Friday, August 23, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Sustainable initiatives in and around Pune Part I

Dear All, 

Sustainable Initiatives in Borvha

As I mentioned in my last blog on Sustainable Bhuj, it was a delight to see all the sustainable initiatives happening around us, however after returning, it was overwhelming to see more of such initiatives happening around Pune as well. I feel like I am immersed in Sustainability and would like to share my experience on the same.

Under our initiative on Showcasing Sustainable Practices, Vaayu Mitra collaborated with us once again for sharing the story of Borvha village. This village won third prize at the State level under the Paani foundation's Water Cup initiative this year, while last year they bagged the first prize at the Block level. They were in Pune for the award ceremony and Vaayu Mitra proposed to tap them to give us the insights on their initiatives and the motivation that led them here. 

Located in the Washim district, Mangrulpir block, Borvha is tiny hamlet having 350 people that reduced to half due to migration for work. Inspite of having a river surrounding the village on three sides, the village depended on water tankers during summers. This led to the anxiousness among the villagers and led to a movement "we have to solve our own problem". They enrolled in the Paani Foundation movement and then there was no looking back. It was indeed inspiring to listen to Santosh Walke, the innovator and the visionary in the village who understood that cities like Pune are facing the problem of inmigration from villages while villages are short of people thus creating an unsustainability trap. So why not make villages self sufficient and create better economic opportunities so that migration from villages to cities would reduce. I was astonished to hear this from a villager, who impressed me with his down to earth attitude and sense of responsibility to make his village Sustainable by 2022. 

Several initiatives undertaken in the village include efficient management of water, manpower, food and land through watershed management and energy and waste management through the use of biogas plant installed by Vaayu-Mitra. These initiatives are enabling them to go LPG free, mosquito free, encroachment free and defecation free village.  

Apart from these, innovative ideas to eradicate social taboos like female infanticide or dowry, all villagers decided to celebrate every girl's birth and contribute for her wedding expenses complying the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme. Concept of community farming is being practiced here that enabled community participation. Initiatives for women empowerment, bachat bank and water cup training center enabled income generation opportunities for youth. They are also exploring the drone technology etc and has plans for sustainable tourism as well.

So if you are looking for investing in a property in a rural location, you should definitely check out this place!!!

I feel the village is a good example that complies with most of the SDG goals that need to be accomplished by 2030.

Glimpses of the session in Indradhanushya hall

Overall a great experience and lots of learnings from a tiny village showcasing applied sustainability. I am grateful to Vaayu Mitra and all the Borvha villagers for taking time out for us and giving us the insights into their amazing work. 

In the next blog I will be writing about Sustainable initiatives in an educational institute in a small rural town, where we got the opportunity to talk about Carbon Neutrality. However when we saw the campus, we felt that with all the initiatives they have undertaken already on their campus, they may already be Carbon Neutral or even Carbon Negative. So stay tuned!!!!

Pournima Agarkar. 

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