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Sustainable development trough women and youth organisations


Problem analysis 

Communities in Uttar Pradesh (North India) faced issues of environmental degradation and poor management and disposal of garbage and toilet systems. Specific groups, including the Mushar community and women, faced further issues related to discrimination and marginalisation within their communities and villages.

Project/practice formulation 

With the main goal of promoting sustainable development and improving overall conditions of the environment, the project was developed in two »sub-projects«:

  • Project A: This project was implemented in partnership with the Community Welfare and Development Society (SKVS) in 15 remote villages of Dudhai in the Kushinagar district. These areas are populated by the Mushar community, a disadvantaged group suffering from poverty, malnutrition, discrimination, and lack of education. Thus, the aim of the project was to empower the Mushar community socially and economically, besides raising awareness for environmental child rights.
  • Project B: This project was implemented by the Participatory Action for Community Empowerment organisation (PACE) in Uttar Pradesh. This second ‘sub-project’ had a stronger environmental focus as its objective was to train and support more widely the youth network operating in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The idea was to foster awarenessm about the importance of protection and conservation of the environment and natural resources within their communities. 

The beneficiaries of this project were children and young people aged 0-25 as well as families and local communities.


Children and young people used advocacy strategies and campaigns to develop 24 model villages in the region of Uttar Pradesh. These increased accessibility of drinking water facilities, availability of dustbins and proper disposal management. They also involved »green clubs« to create kitchen gardens, seedbanks and playgrounds in the villages.

In project A, children and young people organised in groups that were created in 10 beneficiary villages where SKVS, the partner organisation, also operated. Collectively the groups managed to gather 258 members. They also organised monthly meetings within their own villages where they discussed key issues related to environmental children’s rights including child rights at large, collection of seeds for plantation, sustainable agriculture and conservation of the ecosystem.

SKVS decided to also create girls’ groups which reached 282 members in 2020. The girls’ groups held regular meetings where issues related to environmental children’s rights were discussed using a gender lens, to explore the specific vulnerabilities of girls vis-à-vis the environment.

In project B, PACE supported the creation of a total of 80 youth groups at state level. Moreover, across 4 districts of Uttar Pradesh they gathered 1698 members out of which 922 were boys and 776 were girls. The youth groups advocated with the local authorities to promote environmental protection, counteract climate change and support activities to increase water accessibility which included addressing drainage issues, waste management and garbage disposal.

Youth groups also supported and engaged with the »My Planet My Rights« global campaign, another good practice presented at this guide. 

SPOTLIGHT ON… Methods of engagement 

Within the project Sustainable Development through Women and Youth Organisations in India, children implemented a very interesting use of theatre groups. More than 200 young people have been associated with theatre workshops, with its main aim to raise awareness about the right of the child to a healthy environment. Children and young people used theatre performance as a way to express social and environmental concerns through performance, street plays and stage theatre. 

Another creative and effective way of increasing engagement on environmental children’s rights was the organisation of »Awareness Walks« which consisted in nature walks in several villages aiming to increase knowledge on the local ecosystem, its biodiversity which included flora and fauna, and also issues related to environmental degradation, and climate change.

Results / M&E 

This impressive project managed to achieve several results in different strategic areas for the realisation and protection of the right of the child to a healthy environment in the Uttar Pradesh region. Overall, the project represents an exemplary model for effective collaboration amongst youth and women organisations which promoted participation of the young people in a safeguarded framework. 

By focusing on an ECR-based approach in the creation of polythene-free model villages, children and young people liaised with local institutions which successfully installed 30 new handpumps and ponds, 5 water tanks, constructed 910 toilets, 351 electricity connections and 24 dustbins for proper garbage disposal. Mushar families’ conditions were also improved and they started to consider different livelihoods.

Thanks to the media campaigns carried out by youth and women groups, 35% of those involved in the project partially or completely stopped using plastic. They also promoted educational activities in schools (including e-learning), plantation initiatives (500 trees were planted by the end of the project), organic agriculture and soil and water conservation, vocational education support, as well as advocated at the national level for proper implementation of ECR.

Further, projects A and B collectively managed to put together 100 biodiversity registers which have comprehensive information about the variety of flora and fauna as well as the overall eco-system of the region. 

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