India project shortlisted for Green Gown gong

Published: 21 July 2017 at 11:29

Sainji schoolchildren using a tippy tap

Anglia Ruskin’s Sustainable Sainji programme in the running for national award

A project led by Anglia Ruskin University students and staff to improve the lives of villagers in a remote area of India has been shortlisted for a national award.

Anglia Ruskin’s Sustainable Sainji project is a finalist in the 2017 Green Gown Awards, which is organised by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC).

Sainji, in a mountainous region of the north-western state of Uttarakhand, suffers from many of the problems facing rural settlements in the Indian subcontinent, and is also increasingly being hit by the effects of climate change.

Anglia Ruskin staff and students have been working with community leaders in Sainji since 2015 and are preparing for their next trip this September. 

Students taking part are able to put the skills and knowledge learned from their degree courses into action.  For example, nursing students share best practice around first aid and public health, while those with teaching experience work with local educators.

The team focus on projects around improving the quality of education and basic health and hygiene, and they have been using resources from the UNICEF global hand washing programme to encourage villagers to wash their hands with soap and build ‘tippy taps’.

A tippy tap is a device which can be used where there is no access to running water. It reduces the amount of water used and the soap is kept safe and to hand. In Sainji, the volunteers ran sessions where villagers and teachers learned how to build their own ‘tippy taps’ from local materials.  

Sustainable Sainji is the brainchild of Dr Alison Greig, Director of Education for Sustainability, and forms part of Anglia Ruskin’s International Community Experience (ICE) programme.

Dr Greig said: 

“The project is called Sustainable Sainji because there will be long term lasting impacts for the community, while at the same time improving the skills of the volunteers involved.

“In a community trapped in a cycle of poverty exacerbated by poor health, and already feeling the impacts of climate change, we hope the benefits of Sustainable Sainji continue to be felt.”

The winners of the Green Gown Awards will be announced at a ceremony in Manchester on Wednesday, 15 November.