Ahmedabad: Anant Fellows conducted a cleanliness drive in Hinglaj Nagar slum area, Thaltej, Ahmedabad, on 1st July 2018. The team consisting of Aliza Mehnaz, Marian Asante, Navin Selva, Neha Arora and Renuka Sampagao had observed that a huge pile of garbage, with cows feeding off it, was always present outside Mathura Nagari (AUDA) Awaas, an EWS housing in Hinglajnagar, built under JNNURM. Waste dumping at this public place had resulted in persistent foul smell, breeding of mosquitoes and outbreak of diseases. It was affecting the residents of the society and also the young kids in the neighbouring Anganwadi.
The Anant Fellowship team found that lack of ownership and prevailing social discord was the reason for the underutilization of public spaces, turning them into a vast dumping ground. Bringing behavioural change through community participation was the need of the hour. The AnantU team took on the challenge and tackled this problem by conducting a participatory design workshop for the residents and subsequently an activity with the Anganwadi kids, educating them about waste segregation and waste management.
The Fellows realized that any solution would have long lasting success if it included participation from all stakeholders. They organised an event ‘Team up to Clean up’ on Sunday, 1st July, in collaboration with AMC, Maharaja Agrasen Vidyalaya and Samvedna Trust, in presence of the MLA Bhupendrabhai and councillor Laljibhai. Students from Maharaja Agrasen Vidyalaya performed a nukkad natak on Swachh Bharat to raise awareness amongst the people of the community. Students and faculty of Anant National University, volunteers from Samvedna Trust and the local residents then came together to clean the place. The event came to a close with the resident children planting trees inside the AUDA Awaas area so that it can remain clean and green.