouts but some were going to school (9th-11th std). We asked their interest in work, skills that they identify in themselves. Then we engaged with telling why we were there and what was our interest in work. We introduced a Raspberry Pi based recording device and asked them to give an introduction, their aspiration and asked what they would record for themselves or for others in the form of story, songs, dialogues, shayari, etc.. <a href="https://public.janastu.org/to_da/Dhuriya_village_teenagers_group.jpg"> <img src="https://public.janastu.org/to_da/Dhuriya_village_teenagers_group.jpg" /></a> > Sneha (name changed) is a school drop out. Her day to day activities are to help with doing household work, going to bazaar to learn tailoring. Also a beautician for friends and family, during the weddings and any other events in the village. As a hobby she is writes shayari (Couplets in hindi or urdu) and she maintains a book full of sharayi with lot of colorful decoration. Her other interests are Mehandi designs, dancing and singing. During her leisure time she along with her friends gather at one place and play bollywood dance numbers and they all dance and sing to it. Sometimes they tune into the FM stations and dance to the songs played. She feels she has a knack in comedy, and given an opportunity she thinks she can do something with stand up comedy genre, if it can generate alternate income. > With Satendra (DA), we visited MDDS (Full form?) in Mirzapur who introduced their team. Along with two of the field coordinators from MDDS we planned our field visit to village Saripur. <a href="https://public.janastu.org/to_da/IMG_20200318_131845.jpg"> <img src="https://public.janastu.org/to_da/IMG_20200318_131845.jpg" /></a> We met Ashok Kumar who does Vermicompost and has initiated permaculture practice in his field. His nephew Devraj, a 19 year old teenager is an electronics enthusiast. He showed interest in setting up makerspace and training the youth in his neighbourhood. Also we met other youngsters in the village who are videographers. Our interaction with them was to teach how to share content quickly over the network. We showed them possible android applications and use of mailing services and google drive options, and how to quickly share photos and videos using google photos and whatsapp. We also met a middle aged person who runs a cycle shop in the village. We introduced him to the community radio concept and our Pi based recording devices. He introduced himself and gave a motivational speech on how people should use bicycles and its health benefits. <a href="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/C0aXkbEhKCoLKNHPFggHJFfmLorB9X800L231IbXK-iwrm55sugTWSlr7ASB_SBM3hmgemTGiXsV4xjNT8H0aD9qiDGuIMv7_QKJdCHmfRoGL0odPX6j_NZ3GzN2tpufhhccK2nF1Q=w2400&source=labnol.org"> <img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/C0aXkbEhKCoLKNHPFggHJFfmLorB9X800L231IbXK-iwrm55sugTWSlr7ASB_SBM3hmgemTGiXsV4xjNT8H0aD9qiDGuIMv7_QKJdCHmfRoGL0odPX6j_NZ3GzN2tpufhhccK2nF1Q=w600-h315-p-k" /></a> <a href="https://public.janastu.org/to_da/trying_audio_recorder_with_garima_girls.jpeg"> <img src="https://public.janastu.org/to_da/trying_audio_recorder_with_garima_girls.jpeg" /> </a> > Kavita, leads the Garima Girls group to bring awareness about the menstrual hygiene to the girls and women in the villages. She is pursuing her Bachelors in Arts, and her aspiration is to become a teacher. > We also met Garima Girls at Kantit Gramin, Block city with the Medha team and Prathiba from MDDS group. After a brief introduction with each other, we directly talked about our motivations for the visit. They immediately scripted a [health skit and performed 🎥 ](https://public.janastu.org/to_da/Garima_Girls_performing_health_skit_on_RPI_recorder.mp4) it over our recording devices. Through this they understood the power of voice and got an idea on how setting up a community radio station will be helpful in their village. While interacting with them we also talked about their family and work background. One of the Garima Girl houses where we gathered for the meeting was a weaver's family, which apparently turned out to be an interesting conversation while most of the other families were farmers. ### Observations: 1. For people with some agricultural land holdings, the primary activity for women are a) to contribute a few hours on the fields during the season, b) cook and clean, c) make cow dung cake mounds for kitchen fuel needs. 2. Young women are not as interested in these typical chores. They identify local activities with a livelihood potential as: tailoring, beauty salons and small crafts like beading necklaces. We realise that wedding and rituals in their areas could bring local attention and earning for these girls. Some are interested in also doing beautician training for other girls. 3. Masonry and transportation are other local-economy jobs in the area. 4. Labour in the local quarries seemed an acceptable work while making baskets at home seemed to be associated with castes. 5. Many of the young women we interacted with showed a number of self driven skills - poetry/couplets, fashion design, dancing/singing, ability to perform and also showed interested in artistic oriented skills such as bead work in dresses. 6. When we recorded a girl, we found that it was natural for her mother or another girl to also come forward in contributing to what was expressed. This is again a reaffirmation of the possibility of women and girls willing to voice their stories. 7. We also observed that even among women, also boys, who are somewhat educated, they were not willing to write their contact information such as name and number on a paper - they asked us to write instead. Again, writing/literacy seem to be a huge barrier in the area (not unlike around here). 8. Most girls appear to be happy to be involved with sharing their voice in the form of community broadcasts. 9. We visited a local school with the Medha team - a school near Garima Girls. School person we met was interested in Medha and us being part of their activities. 10. Priti and the Medha group and us discussed how they could include voice/audio into their modules. ## Post Lockdown Our visit was before the lockdown and before we realised the impact of lockdown both in terms of how tech related activities can be physically initiated among the groups and how travelling to the area may not be possible for some months. Only after lockdown, we had to restrategize and plan to delay the physical mesh-networking related activities, by moving to the cloud, while the softer activities continue remotely. ## Links to our work 1. Kannada renarration of Dr. Dave Price experience. https://public.janastu.org/Covid-19/Dr%20Daveprice%20Info%202020.mp3 2. Namdu1Radio interaction Achutha Rao, Girish using community radio van https://files.janastu.org/s/ieSpaWcm2WH8NdQ 3. Some migrant situation stories: http://sync.janastu.org has audio files of what migrants from Gorakhpur, UP are saying. https://photos.app.goo.gl/rtm8n9MRJDXk69MY9 photos from dinesh phone 4. Sanketh photographs: https://files.janastu.org/s/j3mDnzm8ya2cgzb 5. Masks http://j.mp/masks4india 6. Shalini audio files https://files.janastu.org/s/9cJLqZaKkb9WWM4 7. Community Radio, TVS school students broadcast from home during lockdown, Radio Van Village radio on wheels (Covid awareness at villages) https://www.namdu1radio.com/ Newspaper article on this: https://www.deccanherald.com/special-features/travelling-radio-has-villagers-tuning-in-for-covid-19-news-835261.html