We did something cool as a research team. Originally, we had planned to extract information through Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and Key Person Interviews (KPIs). That was before we decided to walk down the rivers. The minute we did that, we had entire rivers’ worth of data to content with. Not piecemeal through GN level treatment but at the level of the shared common. In fact, we found that when it comes to determining the dynamics of large scale shared commons such as rivers and forests of the size of the KCF, the whole game changes. How does one determine the interplay between upstream and downstream communities for example? Or, how do we make sure that activities in the mountains do not negatively impact the communities in the plains? Those questions had good answers in the good old days. Days when everyone worked together and understood the balance of nature. Now, it was each woman to herself so where did that leave us and our planned intervention? Up a river – literally. So we used our decades worth of experience and created a hybridized system of engagement where representatives of all communities living across a river basin were brought together to discuss the dynamics. In these, we did not engage them as we a team that was blanked on sensibilities of those communities. Far from it. We knew a whole lot about them and wanted them to reaffirm or confirm that which we already knew and bolster the arguments and add new ones if they thought fit. The process was called Shared Commons Organization, Regeneration and Enhancement- Community Analysis of Resource Dynamics (SCOARECARD). It was knew so obviously it got messed up in a few places but we swung the massive logistics effort, the engagement strategy and the information extract very well we believe. Lionel Thilakaratne, our treasurer played a crucial role in this effort that was based on tracing the realities of the river basin communities across seven decades of existence. A sample outcome document for the Heen Ganga basin can be found here.

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