A ) Origin of the project
The Global Village Development Foundation ("Global Village") was created by two inhabitants of the town of Khajuraho : Mr Ajay Awasthi and Mr Shailaish Singh. They have been making several documentary films, including documentaries on women empowerment and village government.
In 2000, Mr Awasti and Singh were shoting for a documentary film in a village. They came across a cattle who had died prematurely. On post mortem, about 15 kgs of polythen was collected from its stomch (2500 polythen bags!). That scene really shook them. The medical people talked them about the pollution. They first realised the need to make an initiative to develop awareness on this topic.
B) The situation of Khajuraho
Khajuraho is a 14.000 people town located in the state of Madhya Pradesh (Central India), 450 kms south to Benares. This town is famous for its 1000-year old beautifully sculptures erotic temples of hindu and jain faith and thus attracts thousands of tourists every year.
C) Objective of the Global Village Foundation
"To spread public awareness in the fields of Education, Public Health and Environment".
.. And make of Khajuraho a pioneer in India on the application of the Agenda 21 of the Rio Earth Summit, 1992.
D) The Global Village team
· The two founders Ajay and Shailaish work part time for the Global Village.
· Twenty volunteers are engaged in the daily activities of the Global Village. They are young boys aged between 18 and 30 years. They are shopkeepers, teachers or students. They were trained on environment matters by Ajay and Shailaish and are comitted with them to improve the environment of Khajuraho.
E) Problems of Khajuraho
1. The lack of health facilities
In Khajuraho, one other big problem is health facilities. There are medical facilities in Khajuraho but they are not efficient. In emergencies, one has to go 50 kms away to Chattapur, the district headquarters It is therefore necessary to educate people about public health, so that they can tackle their problems by themselves.
2. The absence of waste disposal
There is no waste disposal system. Moreover, people do not have civic sense in the disposal of waste and garbage.
People keep their house clean but they do not care about the state of the environment out of their house. In India, the Maiter Cast (the poorest cast) is supposed to do all the manual work. Jobs like drainage system and garbage service is considered as a Maiter job. All other Inidans do not accept to do it publically.
Politicians do not consider waste management as a priority and are effectively not aware on this issue.
On this picture, places marked in red are littered waste. 20% of the land is rendered useless for cultivation because of the wastes.
Every year, about 350.000 tourists come to Khajuraho. Out of these, 40.000 are international tourists. The main reason of pollution is the rubbish of the hotels. Those throw their rubbish in open field (see a summary of our interviews with the General Managers below) .
80% of rubbish are made of polythen, mainly from the nearby 5-star hotels.
A huge threat to the environment : plastic bags
In 1992, the Rio summit took place and the Agenda 21 was defined. They settled rules on the use of plastic. No governement except Germany has taken it seriously.
In India, farmers do not have enough land to feed their cattles and they leave their cattle eat by themselves. Besides, people use polythen bags (a kind of plastic) to put their rubbish of vegetables and throw them away in open field. When a cow comes, it smells the bag and the vegetables in it, and eats all the plastic bag.
450 cattles die every year in the area of Khajuraho, because of feeding plastic bags.
2 . The threats to water bodies
The absence of drainage system affects the water and soil quality. In the next 10 years, the remaining of water areas of Khajuraho will eventually die if nothing is done to solve this problem.
· Household water pollution
The absence of drainage system contributes to pollute all the water bodies (lakes, rivers).
· Hotel water Pollution
It appears that the five-star hotels of Khajuraho Taj Chandela and Jass Hotel dump their waste water in open lands that even does not belong to them. We interviewed the General Managers (GMs) of those two hotels. They first showed us very proudly their environmental comittments and told us about their involvement in the World Environment Day.
They detailed us their waste management practices. Their vegetable garbage are supposed to be used to produce menure for gardening, as well as treated water. Most of their non-recyclable garbage would be recollected by a contractor and "thrown away somewhere". "Anyway, what our contractor does with their garbage is their own responsibility, not ours", The Taj Chandela Manager told us. They would also throw a third part of their garbage somewhere far away from the city. The manager refused to tell us more about this subject.
When we asked the Taj Hotel GM where the rubbish we had seen at the other side of the road came from, he simply answered "I have no comment say about this".
Click here to see the reaction of the Taj Chandela manager we interviewed - To come -
They affirmed us they do not use polythen bags. Both told us they were retreating their water and showed us their water treatment plant. Nonetheless, the Taj Chandela Hotel recognised they dump over 30 000 liters everyday in the nearby canal. "This is clean water", the General Manager told us. A quick look behind the hotels showed us this was far from being totally clean !
The entrance of the Jass Hotel. What the guests see.
Behind the Jass Hotel, one of the 5-star hotels who openly states "We are 100% eco-friendly". What the guest do not see
F) Actions done by the Global Village Volunteers
1. The socio-economic surveys of the region of Khajuraho
The Global Village Foundation has been undertaking a survey in 10 villages of the region.
These surveys provide detailed information on the socio-economic situation of the region. It is interesting for ethnologic and sociologic purposes. It aims to identify the problems which need to be tackled in the region.
The socio economic surveys include three phases :
1. The volunteers go to one particular village, go to all the households and ask the questions written in the socio economic questionnaire. Those questions relate to the level of education, the home facility (toilet, drainage), the type of fuel for cooking food, the medical facilities as well as agricultural issues. We followed the volunteers in a village close to Khajuraho.
=> To see the whole socio-economic questionnaire, Click Here
2. Ajay and Shailaish, the 2 founders of Global Village make statistics from the collected questionnaires.
3. They analyse the figures and give conclusions regarding the socio-econmic situation of the village.
=> To see the statistics and the socio-economic analysis of the village of Kundarpura, Click Here
2. The polythen management program
The "polythen management program" defined by the the members of the Global Village Foundation includes three different phases :
1. Generate public awareness : taking into confidence the governmental body and acting laws against the use of polythen.
=> To see the ban on the use of polythen bags enacted in the city of Khajuraho, Click Here
2. Collect plastic garbage : the volunteers of Global Village would collect once a week plastic garbage and send them for recycling.
3. Clear up the environment of all the plastic garbage already dumped by innovative measures. These inlude the use of plastic garbage in the construction of roads, which has been experimented in the region of Bangalore (South India).
Up to now, the GV has achieved the first phase.
=> To see the description of the polythen management program, Click Here
School Educating : talk to children about environment and public health.
We did the visit to the school of Khajuraho, and assisted to the lecture given by the Global Village Team. All the sixty pupils attended to the lecture in the outside courtyard. It is usually said educating a child educate cinq people (a whole family).
The today topic was polythen. First, the volunteers displayed a billboard with sentences like : "Do you know that using polythen bags in K is a public offence", "Say no to polythen bags", "Do not use polythen bags in your households".
Then Mr Awasthi did a lecture to the pupils about the problems of polythen. They asked them what they would know about polythen and about its hazards. He explained what are their usual practices of polythen in their own home. Then, they explain them the dangers of polythen and take them into confidence.
He encouraged each of them to be eco-friendly and responsible. "Use paper bags, or bring your own tissue bags when you go to the market" are such phrases used by M. Awasti to convince his audience.
The pupils looked very responsive to the lecture.
Once a week, the Global Village volunteers give such lectures in the schools of the area. They consider topics like polythen, water pollution and encourage children to be more responsible toward environment.
· Publication of a monthly social awareness magazine. This is sent to 150 persons, among whom are politicians, schools and institutes.
To see the September 03 issue of the monthly social awareness magazine
To see the January 04 issue of the monthly social awareness magazine
G) Problems they face
1. Misunderstanding from the people :
· The volunteers are not always well received by village people. They prefer to choose the most convenient way.
· Some ego problems also generate. When the volunteers tell somebody that something should not be done, they take it on their prestige and do it.
2. Unawareness of the authorities and professionnals
· Government priorities are different, they do not plan waste management.
· Some shopkeepers often oppose to the Global Village actions.
· Hotels throw away their huge amount of garbage in open fields. Hotels do not take any social responsibility on this problem.
H) The funding of the Global Village Foundation
· No public funds are given for polythen management programs. Most NGOs working in environment do not work on this particular issue.
I) Main challenges and projects for the future
Create a recycling plant in the city of Khajuraho
Enact a proper system of collection of plastic garbage
Reuse the plastic.
· A project for the future : create a kind of minaret made of collected garbage to show
people what they are responsible for.
Message of Ajay and Shailaish
"Environment is not a local issue, it is an international problem. Today, things are detoriating very fast in many parts of our planet. We are constantly dealing with global warming, deforestation and many other problems which are causing threat to the survival of the human mankind and all other species of the planet.
In our own limited circle, we are striving to do things in favor of environment. If all of us, in our own region realise what we inherited in our environment, then we could pass on to generation and generation without any difficulties on our environment. And the world will be definitely a better place to live..."
Click here to watch the message of Ajay and Shailaish - (to come )
Support the Global Village Development Foundation !
School Exchange : Global Village is currently looking for a school (primary or secondary school) to develop cultural exchange with the exchange of paintings, drawings and poetry (in English). If you know a school which could be interested, contact them !
Support Global Village by making a donation . All donations will be used to fund their various activities in the field of education, environment and public health.
Banking Details :
Global Village Development Foundation Khajuraho
Account No : 01000065317
State Bank of India, Khajuraho
Bank Branch Code : 2863
Madhya Pradesh, India
Global Village Development Foundation
Ajay Awasthi et Shailaish Singh
Chandra Prabha Garden, Rajnager Road
Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh) - 471 606, INDIA
Tel : 00-91-7686-274237 / 272250
e-mail : email@example.com
=> For more details on organic agriculture
=> For more details on the Eco-Circle company