Meghna Mukherjee is from India and worked in the water sector as a researcher into water, health and livelihood. In her job she also did fieldwork and felt that she had to develop her knowledge and skills in the field of water. Meghna decided to do a PhD, however she did not have enough experience and papers ready to apply for a PhD, so she decided to apply for a Master’s and then later pursue a PhD. Many of her colleagues (alumni of IHE Delft) advised her to apply to IHE Delft, telling her that it is a privilege to study there and that the international community will help her to grow further. They also said that she will make a lot of friends and will learn a lot. Meghna is studying Water Management and Governance and received an OKP scholarship. She found the course content very interesting, this was the reason that she applied.
About studying at IHE Delft: ‘’In the first class, Prof. Margreet Zwarteveen said: ‘’you are all here, but you are not here for the money, you are here, because you care about water.’’ Meghna explains further: ‘’Somehow when she said that, I thought I am in the right place, and everybody in the class room was nodding. When we started talking about water problems, I noticed that others also have the same problems but had other perspectives. I found this very refreshing, because before coming here, my thoughts were very narrow. I found that there are other solutions from other countries which we can also apply in India, so I have learned a lot already.’’
On her motivation to study in the field of water: ‘’I was living in the eastern part of India, which is a flood sensitive area, because the Ganges river flows down through it. It was during my childhood, that the Kosi river flooded and the national news broadcasted images of women on boats with their children, surviving the flood. That image has somehow been etched in my memory. As I grew up, I went to another part of India where there was drought. So I thought, how can this happen, such a huge difference in one country. In India there is so much to do and there are so few people focussing on water. Water is the only common factor that can bind India together. In India the government policy is that one solution will fit all states, but this not the case. For example, I saw that a company has built farm ponds that can store water in three districts. However, the results were very different in each area. In some areas the soil was good and led to good cropping patterns, while in other areas, where the water retention capacity of the soil was not good, the crop yield was low. So a one size fits all policy cannot be applied in the context of India. Therefore, you have to have different strategies for different areas. I wish that during my life I can make a change to people´s life, no matter how small it is, or how significant or insignificant people think it is, I have to do something.’’
Meghna about the teaching style at IHE Delft: ‘’It is very interactive and there is a lot to learn from what is being discussed in class. You have a chance to speak, this is not what I am used to in India. There is so much to learn, I get overwhelmed, but it is fantastic.''
On how she experienced her first week: ‘’It was a nice experience, I loved the weather. It was beautiful and during the first week all the students were in the same boat with me and had the same feelings. The staff were very welcoming and made sure we felt at home. The first week was a great initiative to break the ice and make us feel comfortable, we were really able to adjust.’’
On finishing studying: ‘’I would like to pursue a PhD, but if this is not possible I will go back to India and work on issues related to water resource allocation for women.
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