Participation of the University of Delhi in ‘Swachhata Hi Sewa Campaign ’ initiated by the Prime Minister of India under the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan of the MHRD
The University of Delhi is an active participant in the “plastic-free-village” campaign in its five adopted villages of Jharoda, Jagatpur, Mukudpur, Badarpur Khadar and Chauhan Patti. While noteworthy work on need based and community participation oriented programmes has been going on in these villages since 2015, this initiative represents a response to the call by the MHRD to eliminate the use of plastics, and to substitute plastics with environment friendly alternatives. The initiative is being spearheaded by the Department of Social Work in partnership with the School of Open Learning.
The village teams, comprising of students and faculty members, are in the midst of collecting plastic bags, especially single use ones, from the communities and encouraging people to use environmentally friendly substitutes like cloth bags and paper bags. The plastic items collected from the communities shall be given for recycling with active participation by the community forums. The teams are distributing cloth bags to the households and are also training children from the community to make paper bags from old newspapers. These efforts symbolise the creation of a shift in the mindset of the people at large and to emphasise that substitutes are not only desirable, but are viable. We are also actively exploring partnerships to facilitate women's groups to initiate cloth bag making in the villages as an income generation venture.
Apart from this, we are investing in awareness building through house to house mobilization and street theatre. The Sukhmanch Theatre Group is set to stage nukkad nataks on "Swatchhta" in all five villages and at the University. A group of 45 theatre artists would be performing as part of this initiative. We are also holding poster making competitions in the schools of these five communities. Our students are also embarking on cleanliness drives with community participation. Medical Camps are also being organised under Unnat Bharat Abhiyan initiative in collaboration with National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC) in all five villages, the first one being organised in Jagatpur on the 1st of October 2019. The Department of Posts is also collaborating to open new accounts for the community residents of all five villages.
The Department of Social Work is combining its work in this domain with the "Swatchhta hi Sewa" initiative and Gandhi Commemoration Week. Apart from the work at the villages, the Department is holding diverse programmes, including a panel discussion on Gandhi's life and philosophy, yoga session, a musical rendering of Gandhi's messages, and a campus cleaning drive. We are also creating a "Wall of Tribute to Gandhi" at the Department that shall showcase that aspect of the students' work (in more than eighty field settings across the NCT of Delhi) that has been inspired by Gandhi's life and mission.
This ongoing engagement is an integral part of the commitment of the University of Delhi to evolve as a "University beyond Campus" and one that is alive to the critical social realities of our times.