I am Rajeev Ranjan, a development professional as well technology enthusiasm. I tell you the journey, a touch of my previous background, I belong from a small village of Hazaribag district (Jharkhand) and I did my schooling from a government school at my village itself. During childhood, technology excited me lot and I’ve been always ready to learn about new technologies and it elicits me in making further study choices. As a result, I opted science stream and done graduation degree in Computer Applications.
In another hand, seeing the realities during my childhood like a) backwardness of Jharkhand even it is rich in natural resources b). during schooling experiencing pathetic education system in government school, c) real life experience of poverty, d) lot of unemployed people in my communities, and so on.. Such as many things, always remains a triggering force to me to think about development of Jharkhand but that time I was unaware of the possibilities to work in development sector. So, even I was having a lot of enthusiasm to work for the poor, I continued to explore further for my career in the mainstream system like every student do in Hazaribag. But after my computer degree, for masters, I decided to study management degree instead of MCA kind of course. There was something inside my heart, which gives an urge to shape my career as a leader rather just to be a computer expert. Therefore, subsequently BCA, I moved to New Delhi, and there I was preparing for CAT and during the period I went to meet my cousin Suraj who was working in Jaipur in an NGO called PRATHAM. and from him, I learn about development sector and NGO, etc. which was pretty interesting to me. When I was coming back from Jaipur to Delhi, I had a lot of answer of the questions which was earlier in my mind. Indeed, I was able to figure out my career somewhat.
But wait! I was not someone who have a lot of freedom to choose his career. Because I was really having a problematic financial situation. Living in Delhi was also not easy. Within the few month spending in Delhi, I understand that I can’t afford to live and study there. Managing life with scarce resources was not easy, and my father was not having enough money to support me for MBA. During the time, I got selected for Tata-Dhan Academy fellowship for post-graduation in development management. The fellowship was nice because it covered the entire cost of the study, lodging, food, travel, etc. So, look no further, I decided to go.
- How have I equipped myself to work in the development sector?
Post-graduation in development management from Tata-Dhan Academy was really helpful. It changed my entire way of thinking toward development and life. Mainly because I was much different before coming to TDA. You may guess ‘life of a computer graduate’. I was having the courage and strong will power to work in the development sector. Besides, my attitude, skill, and knowledge were not on the right track to work in. In TDA, I started to learn like attitude to hard work (like working whole night and completing the task), attitude to be with the community and work with, the altruism approach and so on.
- Which target community with whom I am working and why?
Already, I said the reason, why I’m in the development sector. So, I decided to start working at Jharkhand itself, with the same inspirations. And in Jharkhand, I preferred to work with the tribal community. Mainly because, during the study in Tata-Dhan Academy and from my past, I experienced that poor people live in a tribal and rural area not having a viable source of income. Customarily they rely on agriculture and some small sectors that just avail them livelihood opportunity for a short period of time and after they remain in the trap of unemployment that generates other problems subsequently. Additional, they have the lack of access to technology already accessible outside the world that makes their growth slower. Actually, I dreamed to filling this gap by availing livelihood opportunity among the poor so that they would have ongoing engagement throughout the year to sustain their livelihood. I also vision that technology has to reach the community without any social-economic barrier. Fairly the best way to do it is, just by implementing the technology for the livelihood promotion of the community. And it comes true by joining DHAN Foundation in July 2013. My working area was tribal location at Bero block of Ranchi district, Jharkhand in the ongoing project RESMISA, which was funded by IDRC, Canada.
In Mar 14, by the organization I get assigned to a new task, to establish a new location in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh for the TFT (tropical fruit tree diversity) project funded by UNEP-GEF. Therefore I moved to Lucknow on 25th March 2014 and started work on the TFT based UNEP-GEF project. In TFT project I was monitoring project team in all 5 states(UP, Bihar, Mhararastra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh).
- What are the issues that affected me and influenced me to work with my target communities?
The issues of the poor community that affected me and influenced are the lack of livelihood opportunity, nutrition security, lack of technology, lack of education, women empowerment, and grassroots democracy.