‘Public Policy & Governance Beyond Borders’ will be the guiding theme of the international conference of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM), to be held in Brussels on 13-14 July 2017. In the run-up to the event, I’ll be posing questions to a number of minority scholarship winners. Our second post looks at the work, hopes and dreams of Madhulika Sahoo, a doctoral fellow at the National Institute of Technology Rourkela.
Out of 130 applicants you were awarded a scholarship – congratulations! Your paper on ‘Capability and Reproductive Health Care Utilization among the Displaced Tribal Women in India’ was chosen to be presented at the conference because it dovetails with the focal areas of both APPAM and UNU-MERIT. Can you briefly describe its contents?
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are among the world’s most neglected groups and issues related to their health care are barely addressed in the Sustainable Development Goals. However, the recent International Conference on Population Development under the theme ‘ICPD beyond 2014’ declared an urgent need to protect the rights of IDPs.
In India the number of people reportedly displaced by development projects is among the highest in the world. However, there is a lack of accurate statistics of tribal groups who have been displaced from wildlife sanctuaries. Studies estimate that around 600,000 tribal members have been displaced from protected areas in India alone. The women and children in post-displacement situation suffer more than the male counterpart especially in the process of moving to a new setup and culture. This has now become a major concern for policymakers to address.
My paper highlights the challenges borne by the displaced ‘Scheduled Tribe’ and ‘Particularly Vulnerable Tribal’ women to avail themselves of reproductive healthcare services in resettlement colonies in India. The study has tried to use the Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach concepts and Nussbaum’s central capabilities list to measure the capabilities of the displaced women in utilising reproductive health care services and other socio-economic variables.
What exactly do you plan to get out of the conference? How will that help you and your research?
I am certain that this will be a great learning experience because the various policy areas covered by the programme are aligned with my research interests. I intend to learn from other academics and policymakers who will be presenting their research on forced migration issues as well as in different policy areas – such as social protection, equity and human rights, poverty income and impacts on health, global politics and foreign policy, conflict, crisis, community and peace building, population migration and refugees.
The conference will give me a platform to share my research findings on reproductive healthcare practices and challenges among displaced populations in India, which is part of my doctoral research project. In addition, I am confident that suggestions and comments received from other participants will help me to improve my work. Being a member of APPAM will further my academic and networking skills, which are needed to reach large audiences.
APPAM was founded in the USA as a professional association of graduate schools of public policy and management. Yet it quickly became an international association. How can the organisation benefit from research like yours from the Global South? How can APPAM make itself more relevant globally?
One of the most appealing qualities of APPAM is the way they welcome researchers and policymakers from the developing world. This truly global exchange of ideas will foster discussions where different national and regional contexts are analysed and contrasted. In other words, APPAM is creating a platform for intellectual diversity where people from different backgrounds can become members of a global network. The conference will certainly empower me to view myself not only as an Indian PhD student but also a research scholar working on pressing global issues.
The opinions expressed here are the author’s own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.