7.1 lakh youths in the state will become climate change volunteers to reduce water footprints

Maharashtra: 7.1 lakh young people in the state will become climate change volunteers to reduce water footprints |

The climate crisis is a child rights crisis. On Children’s Day, UNICEF Mumbai and the Department of Higher and Technical Education (HTED) have teamed up to work with young people supporting them on a journey to protect natural resources, respond to climate change and to save water.

The two partners signed and exchanged a letter of intent expressing their willingness to train and empower 7,10,000 young volunteers (17-25 years old) from Maharashtra on climate change and water conservation. The partnership aims to connect young students and foster their knowledge as active citizens and changemakers in the state on water conservation and climate change and to work as amplifiers for their institutions and communities.

This project will involve young people from NSS units, colleges under universities like University of Mumbai, Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) Pune, Swami Ramanand University Teerth Marathwada (SRTMU), Nanded, Shivaji University ( SU) Kolhapur, Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University (RTMU) and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University (BAMU) and other youth networks working in climate action from cities and districts of Mumbai, Pune, Palghar, Nagpur, Kolhapur, Thane , Aurangabad, Osmanabad, Latur, Jalna, Ahmednagar, Satara, and Beded.

There will be 60% participation of urban youth given the growing water footprint in urban areas. The collaboration would give young people the opportunity to acquire training, fieldwork and experience to work closely with different professional organizations in the field of water conservation. Students are entitled to scholarships, certificates, college grades, green skills, mentorship and case studies on their participation.

The Minister of Higher and Technical Education, Mr. Chandrakant Dada Patil, said this would encourage youth engagement in climate action at the local level. “Our goal is to train and empower 7,10,000 young Maharashtra volunteers from selected universities. This partnership would give them the tools and the confidence to take collective action on water, environment and sustainability issues in three years in a phased manner. Our country is the youngest in the world and we want them to become responsible citizens in the future,” the Minister added.

The program would develop a dashboard through a customized water footprinting application to monitor and report on water conservation activities. It will include a recruitment/registration database, the number of young people and people sensitized, activity reports and an estimated water saved calculation matrix with a graphic and spatial display.

Speaking on the occasion, Smt Rajeshwari Chandrasekar, Head of UNICEF Field Office, Maharashtra said that climate action and youth engagement, along with green skills, has been identified as one of the main accelerators of UNICEF programming for the years to come.

“This is a great moment for the UNICEF office in Mumbai in the context of COP 27 in Egypt, where UNICEF is committed to promoting the voice of young people in climate policy and action. We encourage young volunteers to share their ideas and actions with their communities, reaching 24,000 others across the state. The partnership would help young people become leaders who can become environmental and sustainability champions and take part in more demanding actions on water conservation,” Chandrasekar added.

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