The environment team is committed to contribute to the ongoing environment discourse in the country and the world.
CMS Environment team has been evaluating government and non-government agencies on environmental education, water and sanitation programmes and natural resource management. These studies have provided important inputs on the progress and impact of these programmes and led to policy changes. Some of these are:
Quality water for rural schools
Focused on rural schools, the evaluation of Jalmani programme was the first-of-its kind study undertaken by CMS Environment. The Jalmani programme was initiated in 2008-09, which aimed to install Simple Stand Alone Water Purification Systems (SAWPS) in rural schools to enable school children to have access to safe and clean water.
For the first time, Environment team also carried out the water quality testing of raw and treated water on three major parameters i.e. Iron, Turbidity and Faecal Coliform for assessing the portability of drinking water in rural schools and efficacy of water purification technologies.
Appropriate sanitary facilities in rural India
The evaluation of the huge Rs 400-crore Nirmal Gram Puraskar (NGP) underscored the CMS Environment’s expertise in evaluating such a big and prestigious scheme. This study’s purpose was to assess the impact of NGP on the pace of progress of sanitation availability and usage in the country under Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) and its related impacts on health, education, gender empowerment, social inclusion in rural areas on different user groups particularly the rural poor.
Listing of every household in 664 panchayats spread across 56 districts of 12 states was a challenging task. Subsequently a sample of more than 30,000 households was covered to provide a national level impact assessment report on NGP.
Enhancing environment consciousness
The assignment was to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the projects undertaken in Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh under the Indo-Norwegian Environment Programme (INEP) implemented during 1997-2006. The review also determined the overall impact of the INEP intervention. The programme evaluation involved collecting credible evidence that indicates the achievement of the larger INEP goal. On the whole, the INEP intervention was considered successful in providing the necessary push to enhance environmental consciousness among the decision makers and the masses, besides leaving some specific policy marks.
The research findings established the fact that INEP grant facilitated policy changes. For instance Himachal Pradesh became the first state to ban the use of plastic bags and have been able to prioritise solid and bio-medical waste management issues. The study also concluded that Government of Karnataka has made specific policy, institutional and technology developments through INEP programme such as amendment of building by-laws making Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) mandatory in all new buildings, creation of lake development authority, adoption of bio-reactors, development of technology for industrial waste, and adoption of RWH systems in Karnataka’s villages and schools.
CREATING A SANITATION MARKETING SUPPLY STRATEGY FOR RURAL INDIA
The study undertook case studies of functioning and non-functioning rural sanitary marts and production centres (RSM/ PC) set up under the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC), a national flagship programme for sanitation by the Govt. of India. It was for the first time in the country that the marketing supply chain in rural areas was studied in such detail to understand factors contributing to or constraining economic viability and sustainability of these units.
This study resulted in the creation of the country’s first sanitation supply chain marketing strategy and benchmark road map for viable and sustainable model of delivery mechanism for toilets.
CLIMATE CHANGE KNOWLEDGE AND YOUTH
The UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) started in April 2006 with the aim of enhancing educational links between India and UK. The study intended to examine attitudes relating to climate change among young urban and rural groups aged 16-25 in two Indian states and two UK counties. By its very design and scope, the study sets precedence for further studies designed to evaluate attitudes and practices of rural and urban youth towards climate change issues.
The study pointed out the importance of conducting such campaigns on a sustained basis rather than building them up as one-day flash events to ensure sustained engagement with the people and hence, bring about attitudinal changes in them towards the critical issue of climate change. Significantly, it pointed out that only when climate change communication happened to be in the language of the people and was aligned directly with their concerns with mitigation and adaption strategies that are able to bring about a positive change in their lives, only then such communication would be truly effective.
One of the most popular initiatives of CMS Environment team is the CMS VATAVARAN-India’s premier environment & wildlife film festival and forum. CMS VATAVARAN is a pioneering enterprise initiated in 2002 to encourage environment films and forums that result in perception, practice and policy change. www.cmsvatavaran.org
In the year 2007, the Environment team opened the competitive edition of CMS VATAVARAN to filmmakers from other countries. In the opening year, the festival received 58 entries from 20 countries. Between 2007 and 2011 CMS VATAVARAN, two editions of the travelling festival was organised in 15 cities, reaching out to around 150,000 people and bringing over 250 like-minded and new organisations on this green platform. The 2010 travelling festival saw the participation of more than 95,000 people in 8 cities of the country.
The 6th competitive edition of CMS VATAVARAN was organised from December 6-10, 2011 at New Delhi on the theme of Biodiversity Conservation.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests, (MoEF) Govt. of India has been a Principal Partner in this initiative since its inception. Partnership is the hallmark of CMS VATAVARAN. The MoEF and the Royal Norwegian Embassy have been great pillars of support to CMS VATAVARAN.
This festival has also successfully managed to encourage public-private partnership to promote environment consciousness. HSBC, RNE, SIDA, Indian Oil, BHEL, UNEP, ZEE News, ITC Welcomgroup, Embassy of Sweden, American Centre, Bhagidari, PVR NEST, Embassy of Netherlands, NMNH, Shri Ram School, IHC, INTACH, TVEAP, Oxfam, Climateworks, WWF, IFEJ, Climate Consortium, Embassy of Denmark are just some of our well known partners.
Impact and legacy of CMS VATAVARAN
Emerging green filmmaking destination: CMS VATAVARAN has successfully positioned India as a fast emerging destination for environment and wildlife filmmaking. The growing interest of the international filmmakers can be gauged from the fact that 366 environment films were received from 23 countries and 20 Indian states in the 2009 festival.
This path breaking festival which has stimulated production of high quality conservation films in the country has an international presence today. The participation of foreign nationals has helped Indian filmmakers to benefit in several ways. The Indian filmmakers received exposure to latest camera, technology, editing softwares, audio recording devices and avenues and opportunities for co-productions in India as well as abroad. The international filmmakers have benefitted from CMS VATAVARAN platform by tying up with Indian filmmakers for co-productions and outsourcing assignments.
Stimulated production of high quality films:
CMS VATAVARAN is the only film festival which gives cash awards (total award money in 2009 was 20 lakhs) to Indian filmmakers to promote filmmaking as a profession in the country. The elaborate, transparent and rigorous selection process involving more than 50 experts is to recognise high quality films and thus raising the standards in every competitive festival.
Nurturing new breed of alternate filmmakers:
Filmmakers associated with the festival in the initial years continue to patronise this evolving festival, now among India’s best, while a number of new filmmakers are joining forces with this international endeavour. In 2007, 51 new filmmakers participated in the competition and 89 new set of filmmakers have sent film entries in 2009.
Forming grassroots level networks:
In addition to the competitive film festivals, 34 festivals in 26 cities have been organised in the country till 2010. The unique travelling film festivals have successfully created a strong network of environment groups, schools, colleges, eco-clubs, NGOs in the country.
Creating green ambassadors:
CMS Environment Forum works towards long-term capacity-building for various stakeholders who in turn act as the advocates of the green movement in their respective regions. “Green Heroes” felicitated by CMS also continue the conservation movement in their areas with our support.
Large scale reach:
CMS VATAVARAN has reached out to over 200,000 people (during two competitive editions-2007 and 2009 and two travelling editions 2008 and 2010). It has the widest reach-the only festival in India that has both nationwide reach and international scale and standards.
CMS Environment team has organised a number of interesting activities with various schools, colleges and civil society groups to bring environment issues to attention. Such events included Low Carbon Campaign for Commonwealth Games, 2010, Greening Young Minds… Towards a Better Future, Friendship Cup 2009 and Production of Film “Sparkling Wonder: Lakes and Wetlands of India”
Enriching green curriculum of Indian schools
A picture, it is said, is worth a thousand words. This is the idea behind creating “Greening Young Minds…Towards a Better Future”-a compilation of 10 best films on environment and wildlife in both Hindi and English. The compilation provides educators with an effective tool to raise awareness among children on environmental issues, lucidly, through brilliant moving images and animation.
This package was distributed amongst 10,000 schools which have functional eco-clubs (a countrywide programme of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India popularly known as National Green Corps-NGC). This special compilation was accompanied with a booklet, which had summaries, highlighting the subject and message of each film.
This initiative aimed at empowering schools spread over 488 districts, in 30 Indian states, with curriculum aide necessary to provide quality environmental education experience. Such material could also be well- utilised by the institutions on special occasions such as World Environment Day, Wildlife Week and Earth Day to help reinforce the message of environment conservation.
Commonwealth Games 2010: Low Carbon Fairs
The XIX Commonwealth Games were held in New Delhi from October 3-14, 2010. Creating awareness on ‘low carbon practices’ was one of the major objectives of this Commonwealth Games (CWG 2010). This project supported and strengthened the CWG organising committee’s initiatives on low carbon practices before, during and after the Games. With the UNDP-GEF’s support, it aimed to develop and promote a low carbon campaign for the 2010 Commonwealth Games as a means of inducing a behavioural change amongst the citizens, athletes and visitors for the adoption of environmentally sustainable practices.
CMS Environment designed and conducted “low carbon fairs” to create awareness on low carbon practices especially among school and college students in five cities i.e. Hyderabad, Port Blair, Shimla, Shillong and Thiruvananthapuram along the Queen’s Baton Relay national route. As part of the CWG 2010 Low Carbon Fairs, a series of interactive activities were organised, including :
- Capacity strengthening of more than 150 school teachers in the five cities. They were trained to make environmental science classes more interactive with students.
- 29 Green Heroes, who have worked relentlessly at the ground level on environmental issues, were felicitated. They will act as Green Ambassadors to take forward the message of low carbon practices.
- More than 2500 young citizens of India were involved in various creative competitions, educational tours and workshops. The activities organised will help in inducing behavioral change towards low carbon practices amongst youth.
- Sensitisation of young artists through creativity competitions, which included photography, painting, clay modeling, filmmaking, etc.
- For the first time armed forces personnel and NCC cadets were involved in large numbers in various activities in Shillong and Thiruvananthapuram as part of the Low Carbon Fair. Senior officials also showed their interest in organising these activities from time to time.
- Ecotours were organised for school and college students. The participating institutions appreciated the concept of ecotours and agreed to regularly organise these educational tours for their students.
- Green film packages were distributed to partners, schools, teachers, universities/ colleges and guests.
CMS Environment also works towards enhancing corporate understanding and responsibility on environmental issues through its unique and innovative employee engagement programmes launched in the year 2008. It has successfully conducted employee engagement programmes for HSBC India, Disney and other corporate houses throughout the country. Focussing on environmental issues in the immediate neighbourhood, through various indoor, outdoor and web-based activities, employees were involved by contributing their time and skills with their company’s encouragement and support. These engagements have helped in raising public awareness and understanding about environment conservation issues and empowering people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development.
CMS Environment has initiated innovative corporate programmes since 2008. The number of participants in employee engagement programme has gone up from 1,500 executives in 18 cities in the launch year to 7,572 participants in 29 cities in the year 2010.
Disney India (2010)
CMS Environment and Disney India came forward for the green cause for sustainable community development in Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai. Activities included plantation, rainwater harvesting, renovation of temple tank, renovation of national park infrastructure, among others. More than 250 volunteers, nature enthusiasts, Disney employees, CMS employees, school students and general public participated in the ground activities.
HSBC-World Environment Week celebrations (2008, 2009 and 2010)
CMS Environment has been invited by HSBC, since 2008, to conduct environmental awareness and engaging activities for its employees, customers/ clients and families on the occasion of World Environment Day, every June.
In 2010, the environment week was organised across 27 locations covering 50 HSBC branches and 25 business departments. Overall 7,306 participants including HSBC employees, customers, clients, children and families participated in various interactive environmental activities. Seventeen activities in all were conducted which included film screenings, energy conservation initiatives, recycle your waste, t-shirt painting competition, theme quiz, beach cleaning, etc. The total volunteering hours were 10,955.
In 2009, CMS Environment conducted a total of 36 environmental activities in 46 branch offices of HSBC India across 24 cities for its employees, children, customers and their families. The theme was “Banking on Survival” and the focus was “River Dolphin”. Activities included green 20-20, talk on green buildings, environmental games, finger licking, dumb charades, beach cleaning, vermi-composting, folk theatre, etc. These activities had excellent participation and were welcomed by HSBC employees. In total, 221 activities were held involving more than 5,000 participants.
The first World Environment Week for HSBC India was organised from June 5-20, 2008 in 27 branch offices all over the country. The activities organised included green film screening, expert talks, nature trail, signature campaign, painting competition, quiz on global warming etc.
MEDIA ORIENTATION ON URBAN MOBILITY
The series of workshops on sustainable transport system issues like fuel efficiency, non-motorised transport (NMT) and Ahmedabad BRT was the first such attempt in the country to have a focused discussion on these topics in print media. More than 20 experts from different parts of the country and institutions such as IIT, ARAI, and ITDP brainstormed, at the workshops on issues related to fuel efficiency, Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) System and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
Around 50 senior journalists holding positions such as assistant editors, deputy editors and bureau chiefs participated in these media workshops. They were exposed to the technical and administrative aspects of the issue through interactions with the experts. Such interaction resulted in the initiation of a dialogue on the issue of sustainable transport system and informed reporting in the media. The workshops resulted in some enriched and important stories on topics ranging from NMT to problems in public transport system, energy conservation, pollution, need for BRT, etc.
DEVELOPING ENVIRONMENT RESOURCE HUBS
CMS Environment has been providing resource and inputs to Ministry of Environment and Forests on their various communication strategies and activities.
In 2000, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) designated CMS as an ENVIS Centre to facilitate information dissemination and further the cause of environment awareness and sensitisation. A separate space in its campus has been allocated to house documentary films, spots/ public service messages, info-mercials, quiz programmes, jingles etc. on environmental and wildlife issues. www.cmsenvis.nic.in
‘Green Voice’-the quarterly newsletter by CMS Envis centre reaches to more than 5,000 individualsand organisations and has a circulation of over 7,690. CMS Envis centre also presents impressive on-line databases of approximately 42,910 news items, around 1,224 advertising agencies and over 5,238 audio-visual programmes, 2,934 web links along with 1,832 environment filmmakers, 271 plus environment print and electronic journalists.
In 2007, the Audio Visual Resource Centre (AVRC) a state-of-the-art archive of documentaries, films and audio spots on environment and development issues was set up. It also archives the master copies of the audio visual resources produced by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Govt. of India. The centre collects, collates and archives these valuable resources held by dispersed organisations and individuals with an objective to disseminate the materials to connoisseurs, TV Channels, concerned organisations, educators, schools, laypersons etc. all over the country.