It feels unbelievable that my field research trip in Nepal has come to end. Many emotions and feelings come up as I say goodbye to the wonderful nation of Nepal, a country that has not only provided me with so much valuable material for my thesis but which has left such a great impression on me as a person. As I take a quick glance through the hard-drive of my computer I wonder how I will even begin the task of synthesizing so many pages of material, interview transcripts, project documents, not to mention my field diary which is full of impressions, perceptions and thoughts on NGO project management and the process of Monitoring & Evaluation which my research has focused on. So as my physical journey in Nepal comes to an end, the journey of thesis writing is beginning. One door closes, another opens. But somehow I think the door to Nepal is one that I will be opening again and again in the future.
The research trip has been a great adventure and I am really grateful to have been able to participate in the MFS program and for the support of SIDA without which this trip really would not have been possible. The organisation that supported me, NEAT, has been a valuable source of information, their contacts putting me into contacts with their contacts and so forth. The kind and humble nature of the Nepali’s I met on this journey have always offered helping hands, and many interviewees wished to become lifelong friends, with offers to return to visit them, stay in their homes and celebrate upcoming festivities together. I’m not sure how that fits with the independent researcher approach but I will have to deal with that in my thesis! Nepal is definitely a country that leaves the visitor with many thoughts and perceptions. The poverty is heart-breaking and NGO project management has a long way to go until it makes foreign aid truly effective, but on the other hand, people seem to be doing their best, although corruption is evident, but many are operating from the heart with little formal education, just trusting their instincts and using a trial and error approach. The landscape is both magnificent and challenging. The high mountain ranges make M&E activities difficult, especially when it can take days of trekking just to make a visit to a project location. But the warm gentle nature of the people leaves an impression on the heart and the mind, with people who have so little always offering so much. I have learnt so much as a person and have a whole new mindset with which I see the world. This is definitely a destination I recommend to others and will be visiting again.
Thanks to MAH and SIDA for all the support and I hope that all other MFS researchers abroad have an equally rewarding adventures on the field!