India Celebrates World Environment Day

June 5 marks World Environment Day, and India is also celebrating in innovative ways. Here are several stories of how people and organizations are marking this day:

The show will present the journey of short listed candidates who will perform various time bound tasks and the winner, chosen through public voting under the guidance of a panel of eminent judges, will be declared as India’s Environmentalist during a 24-hour telethon, which will be a part of NDTV’s nationwide environment campaign later this year. The entries for the reality show will be open between June 5 and July 5, 2008.

The website http://www.green.ndtv.com, will enable visitors to write and read articles, view environment specific messages from eminent personalities and download environment collateral, screensavers and wallpapers. The website will also have a dedicated section on India’s Environmentalist, where people will be able to file their entries for the reality show.

  • Biker and creator of TreeCycle Project Shrenik Rao is partnering with UNEP to bicycle around India, from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. He will “interact and discuss issues relating to the environment and global warming with individuals from all walks of life” along the way. Individuals wishing to support this journey can pledge to plant trees as part of UNEP’s Plant A Billion Trees campaign.
  • SOS Children’s Villages partnered with Coca-Cola India to hold painting competitions around environmental topics in 31 villages across the country with hundreds of children.
  • YES BANK, a new age private sector bank, today announced the launch of YES COMMUNITY, an innovative Responsible Banking initiative to be executed through micro-events being organised at the Bank’s retail branch network nationally. In the first year of its inception, YES COMMUNITY has adopted the theme of ‘Planet Earth’ for the Financial Year 2009. [Source: Moneycontrol.com]

TC-I Tidbits

Your daily dose of headlines:

  • Health: Over 53% children in India under five years – that is, 67 million – live without basic healthcare facilities. This means that India alone accounts for about one-third of all children in the world aged below five who don’t have basic healthcare. [Source: Times of India]
  • Education: There is a shortage of teachers at central universities, with 20 per cent of teaching posts being vacant since October. The government will raise the age for pension schemes, and a committee will review the pay scale to address the issue.
  • Energy: With low-interest loans for solar power from Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank, more than 100,000 people in rural Karnataka benefit from affordable and reliable electricity. The program was subsidized by the United Nations Environment Programme.

TC-I Tidbits

Your daily dose of headlines:

  • Health: India continues to have the world’s highest number of polio cases this year, with the disease having crippled more children till April than it did during the same period in 2007. [Source: Times of India]
  • Children: In a unique lobbying effort, more than 100 ex-child laborers knocked on the doors of Members of Parliament as a reminder about the government’s promise on education for all.
  • PPPs: Several major development projects, worth Rs 7,946 Cr, were approved by the Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee to build infrastructure in 10 states.
  • Agriculture: For the first time, a grain reserve will be set up for emergency situations. The Food Corporation of India will build up a five million ton grain reserve, a move that comes at a time when food shortages and rising prices are a major concern.

TC-I Tidbits

Here is the daily dose of headlines:

  • Water supply: In Chennai, city officials have made it mandatory that buildings connected to the main water supply install meters to measure consumption.
  • Government transparency: The Central Information Commission (CIC) will now require political parties to make their income tax returns available to the public. Sending the exact opposite message, the Lok Sabha may put forth measures to make it more difficult for the common citizen to access records relating to parliamentary proceedings. Moreover, the Chief Justice stated that the Supreme Court’s proceedings fall outside the ambit of the recently passed Right to Information act.
  • Education: The creamy layer of OBC quotas will likely reflect preexisting norms used for central government employment. Along these lines, children, organized by NGOs, knocked on parliament’s door to deliver a petition addressed to the PM reminding him about the right to education for all.

[TC-I Changemakers]: Interview with Maya Ajmera of The Global Fund for Children

The ThinkChange India staff is committed to providing our readers with interviews with people we believe are at the brink of something special but have for the most part been overlooked by the mainstream media. Readers will be able to see other conversations under our TC-I Changemakers tab.

Maya AjmeraMaya Ajmera is the Founder and President of The Global Fund for Children, an organization thatGFC logo provides grants to grassroots organizations around the world that work to advance the dignity of children and youth. ThinkChange India’s Prerna Srivastava and Shital Shah spoke with Maya about GFC, her experience with children’s issues, and what it takes to be a successful social entrepreneur. Special thanks to Laura Fenton for her assistance in arranging this interview.

You can listen to the interview here:

The transcript is here: GFC Transcript

As Maya mentioned in her interview, GFC is currently in the beta phase of developing a new model for measuring social impact. We hope to follow up with her once the social metrics model is fully developed.

Interesting excerpts and relevant links are after the jump. Continue reading

Constructing educated children, fundraising event

In an unusual initiative, Pratham has begun a targeted effort to educate the children of construction workers in Pune. Pratham enlists the help of specially trained teachers that go to the construction sites themselves or even teach on the nearby crowded streets (From OneWorld South Asia).

Every day, between 3 to 7 pm, groups of children aged between four and fourteen are enthusiastically urged to recite rhymes, read English lessons, attempt basic arithmetic and speak the Queen’s language … For a majority of these children, the concept of education is a novelty. They admit that they have never ever seen the inside of a classroom.

Targeting a constituency where parents may not necessarily see the immediate value of educating their children, Pratham had to use persistence and persuasion to get their message across.

“It has been a tough task to start this project because the parents had to be first convinced about the need to send them here for schooling. They were not interested because they thought it would be a waste of time. Most of these children did not have birth certificates and so our primary job was to get this documentation done because we would eventually like to enrol them in mainstream schools,” states Suman Mane, one of the teachers trained by Pratham.

More after the jump, and information regarding Pratham’s fundraising event in New York City.

Continue reading