‘Swachhagraha’ draws inspiration from ‘Satyagraha’ led by Mahatma Gandhi during the freedom struggle movement, which catalyzed action through tremendous patience and perseverance, instilling in the Indian mind, dignity and self-respect. It aims at engaging people and bringing about a change, similar in scale to India's freedom movement, where people get involved to take action for ‘Creating a culture of Cleanliness’. Swachhagraha is about promoting civic consciousness among citizens through youth leaders. An initiative of Adani Foundation and Centre, under Adani Act and the Centre for Environment Education(CEE) as the Knowledge and Implementation partner, the programme is implemented in over 650 schools of Gujarat, India across 6 cities namely Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Anand, Rajkot and Bhuj-Mundra. Over 750 teachers from 650 schools have been trained in behavior change education ranging from elite private schools to government municipal schools.
Swachhagraha follows behavior change education pedagogy where the students go through the process of Explore, Discover, Think, Act and Share. Swachhagraha focuses on 4 themes namely Waste Management and Littering, Personal Hygiene, Toilet Etiquettes and Sanitation. When students learn something, they influence their parents. The programme is based on the objective of creating Student leaders who can then influence the mass as a whole and take actions as part of Project Based Learning process. Swachhagraha is open to all schools and the module focuses on standards VI to IX, even though all classes may be involved. The School, Teacher, and the Students are the key to achieving the objectives of the programme. Swachhagraha is a continuous process with a vision of India where the people have developed the habit of not littering at all.
A student activity book called ‘Together We Can, We Will’ has been designed which served as a guide to the students in spreading the culture of cleanliness. This has been given to a group of students in every school who are called as ‘Swachhagraha Dal members’ (Student Team). These students are the leaders of change in their school. Teachers mentor the transformative process. The dal needs to identify one cleanliness issue out of the 4 themes in their school and work towards reducing or eliminating the problem. This would help them learn to work in teams and understand cleanliness as their own responsibility instead of enforcing punishment or ban. Swachhagraha is working towards developing traits such as polite insistence, leadership quality, creative problem solving, zero tolerance towards civic sense, sense of ownership for public spaces, and to make cleanliness as a habit.
The ripple effect of Swachhagraha will create an impact not only in Gujarat but across India. The impact will be seen when Swachhagraha turns into a habit and the habit becomes sustainable so as to inculcate behavioral change.
It is a movement to build intolerance towards dirt and litter as being clean is an integral part of our lives. Cleanliness is linked to better health which further leads to economic growth of a nation. The project is being implemented with the help of city level partners which are Navrachna University- Vadodara, Vidyanagar Nature Club-Anand and Surat Nature Club-Surat.
For more information:
Mr. Pramod Kumar Sharma
Sargam Marg, Bodakdev, Ahmedabad, GJ, 380054, India