As we celebrate World Environment Day, see how communities are reducing risk and helping the environment
By Siju Mathew, monitoring and evaluation officer, India & Lipi Jobson, communications manager, India
Children deserve to live in safe environments where they can attend school and enjoy good health. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child declares that right. It’s why we work closely with our partners to promote the environment and address climate change.
In India, we often support villages severely affected by natural disasters such as droughts, tsunamis and floods. And, although projects are often designed to help children, families and communities reduce risks associated with those disasters, they also create lasting solutions to climate change.
So, as we celebrate World Environment Day this week, see how initiatives our supporters make possible in India also help protect the planet.
1) BIO-INTENSIVE GARDENS
The details: Bio-intensive gardening (above) creates maximum yields with minimal land by improving the soil and creating a sustainable garden.
The impact: Children we work with have managed the growth of bio-intensive gardens in community backyards and schoolyards, particularly where undernourishment is an issue. And, when children are involved in growing their food, they realize the importance of protecting the environment.
Who benefited: More than 1,500 households in one of our project areas.
2) LAND DEVELOPMENT
The details: Indian communities often rely on agriculture for income. But, many places where we work in India are experiencing droughts, and small-scale, marginalized farmers face large debts. This perpetuates the cycle of poverty, affecting children most. It’s why many children must forgo education to work in exploitative conditions.
The impact: To mitigate drought, improve a farmer’s income and protect children’s rights, we’ve supported development of about 1,000 acres of wasteland into cultivable land. As part of that work, we’ve invested in clearing invasive weeds in collaboration with the local government and communities.
Who benefited: Some 150 families have benefited from land developments. Anecdotally, many have escaped the cycle of poverty.
3) WATER-MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
The details: Several parts of India are facing a water crisis. Even if it rains, government-supported water management often fails.
The impact: A small investment with big support and involvement from communities and government, has made it possible to desilt 10 water tanks. In simpler terms, water tanks often become home to thorny bushes and other water-hungry plants, which suck the tanks dry. The government doesn’t often have the resources to help, but with a little money and time we can clear or “desilt” the tanks. Even with limited rain, the tanks will store water and feed the fields.
Who benefited: Nearly 5,000 families and more than 1,400 farmers in 23 villages, covering more than 4,000 acres of land.
4) YOUTH DEVELOPMENT & LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS
The details: Our Youth Development and Leadership program promotes ecology among youth to help create more livable conditions.
The impact: Youth access leadership training on how to create safe environments. The training has led to young people clearing shorelines, initiating plastic bans in their villages and protesting the discharge of industrial waste into the sea.
Who benefited: More than 550 youth have made positive changes to their communities.
5) COLLABORATIONS AND PARTNERSHIPS
The details: We’ve joined forces with two of our local partners and the Children’s Movement for Climate Change Justice to make our communities safer, healthier places to live.
The impact: Children and youth have campaigned against the use of plastic and inspired the planting of 13,000 tree and fruit saplings in schools and communities. The group is responsible for several public campaigns on climate change.
Who benefited: Thousands of children and youth have launched several environmental campaigns, benefiting their communities.
The story doesn’t end there. We’ve tested several environmental solutions — including bio-degradable toilets, bio-gas units, drip-water irrigation and more — to address development challenges. We’re hopeful changes made today will reap greater rewards tomorrow for children, families and communities in India and around the world.
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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada works globally to support children and youth who dream of a better world. For nearly 60 years, we’ve brought together diverse people and partnerships, driven by a common belief: education extends beyond the walls of a classroom and is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world. We focus on breaking barriers preventing access to inclusive, quality education for all, especially girls.