Swechha’s work broadly revolves around three main pillars: Education, Environment and Enterprise. Each of these pillars have a wide range of activities and interventions, as events, campaigns and programs, using awareness, research, action and advocacy as primary tools. They have been categorised into FIVE key themes, below are the activities under each of these themes:
Our mission is to inspire, create and support – a just, equitable and sustainable society, for everyone and forever.
SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLES AND EDUCATION
‘Sustainable Lifestyles and Education’ set of activities at Swechha aim to foster the uptake of sustainable lifestyles as the common norm in our society, as well as in our polity. Our programs are pivoted to address global challenges such as biodiversity conservation, resource efficiency, climate change mitigation, poverty reduction and social well-being, keeping in mind the power of an individual to bring about change. We believe that as leaders of the future, our youth must be empowered and inspired to create sustainable pathways for themselves and for others and this is where education forms the core of the programme. Education becomes a necessary tool in localising sustainability into community action. We believe that youth must be included as equal partners of change today, to be the instruments of change tomorrow.
SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT
A climate constrained world, with constant competition over natural resources, high levels of poverty and hunger, agricultural distress and an expectation to fulfil the growing food demand of over 1.39 billion people, all points to the need for India to urgently adopt wide scale ‘sustainable agricultural and integrated development’ practises.The Alwar district where the Swechha Farm School is located, hails from Mewat, one of the poorest regions of India, where the land is predominantly barren and the local village community has been largely insulated from mainstream access to health, education and development benefits . Over the last year we’ve been developing this region as a living prototype to promote innovations in sustainable agriculture, community development, livelihood generation, and women empowerment. Our programs are embedded through the engagement with communities of rural Rajasthan, and link agriculture with various other human development indices. They are designed to engage the community at large, especially young people, to build resilience and capacities to find long-term solutions to ecological degradation, health, and poverty, and livelihood.
SUSTAINABLE CITIES & ECOLOGY
Modern day cities have become the hotbed of depleting natural resources, hampering our climate and the planet. In Delhi , the degrading air quality, vehicular and industrial emissions, contaminated river bodies, depleting groundwater table, absence of waste management systems, and the shrinking green spaces – has made it one of the most polluted cities in the world; an ecological threat and a health hazard. Our work in cities focuses on enhancing inclusive and sustainable urbanisation; where through advocacy, campaigns and proactive collaborations with civil society groups, government departments, schools, neighbourhood groups – we undertake the creation of large scale green public spaces, forest covers and green infrastructures to promote resilient, inclusive, participatory – integrated urban planning and management systems.
RESILIENT AND EQUITABLE COMMUNITIES
Adolescent girls and boys are the most vulnerable section in a community, in terms of access to information, opportunity and resources – more so in under-resourced and marginalized communities. They are bound by patriarchal attitudes, beliefs and expectations and therefore are the last in the priority of empowerment. As a result of this, they face emotional, physical, sexual and financial neglect and discrimination, which often leads to abuse. What started in 2007 as a small school on the banks of the Yamuna run by Swechha volunteers, engaging with children from nearby urban slums, in 2009 translated into the ME to WE – Pagdandi school for learning, run by our team and volunteers, with children and youth from Jagdamba Camp, a slum community in Sheikh Sarai of South Delhi.
GREEN ECONOMY AND ENTERPRISE
‘In addition to providing environmentally friendly products and services or clean technology assistance, Green businesses and enterprises make a significant contribution to eliminating unemployment, poverty and in- turn boosting sustainable lifestyles which demand for green goods and products. As pioneers in the field, our projects under this theme focus on fair trade, upcycling, and sustainable manufacturing.
NARRATIVES FOR SUSTAINABILITY
We build awareness on environmental issues through powerful research and communication, on ground and online campaigns, films, exhibitions and festivals. We also enable youth with advocacy tools to amplify their voices on critical sustainable and ecological issues such as climate change, air pollution, urban waste, water pollution, deforestation.