Shubha Bala

Shubha Bala (Collective Campaign for Peace - COCAP): Shubha was born and brought up in Toronto, Canada. She completed her undergraduate studies in computer and electrical engineering at the University of Toronto. After graduation, she worked for three years as a business consultant in a software firm. At the time of her fellowship she was studying for her Masters in International Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs with a focus on economic and political development, and media. After her fellowship, Shubha wrote: "In the development sector, I reminded myself of the practical limitations in achieving ones desired outcomes, and the need to work within the environment presented to you. I also re-observed that each country has unique limitations to be addressed. I gained huge insight into transitional justice issues, as well as the overall political climate in Nepal. I questioned the impact of donors and free labour from the West in developing countries that have traditionally been extremely donation and volunteer dependent."

Episode One: Predeparture

18 May

This morning, I woke up again trying to figure out where, when, and why I am. The past 5 days have been hectic: moving my stuff into storage, packing for training, and preparing for my summer in Nepal. On the 29th, I will be in the village of Baglung where I can finally settle into a home for a couple of months. Until then, 8 homes in 13 days (including the cozy seat of Virgin Airlines). After that, I stop focusing on whether I forgot my toothbrush, and think about how to ensure minority and disadvantage groups in Nepal do not get overlooked during the next couple of years of political restructuring.

I am going to COCAP Radio, a new radio program promoting human rights and effective governance in the Western region of Nepal. Having done development work in the past, I go in with no expectations for my work. Or rather, I go with the expectation of slowness and having to figure things out for myself. My first audio podcast (details below) is a conversation I had in March about why I’m doing this, what I was worried about, and what my hopes were.

The past few weeks though have increased and decreased my anxieties. On the bright side: I don’t have TB, I got what is likely my 8th Hep B shot so I should be pretty immune to that, and I don’t have to take malaria meds so no hallucinations for me (but possible malaria)! On the dull side: after convincing me of the danger of rabies, the doctor then realized I have no time for my rabies shot and just advised me to stay away from rabid animals, I am already going through withdrawal in anticipation of not having Internet access, and I have come to the very sad decision to dye my hair black after a beautiful one year run of pink.

Click here to listen to my first podcast, which I intend to release when I have net access. You can also subscribe to it through RSS (the RSS link here will not pick up the audio audio) or by searching for it in iTunes eventually. Bear with me as I’m switching from Pro Tools and trying to find new editing software but haven’t settled on one yet.

Posted By Shubha Bala

Posted May 18th, 2008


  • Appa Bala

    May 21, 2008


    The blog and podcast are both excellent and very educative for a small world person like me. All the best. Looking forward for future blogs and podcast.

  • Sarah Lewis

    May 31, 2008


    Gah – why do people always say “That sounds like a great learning experience?” Shuba, I know you will share important stories that give people courage to use their voices for positive change in their communities. One of the biggest differences I saw between Cameroon and Ghana was the free press. Much of Ghana’s success and national pride stems from public engagement.

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