Mother Earth environment is changing with severe consequences that are affecting every life form on this earth. Climate change is disrupting economies of both; developed and developing nations. It is evident in today’s times that we are experiencing events like earthquake, floods, drought, cyclone, tsunami quite frequently as compared to earlier years. As per NASA, 2016 was the third consecutive year in which temperatures were more than 1 degree celsius above late nineteenth-century levels. Since 1993, average sea level has risen at a rate of 0.11 to 0.14 inches per year—roughly twice as fast as compared with yesteryears. Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) have increased by almost 50% since 1990 with emissions increasing more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades.
Hazardous gas emissions from human activities are main contributor that will make situation even worse if corrective steps are not taken in due time. Resultant, many countries has started adopting eco-friendly and affordable solutions to move towards more sustainable economies. The pace of change is rapidly moving ahead as more countries are adapting to renewable energy and other measures that will reduce harmful gas emissions. Climate change, however, is a global challenge that requires coordinated efforts at the international level.
As per United Nations, India is the 3rd largest greenhouse gas emitter, responsible for 6.9% of global emission however at the same time; we have the highest ever alternate energy capacity installation (solar energy and wind energy). Nearly 60% land is used for agriculture and approximately 24% of land is under forest cover collectively providing livelihood opportunities to major population. All that amounts to pool of opportunity and scope in climate action for India.
Sewa International very interventions in regard with Environment; Climate, Water, Clean Energy, and spreading Awareness are apt in current times and supporting our national goals to be achieved by 2030. Some of our projects are as follows:
Sewa International invites volunteers to come forward and support various initiatives by volunteering with us.
1). Clean Energy – Clean energy means renewable energy that is available at abundance and doesn’t replenish. Its primary source includes solar power, wind power and hydro energy.
1). Kalahandi is one of the district in Odisha that has primitive tribal population. Thuamul School, Kalahandi, Orissa provides education to more than 160 tribal students studying and living in school hostel but the entire campus was operating without access to power and clean drinking water. The only source of water was River Indrāvati and one hand pump that dries most often. Even villagers from nearby villages often come to school to collect water from school. This had significant impact on the education and health of Students.
The problem was resolved as we setup 5kWp solar panel that has RO water purifier as well. Solar energy stored is now utilized for electrical supply for lights, fans and other equipments at hostel. The integrated RO water purification system that has capacity of 1000 liter clean water per hour will cater to the need all students and staff in school premises. It also serves as a source of clean water for nearby villagers.
2). Krishna Devi Vanvashi Balika Awasiya Vidyalaya is a residential school for tribal girls situated in Majhgawan, Madhya Pradesh. The school aims at all round development of the downtrodden scheduled tribe students through education, and vocational training. However, despite of all efforts the school was struggling for a reliable source of power to support all its regular activities. The school was experiencing more than 8 to 10 hours of power cut and severe voltage fluctuations. The only alternate sources of power; diesel generator was way too expensive.
Sewa International clean tech Initiative volunteers surveyed the school and identified load requirement of 1.2kW that would be sufficient to run lights, fans and computers. Team also identified some free space on roof that was utilized to setup a 2kWp solar panel with 5 hrs battery backup.
3). Research Institute of World’s Ancient Traditions Cultures and Heritage (RIWATCH) is a non-proﬁt, non-governmental, community based research organization with mission of empowering ethnic communities to prosper sustainably by strengthening their value system. It is situated in Lower Dibang Valley district, Arunachal Pradesh (India). However, the only source of power to this region was thru transmission lines from Assam that gets disrupted time to time by various rivers and was a matter of concern. It was worse in rainy season as the power remains unavailable even for few months consecutively. Using diesel generator was an expensive solution.
Our clean tech Initiative volunteers selected RIWATCH as their next project. Total load requirement was 2kWp for lights, fans and computers. A 3kWp solar power plant with battery backup was installed for the entire campus that has scope to add another 2kWp to meet future needs.
2). Clean Water, Conservation and Sanitation – Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in Water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate sanitation negatively impact food security, livelihood choices and educational opportunities for poor families across the world.
RO Water Plant -
1). Aftermath of the tragic floods in Kerala in 2018 left people in despair. One of the major concerns was to provide clean drinking water due to contamination of ground water and surface water (backwater) resources, which threatened the health of the local population, especially in the district of Alapuzzha.
Sewa International has completed set up of 3 Community RO water plants in various flood-affected regions of Alappuzha District with the kind support of United Way, Mumbai. To manage the maintenance and up-keep of these RO plants, community water management committee was formed at all locations. The project will pass on benefits to more than 2000 village people.
1). Sewa International’s Toilet and Hygiene Project for the Girl Child was conceived to provide sanitation facilities to girls who belong to the vulnerable section of Indian society so that they can overcome social and cultural norms of the till now accepted practice of open defecation outside of the home.
Currently, we are working with these three sections of society:
a). Government-guaranteed permanent land dwelling slums: 81 toilets in Karnataka, benefiting 3833 families.
b). Rural India: 101 toilets in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh benefiting 3970 families.
c). Government schools: 178 toilets in Rural areas, benefiting 18,370 school children and 118 toilets in Urban areas, benefiting 11,009 school children.
Water Conservation –
1). Project Prawah (Participatory Rejuvenation, Afforestation &Waste-management Along Himalayan-springs) - NITI Aayog report for Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) states that 50% of the glacial springs are drying up rapidly, impacting millions of households, which rely on natural water sources for their domestic as well as livelihood needs. Drying up of these springs had an adverse impact on the major tributaries of River Ganga namely, Mandakini, Alaknanda and Bhagirathi in Uttarakhand State.
We propose to initiate the drive with ‘KhankharaGadera’ (a local terms for spring) and develop it as model that can be replicated for other such Gaderain in the region. Currently, the project is running across Guptkashi and Rudraprayag that will cover approx. length of 7 kms and will impact a population of 6000 people residing in adjoining 6 villages. Project envisions on accomplishing following objectives:
1. Making the Stream Plastic free
2. Restoration of bio-diversity along the catchment area through afforestation
3. Impacting the volume of water flow
4. Revival of nutritional and microbial balance of the water
5. Recharging the water capillaries
6. Developing Solid waste management system
3). Awareness thru various activities, training, and conferences – Awareness is most pivotal aspect that would help achieve any social objective. Hence, it is our constant focus to keep sensitizing society about various issues at hand and their possible solutions.
1). Sewa International held its 1st SDG conference in New Delhi in 2018. The conference has witnessed the participation of delegates from 13 various countries to create awareness and knowledge sharing on SDG goals and their relevance for India. The insights that emerged out of this discussion have laid strong foundation for our future projects and endeavors in various parts of the country. The exercise has helped us to map our efforts with the SDGs and work in accordance with our nationwide goal set by respective authorities. The conference finally culminated with a resolution to formulate a 5-year roadmap at national level that aims towards achieving the SDGs.
2). In continuation, Sewa International organized its 2nd SDG conference named as HIMSamvad in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. The focus for the conference was Localizing SDGs with the Himalayan perspective and creating consensus among various stakeholders for constructive collaboration to prepare the agenda for implementation through multi-level governance mechanism. More than 100 participants and 38 distinguished panelists participated. These were expert professionals from various departments such as Finance, Planning, Education, Health , Policy & Research, and Environment, to allow debate & enable wider discussion on the issues, challenges in the implementation of economic, environmental and social dimensions of the SDGs.
1). Health, hygiene and sanitation goals can only be achieved through Behavior change.
Whether it is our Bal Panchayat kids, Students studying at digital literacy/skill centers and Girl Adolescent Groups in Uttarakhand, Tribal kids at our learning centers in Tripura, Girl child at our Toilet & Hygiene project sites in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh; It is our constant endeavor to train our beneficiaries (focusing kids and youth mostly) to raise awareness on importance of health, hygiene and sanitation in our lives.
Awareness activities –
1). Sewa International Uttarakhand team through their Kishori Samuh (Girl Adolescent Groups) undertook a ‘Polythene Waste Eradication Campaign’. The program witnessed a participation of 591 young girls. They collected a total of 150 kgs of polythene waste which that will be recycled in collaboration with the Dehradun based organization. Such activities have become part of our initiatives to ensure safe and healthy future for our coming generations.
2). Corporate volunteering workshops on ‘Best out of waste’ were organized in Delhi, Dehradun and Pune. Staff from SBI General Insurance and L&T participated in various activities such as decorative paper lanterns, grocery bags from newspaper etc. We plan to engage more corporate volunteers every year to sensitize the society as larger scale.
3). Climate change in the Himalayan region is resulting in precipitation patterns, melting down of glaciers, and damaging bio-diversity. Plastic pollution is one such thing that keeps on adding to make the situation more dreadful. Sewa International kicked off a Mega Event called “Plog For Sewa” (means pick up litter while you jog) at Gopeshwar town in Uttarakhand, with the help of local authorities and state administration. The purpose of the event was to spread the message - ‘Unity, Cleanliness and Fitness’. 450+ people including volunteers, passionate college students, school children, along with Sewa employees and beneficiaries took part in the cleanliness drive, collecting 12 quintals of plastic garbage non-biodegradable waste littered on the 15 roads/routes.
4). Forests have a significant role in reducing the risks of natural disaster including floods, droughts and landslides. Afforestation and tree plantation are such activities should be pledged by all. Sewa in association with its sister organization Being Volunteer organized a tree plantation drive where 30 saplings of Ashoka & Bougainvillea trees at the outer premises of Barclays Shared Services, Noida. Total 43 employees participated in the drive and appreciated the initiative.