Arghya completed his three-year post-graduation from IICD in Crafts and Design. It was the maiden batch of an Institute in making. Both Arghya and the Institute have journeyed a long way since, to assume newer dimensions and fulfill old promises. In 2019 IICD entered into its silver jubilee year and the ensuing merriments. As a reflection of this profound joy and an extension of the festivity embodying our past heritage and future intentions, we proudly bring to you Arghya’s travels in his own words:
“Understanding ground issues of the communities living in remote rural areas, which are sometimes disaster-prone, have often been the field of my work where I engaged directly with the community members to address their real concerns that affect their livelihood and overall well being. These engagements have formed my career path since last 16 years.
During this time I have worked with leading development institutions, reputed international NGOs and donor agencies to actively take part in every essential node of the development chain which has been a valuable learning process to shape my understanding of “development”.
Recently I have been working with the World Bank from New Delhi as a Short Term Consultant with the Bank’s Agriculture and Disaster Relief management (DRM) Global Practice. The assignments I am responsible for are related to the development of non-farm livelihood value chain in South Asia where I work with other specialists at the bank, the State & Central Government, implementing agencies and local NGOs in the capacity to monitor, guide and provide technical support for the successful execution of these programs. To implement these programs by making sure they meet the expected results, I work as a team member with all the key stakeholders such as policymakers, government representatives, regional/local administrators, community members and village organizations to foresee the planned activities reach actual beneficiaries that result in sustainable impact.
By participating in the monitoring process of these programs, I have acquired an in-depth understanding of the importance of carefully designing these projects where each value chain becomes an integral part that leads to the desired impact. In many instances, such programs are designed to uplift community members from poverty by encouraging livelihood practices that are based on locally available skills and resources. Means of strengthening and upgrading these livelihood opportunities often are by institution building in the local level, capacity and skill development, market linkages and enabling the program to innovate financial products keeping the need of the communities in mind. I as part of such programs have actively taken part in many key components of this development value chain that in turn has been a deep learning process for me of the sector.
My scope of work at the World Bank also includes administering and managing various regional events in the South Asia region (SAR) that help create knowledge products for the Bank’s upcoming programs and informs specialists about prospective areas where interventions are needed. Such assignments required multitasking that included engaging all the regional programs to participate in the said event in a way that stands out and becomes a marketing platform for their program’s products and services, panel discussions with global experts and innovative promotional activities (e.g. fashion show by making use of community producer groups hand made products). These assignments have taught me to think out of the box to achieve the task in hand by reaching out to new avenues to facilitate innovative synergy and business collaboration for community members.
I have worked with some of the leading development institutions (e.g. The World Bank, Help Age International, Travel Foundation, Traidcraft Exchange, Poverty Alleviation Fund(PAF), etc) and well known NGOs (Aid to Artisans, Yakkum Emergency Unit, Asian Heritage Foundation, Lady Bamford’s Charity, Herfah Multipurpose Women’s Cooperative etc) to actively be part of the development process.
Although I currently work from New Delhi for various Bank-supported projects that are implemented in South Asia, I have experience of being engaged in assignments in Gambia in West Africa, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Tibet and in the UK. I have co-authored a feasibility report to explore the scopes of connecting tourism with local artisan produces in Gambia that resulted in the development of a brand “Guaranteed Gambia”. My work with the Bedouin artisans of Saudi Arabia helped them to connect with the festival market of the kingdom. I have developed an emergency livelihood assessment analysis for the disaster affected islanders of Palu in Indonesia that helped the donors invest strategically in key livelihood segments. In Tibet, I have directly worked with the local communities to enable them to enhance their scope of livelihood by connecting local homestays with the home-based artisan skills. In Nepal, I have worked with the disaster affected communities on behalf of the Poverty Alleviation Fund to develop capacity building manuals and a brand for their products and services.”
An afternoon with a potter near Banjul, Gambia.
World Bank’s Regional Creative Industries Stakeholder’s consultation, Islamabad, Pakistan.
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