Field Visit

From Understanding to Action

Media for Change Affiliate Paridrishya Aims to Raise Public Engagement in Watershed Conservation in Himalayan Villages

By Sanjeev Chatterjee

Our readers may recall that in 2020 Media for Change’s incubation efforts resulted in the creation of the Indian non-profit organization Paridrishya. Paridrishya is led by Media for Change board member Mohit Gulati and the nascent organization attracted funding from one of India’s leading developmental organizations – the Tata Trusts.

Water conservation in the Himalayas.

Titled the Samajhdar Jal Sevak (knowledgable keeper of the waters), the project aims to bring about social and behavioral change through communication (SBCC) in villages in the Western Himalayas in India. Intial findings indicate that while villagers are aware of the fragility of their springsheds, they would benefit from the creation of conservation strategies and stakeholder action plans. In other words the challenge is to move villagers from understanding into action. Paridrishya will use media and storytelling strategies towards reaching this goal.

In a recent conversation, Mohit Gulati said “Perception of water as a resource or the lack thereof governs consumption habits of communities. The Samajhdar Jal Sevak project is allowing us to look at a very old problem from a different vantage point.”

Paridrishya team during their field research

Despite the challenges of COVID-19 related travel restrictions and differences of perception of the problem of springshed management from village-to-village, Paridrishya was able to adhere to the project timeline and the formational study was accepted and the project is well underway.

Based on the initial study, Paridrishya plans to expand the work to the hill and mountain communities of India’s Northeastern states in the near future. Media for Change continues to serve Paridrishya in an advisory capacity.

sanjeev