In the past year, Wipro has supported a wide variety of organizations engaged in meaningful work in the area of Urban Ecology across India. These include initiatives like Vivaswa, engaged in reducing poverty through millet cultivation, and Humane, which is empowering Adivasis. Here is a description of the 12 fellows and their work:
Fellows: Divya Karnad and Chaitanya Krishna
Mission: Sustainable fisheries& healthy oceans
Location: Chennai, Tamil Nadu
nSeason Fish (https://www.inseasonfish.com) is a sustainable seafood initiative that promotes seasonal, diverse seafood, sustainable fisheries & healthy oceans. We engage with seafood consumers to promote responsible sourcing and consumption. Our main activities are: 1) Linking small-scale fishermen to responsible seafood consumers, 2) Sharing information on seasonal fish and seafood diversity, and, 3) Encouraging responsible seafood eating through tools, such as “sustainable recipes” and “Fishplorations” with seafood eaters and chefs.
Divya is a marine ecologist and geographer, with a PhD from Rutgers University, USA. Her previous work has focussed on fisheries management, and the conservation of threatened marine species. She has written over 40 articles in newspapers and magazines. Divya was awarded the John Muir Conservation Award in 2012 by the John Muir Association, USA for her work on educating the public about marine conservation in India. Chaitanya Krishna:
Chaitanya Krishna is a Mechanical Engineer who went on to pursue a Masters and PhD in Wildlife Biology and Conservation. He co-founded InSeason Fish, and his interests lie in exploring and unravelling the positive interactions at the intersection of science, nature and society. He has published 16 articles in newspapers, magazines, blogs and scientific journals. Chaitanya won the Levi’s Change Your World Fellowship in 2011 and was awarded the prestigious Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral and Professional Research Fellowship in 2012.
Rural Urban Development Research and Action (RUDRA)
Fellows: Kena Holkar
Mission: Rural Ecology, Livelihoods
Location: Chatra, Jharkand
RUDRA’, is a social enterprise working with communities through multiple interventions rooted in sustainable development. Their work is focused in Chatra district of Jharkhand and covers different aspects like livelihoods, health and sanitation. The organization believes in holistic development of communities and have planned their work after studying issues faced by the community and their needs.
As part of their livelihoods initiative, RUDRA promotes Systems of Rice Intensification (SRI) among farmers in Darha village of Chatra. SRI is an agro-ecological methodology for increasing the productivity of irrigated rice by changing the management of plants, soil, water and nutrients. The organization intends to implement and teach SRI to 100 families this year after witnessing the positive impact created through the pilot project. ‘RUDRA’ has supported the formation of 13 Self Help Groups (SHG) which act as an entry point to introduce different interventions and undertakes various livelihood enhancing initiatives.
Fellows: Somashekhar P and Sridevi
Mission: Promoting small millets in the dry arid region
Location: Cuddapah, Andhra Pradesh
‘Vivaswa’, is a social enterprise working on Millet Value chain. It was started in September 2016 to address the issues of poverty and malnutrition in Cuddapah by increasing demand, enhancing production and productivity and ensuring markets for the produce thereby making millets affordable in the long term. ‘Vivaswa’ works with farmers by creating farmer sanghas and supports the members in all aspects of pre-production, production and post production operations. The organization’s strategy includes conservation, productivity enhancement, value addition, post-harvest processing and promotion activities to raise profiles of small millets. As part of the initiative, a full-fledged Millet processing unit with the ability to ability to process 2 tonnes per day was set up in in DD Padu of Kurnool. ‘Vivaswa’ partners with other NGO’s working in the areas of agriculture, dry land farming practices and sustainability and with their help makes provides training and makes seed available to farmers. They have also has partnered with a primary school in Tadakanpalli Village to work on combating Nutrition deficiency and Anaemia among children through introduction of millets in their diet. This is a pilot program which intends to understand the nutritional importance of millets.
Humane (Hum Adivasis and Empowerment)
Fellows: Sharanya Nayak and Tulsa Khillo
Mission: ‘Amar Gaon, Amar Chasa’ – to make ecological farming a way of life.
Location: Machchra Village, Post,Mahadeiput, District, Koraput, Odisha, 764021
Humane is working in two villages of Mahadeiput Panchayat – Machchra and Daleiput with two groups of 5 youth farmers in both villages. The groups are mix of adivasi and other castes. Their vision is to promote ecological farming as a way of life in Koraput Block of Odisha and mission is to create a network of tribal youths and women farmers who will engage in regenerating and sustaining an indigenous and climate resilient farm and food economy based on common resources and indigenous knowledge systems. The intention of the initiative is to make an attempt at putting the economy of indigenous farmers back on its feet and restore the inherent principles of a food production and food consumption system that was not only indigenous to the local communities of Koraput but also enabled them to resist the vagaries and ravages of destructive development imposed on them in the name of growth and progress.
The initiative’s philosophy is based on a clear three phased strategy for its work among the tribal farmers of Koraput. In the first year it would focus on educating youth and single women farmers, in second year it would focus on organizing the farmers into small collectives and the third year would focus on fostering change making actions by the farmer collectives. By following the strategy of educating, then organizing and finally taking action for change the initiative would ensure a conscious, sustained and self-reliant mode of intervention direct through the community stakeholders. This form of engagement would lead to the stakeholders developing themselves as actual change makers rather than being passive recipients of others’ interventions. This is the basic principle and philosophy of the project – Amar Gaon, Amar Chasa – wherein farming becomes an ecological philosophy around which a way of life is woven rather than becoming only an income generating livelihood which does not aim at strengthening ecological biodiversity.
Fellows: Kiran Kumar Sen
Mission: Fluorosis mitigation through holistic approach (i.e. Safe water+ Good nutrition+ Improved healthcare)
Team WAHI is currently working on a program with an integrated approach of converging safe water and nutrition for Fluorosis mitigation in different fluoride affected parts of the country. The proposal for the program has been guided by Biome Trust, INREM foundation and FKAN.
WAHI engages and partners with key stakeholders like subject matter experts, organizations working this space, resource persons on ground as well as governments. The inputs from these stakeholders are embedded into the design of the proposal and help WAHI work on other water contamination issues.
The organization is currently planning Rainwater Harvesting systems in Schools in the fluoride affected region to improve the drinking water access to children.