In response to the alarming statistics of drought-prone districts in Maharashtra, a collaborative effort between the Higher and Technical Education Department of the Government of Maharashtra (GoM) and UNICEF aims to engage youth in water conservation. Trained as 'master trainers,' around 300 professors and assistant professors will mobilize 7.1 lakh youth to save an impressive 50 billion cubic meters of water over three years, surpassing the annual rainfall of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Goa combined.
India faces severe water scarcity, affecting millions of people annually, with Maharashtra being the third most climate vulnerable state. Recognising the importance of water conservation, the program focuses on sustainable water resource management to ensure the availability of this vital resource. Partnerships with ACWADAM, CEE, and Why Waste? contribute to the program's success.
Launch of the Water Stewardship Program
During a ceremony in Mumbai, Vikas Rastogi, Principal Secretary of Higher and Technical Education Department of GoM, released the Green Club Manual, Training Manual of YEWS (Youth Engagement and Water Stewardship Program), and the Climate Anthem. The event was attended by esteemed individuals, including representatives from UNICEF and state officials.
Master trainers will impart their knowledge to approximately 6,000 professors from 13 water-stressed districts under six universities. Additionally, 3,000 colleges will establish Green Clubs, promoting various environmental activities among the youth. These clubs will focus on Water Conservation, Waste Management, Energy Conservation, and Biodiversity Protection.
Promoting Climate Empowerment and Green Skilling
Vikas Rastogi emphasized the department's commitment to strengthening climate landscape analysis for youth engagement, empowering them through climate education, and providing hands-on resources for localized climate action. By involving the young generation, Dr. Shailendra Deolankar believes that technical skills and decision-making abilities will be developed to address future water challenges.
Rajeshwari Chandrsekar expressed her congratulations for the initiative, assuring support from UNICEF Maharashtra. The program's unique approach is expected to leave a lasting impact on water conservation, fulfilling the dream of a sustainable future.
Empowering Youth for Collective Action
The program aims to empower 7,10,000 youth, equipping them with tools and confidence to collectively address water, environment, and sustainability issues. Through their actions and ideas, these volunteers will inspire and influence 2.7 million people in the state, leading to significant water savings.
Maharashtra's Water Stewardship Program demonstrates a strong commitment to address water scarcity through youth engagement and sustainable practices. By training professors, establishing Green Clubs, and empowering the younger generation, the program aspires to create a brighter and more water-secure future for Maharashtra.