Training and field practice for SEM survey was conducted for 14 locally selected volunteers of Korchi and Kurkheda blocks of Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra. The selection of the volunteers was done by the respective Gram Panchayats with support from our interns. The training was scheduled in two blocks: it began in Kurkheda block and was attended by volunteers of the four villages in Kurkheda and those from three villages in Ambagarh Chowki block of Rajnandgao district of Chhattisgarh. On completion of this training session, we proceeded with the training in Korchi block. Here, we had a group of seven volunteers working in seven different villages of the block. In addition to the volunteers, participants included other villagers from our sample sites who were curious to know about the project and its utility.
Training constituted field practice and classroom training sessions as both are equally important to understand the design of SEM. We also conducted a separate session on our information recording model and its larger objectives. We emphasized how we envisioned SEM and its impact on the communities that are dependent on forests for livelihoods and sustenance.
During the indoor training sessions, we discussed the different sections we had designed for SEM. At that point, it was crucial for us to make the volunteers understand each variable/question and how to record the same during fieldwork. After thoroughly going through the SEM format, we began with the field practice. Participants were asked to go to the nearby villages and record information on their respective tablets. This exercise gave them ample opportunity to practice on their tablets.
Currently, the volunteers, under the supervision and guidance of the interns are practicing/recording information in their respective villages. The data submitted by them is monitored by the ISB team to provide adequate support and feedback.
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