Everyday lives in the Maldives

Balancing environmental sustainability, economic development and livelihoods

By Fareen

Interning with ENDEVOR during my summer break has given me many important insights into research work and has contributed immensely to developing my research interests. During my four-week involvement in the project, I had the opportunity to go on fieldwork where I experienced an array of different qualitative research methods, such as individual interviews, observations, ‘Go-alongs’ and photo elicitation. I learnt not only through my practical experience in the field, but also from my mentor Dr. Mizna Mohamed, Co-Investigator on the ESRC-DfID funded Environmental Change and Everyday Lives project, and from my colleague and Research Assistant on the project, Aminath Afrah Rasheed. Their valuable advice and feedback helped me connect what I had learned from text books with what we were doing in the field.

This internship has developed my interests in carrying out further research and has deepened my understanding of different socio-economic issues within our society. Interacting with local people and listening to their life stories and their experiences of development gave me crucial knowledge about our island communities. In addition to the field work, I had the opportunity to carry out other research-related activities such as transcribing and translating interview recordings, coding data, cataloguing photographs, and assisting with the organization and running of a photography workshop. Through the process of coding and cataloguing data and organizing it under different research themes, I gained a better understanding of how data is managed and analyzed. I It was very interesting to see how new themes emerged as the research progressed.

A further highlight of the internship was accompanying Abdulla Adam on a trip through the mangroves of K.Huraa. Abdulla Adam is extremely passionate about environmental issues and has a thorough understanding of mangrove habitats. The Maldives is among a few fortunate countries to have this natural attraction, and it was my first experience to go on such a trip. As we went into the mangrove area, I understood that this is a resource that is crucial for tourism and for people’s livelihoods.

This internship confirmed my desire to carry out research, and the experience has broadened my knowledge and understanding in the field of environment and development. The support and guidance I received from Dr. Mizna helped me to gain more confidence in my abilities and to undertake research in my chosen area.