WD News: On the occasion of ‘International Day for Biological Diversity’ (May 22, 2023), the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and GIZ India organised the second edition of the ‘Women and Water’ Dialogue Series at Hanumat Dham in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh. The series, under an Indo-German bilateral cooperation project titled “Support to Ganga Rejuvenation II”, explores a future roadmap for strengthening the crucial role of women in the water sector and Ganga rejuvenation initiatives.
The highly interactive session had a two-pronged approach: identifying the role of women in successful implementation of biodiversity conservation in the Ganga River Basin and empowering women leaders and volunteers in water conservation and Namami Gange projects.
Ms. Martina Burkard, Head, Programme Support to Ganga Rejuvenation, GIZ India, opened the event with her special address. She emphasised the need for women’s roles to be strengthened from policy to implementation. She said that GIZ India and Namami Gange teams are working in tandem under the Indo-German collaboration to improve the tributaries of the river Ganga. She highlighted the need to connect more women with the District Ganga programme.
Smt. Saumya Pandey, IAS, Chief Development Officer (CDO), Kanpur Dehat, in her keynote address through a live video message, said, “The word biodiversity, while it sounds like a small word, has its presence in the whole eco-system. Our frontline workers are going to play a major role in its conservation.”
This was followed by the panel discussion, in which women from all walks of life came together on one platform to give voice to the transformative role of women in the water sector. The panellists included Dr. Pratibha Rastogi, Assistant Professor, Jyoti College of Management Sciences and Technology, Bareilly; Dr. Rakhi Mishra, Principal, Dr. Sudama Prasad Kanya Inter College, Shahjahanpur; Mrs. Poonam Gupta, Gram Pradhan; Ms. Savitri Sharma, Self Help Group; Ms. Mamta Singh, Farmer; Ms. Manjary Upadhya, President, Jijivisha Society, Lucknow; Ms. Alpana Srivastava, Social Activist; and Ms. Vandana Singh, Jila Samaj Kalyan Adhikari. Ms. Anupama Madhok Sud, Director & Editor, Water Digest, moderated the session.
The panellists discussed the issues of gender mainstreaming for the biodiversity framework, community-based programmes to involve women, reducing plastic usage, ensuring proper waste management, teaching children the significance of tree-plantations and saving forests, awareness workshops for teachers and skill-based trainings for volunteers, and overall empowerment of women guardians for river water conservation. The discussion concluded with all panellists agreeing on the significance of this dialogue series and bringing in more women leaders at the forefront of Ganga rejuvenation.
Shri SB Singh, CDO, Shahjahanpur, in his address, focused on the state of rivers, public-participation in curbing the menace of pollution, reconstructing water bodies, and the impact of biodiversity in our eco-system.
Shri Prakhar Gupta, District Forest Officer (DFO), Shahjahanpur, shared the details of campaigns to save the forests and annual plantation drives (50–70 lac plants every year) taken up by the Forest Department and the district administration in the region.
One of the highlights of the event was the appeal made by the panellists to make Hanumat Dham a polythene-free zone, which was accepted by the CDO, who assured to take the required steps to ensure it in collaboration with Shri Vinay Aggarwal, Chairman of Hanumant Dham.
Dr. Anjana Pant, Advisor Water Resources Management, GIZ India, presented the thank you note and announced the third edition of the ‘Women and Water’ series in Rishikesh on 5 June 2023, coinciding with the ‘World Environment Day’.