Increased information and communication among select schools and with local adult groups, to initiate ecologically sound practices in their home islands, through the creative use of appropriate media
The first initiative under Charkha’s Distant Areas Programme, this Project operates in one of the most remote areas of the country: the Andaman & Nicobar Islands [More…]. Conducting environment-based activities for children is considered an appropriate forum to sustain the seven-year Project in the long run, since it aims at building a cadre of responsible and sensitive future citizens to strengthen the efforts towards environmental protection.
Across islands, groups of government school children are coming together, as members of newly formed Eco Clubs, to create a Communication and Information Network that uses appropriate local media to build sensitivity among the adults in their communities towards the fragile ecosystem of their land. Through field and classroom activities that build their knowledge of local species of flora and fauna, children create resource material to raise awareness of the need to strengthen locally sustained community efforts and protect the rich natural heritage of this global biodiversity hotspot.
In a Pilot successfully completed in Mayabunder in North Andaman in May 2008, six Eco Clubs brought together a diverse group of interdependent stakeholders, viz. teachers, parents, Panchayat members and Government officials. In the schools, the students and teachers created Wall Magazines, wrote essays, made posters, watched children’s films on environmental issues and were given free access to interesting children’s books unlike any they have in the unimaginative school libraries. To reach a wider audience across the geographically widespread, poorly accessible Islands, the students and teachers also created radio programs in a first-ever collaboration between students and a team from the broadcasting station of India’s national broadcaster, All India Radio located at Port Blair, the capital of the Union Territory.
The relevance of the Project is reflected in the eagerness of other schools to start similar activities in their schools. The local Panchayat members as well as the Government Departments have extended their full cooperation and support to the initiatives. The local publications have also offered their support to the Initiatives led by the school children
The support network thus created, named the Andaman Eco Network, has effectively established the foundation for a long-term, sustainable initiative that has, for the first time, forged a partnership between rural communities and State agencies to work towards mitigating the adverse impacts of unchecked human activity and climate change. This has strengthened the potential long-term impact of the children’s activities and sustains their high levels of enthusiasm beyond the schools and their homes.
The Project is planned over a six-year time period comprising
||(Pilot Project) in a select area in the Andaman group, followed by
||involving a rollout to the other islands in the Andaman Group and
|| accessing the relatively inaccessible Nicobar Group of Islands.
A critical aspect for consideration is the sustainability of the Project after the grant. The proposed activities are designed to fit as co-curricular activities of the school, thus enabling teachers and students to incorporate these learnings in their classroom sessions.
The progress of the Pilot were regularly shared through Charkha’s bi-monthly e-newsletter, at the following links –