First of all, I need to thank you for all the feedback I’ve had so far. It’s really nice to know that people are interested in what I’m writing. It really does encourage me to keep this blog going. After a day’s work or running through the city, knackered by all the new impressions, it can be a very tiresome task to actually sit down and do more ‘work’ on the blog – even though I thoroughly enjoy it. However, most evenings I just want to casually walk down the road to get dinner and then go to bed and fall asleep. Not having an internet connection where I live does of course not help as I need to do all the posting and the uploading of the pictures at the office. So please apologise if I’m not always entirely up to date with my posts.
Anyway, in this post I want to introduce Chintan as an organization in a bit more depth and tell you about my ‘orientation programme’, which Chintan has set up in order for me to get to know the organisation. Chintan is basically a partnership set up by different actors promoting environmental justice. Their main focus is on equitable and sustainable production, consumption, and waste disposal in the urban sector. They want to reduce people’s ecological footprints and increase environmental justice through systemic change. This, they believe can be achieved by building partnerships (for example with large corporations that produce a lot of waste, or the municipalities) and through the implementation of sustainable and capacity building programmes at the grassroots’ level (for example opening schools for rag picker children and helping rag pickers to become thoroughly self-employed and independent and thus less vulnerable for exploitation). A big part of their work also is advocacy and research.
In other words, Chintan works to mobilise a wider public support for environmental sustainability and ‘green’ jobs for the urban poor through research, campaigns, and capacity building models on the ground. Their vision is ‘inclusive, sustainable and equitable growth for all’.
At the moment Chintan is running 5 different programmes (concrete plans for additional programmes exist) to which I’m gradually being introduced at the moment in my orientation period.
- A Voice for Waste
- Scavengers to Managers
- No Child in Trash
- Knowledge Power
- Low Carbon Futures
The ‘Voice for Waste’ initiative builds the capacities of waste recyclers to understand the value of their work to the environment, and advocates for improved work conditions for adults on a local and national level. Chintan helps waste pickers and recyclers through training, organisation, the creation and mediation of knowledge, and the development of grassroots leadership. This work has resulted in a registered organisation of recyclers called Safai Sena (Army of Cleaners), set up by Chintan but largely run by leaders at the grassroots. According to Chintan, this programme has made a direct or indirect impact on approximately 17,000 people.
‘Scavengers to Managers’ helps rag pickers to become officially recognised (hence they become ‘more formal’) and show them and the public that they can in fact be highly organised, reliable and skilled entrepreneurs. I will post more on this programme shortly.
The ‘No Child in Trash’ is a programme offering education for children in the waste picking communities. Again, I will publish a separate post on this shortly.
‘Knowledge Power’ can be described as the research ‘department’ of Chintan.
‘Low Carbon Futures’ is an initiative that enables malls, hotels and offices to reduce their consumption and wastage through the creation of awareness and the inclusion of rag pickers in those institutions waste disposal programmes.
Apart form being introduced to these programmes I’m also gradually being initiated to the functioning of the NGO… but there is still a lot which I need to learn.
Ok, again this post has become rather long… but there is just so much to tell. For more information on Chintan have a look at www.chintan-india.org