With the coming of rapid urbanization, most native practices that can keep the villages healthy and running are lost to time. Moreover, rural areas often are not given enough attention with regard to basic amenities and infrastructure. The new age technology and infrastructure are not low-cost and therefore the rural areas are subjected to sloppily-created amenities or none at all.
What does this tell us?
It is time that we went back to our indigenous ways of conserving natural resources and group the villagers themselves into a force that can help themselves and stand on their own feet.
United Way Bengaluru’s student mini grants helps people do exactly that. These UWBe funded project grants are student-driven in nature where a student leads a group that also consists of the panchayat development officer, a representative from the gram panchayat members (president/ vice-president/ members), a school teacher, elders, youth, women.
These mini-grant projects will focus on areas such as restoration of mini-water bodies such as Kalyani, open well or smaller lakes, revival of a mini-forest areas such as Gundu Topu with plantations, protection of heritage trees or already established commons such as Gomala (social forests). They can set up common nutrition garden that benefits the community or work towards conserving any endangered species of plants or crop species. They can also focus on repairing of the basic infrastructure that benefits the larger community like a community hall or just about any other innovative ideas that can help solve the day-to-day problems of the rural population.
Recently, one such student mini grant was used to restore native water conservation systems like a mini Kalyani and three open wells. It was also used to desilt an inlet drainage to improve inflow of water to the local lake and finally the plantation of Bamboo and Jackfruit saplings for elephants which is still in progress.