About Ganga Prahari
A CADRE OF MOTIVATED AND TRAINED VOLUNTEERS FROM LOCAL COMMUNITIES
|Biodiversity of the Ganga River is under stress due to reduced water availability, habitat degradation, pollution and unsustainable resource extraction. To conserve the ecological integrity of Ganga River and reduce direct dependency of local communities on the river, the National Mission for Clean Ganga- Wildlife Institute of India (NMCG-WII) project ‘Biodiversity Conservation and Ganga Rejuvenation’ involved members of the local community as hereafter, called the “Ganga Praharis - Guardians of the river”. Ganga Praharis are primarily volunteers from local communities conserving with the objective of aquatic life by maintaining the river’s Aviral and Nirmal Dhara. The creation of this cadre was visualized in the framework of participatory conservation efforts, where people involved in the process usually live in communities with considerable social cohesion and regularly work together on shared projects of community concerns.|
The aim of this initiative is to establish a motivated cadre of “Ganga Prahari” to support the local level institutions and monitor the quality of the natural resources of the river by mobilizing local communities at the grassroots level. This could be achieved by:
- Creating awareness on benefits of a clean and vibrant river and inducing a sense of belongingness among people .
- Linking local communities and their livelihoods with the overall efforts of various agencies working for a clean river thereby creating a convergence point at grassroot level.
- Linking local people’s livelihood and well-being with a clean and vibrant river.
Thus, the community participation through Ganga Praharis will promote local pride and evoke a sense of belonging towards the river ecosystem ensuring human well-being.
PROCESS OF IDENTIFICATION AND RECRUITMENT OF GANGA PRAHARI
Ganga Praharis have been identified through series of site level consultative meetings and workshops held in villages located on the bank of the Ganga River and it’s select tributaries. Focus is made to identify motivated individuals who can mobilize others in River conservation efforts. The local communities, have been approached through other agencies too like State Forest Departments, Educational Institutes, National Cadet Corps (NCC), National Service Scheme (NSS) Mahila Mangal Dal, Yuva Mangal Dal, Nehru Yuva Kendras and Ganga Vichar Manch etc. to identify the potential Ganga Praharis. The primary criterion for identification is their passion and zeal to serve the river and to maintain its integrity in terms of cleanliness and biodiversity value. These ‘Praharis’ have to be above 18 years of age on the date of joining the project and preferably from the river side villages. Children below 18 years of age are enrolled under the Bal Ganga Praharis programme.
Once recruited, the Ganga Praharis are trained for ecological monitoring of the River and its biodiversity, plantation techniques, awareness generation through meetings and workshops, community mobilization etc. The idea is to develop their capacity so as to involve them in various activities conducted by other stakeholders, such as Forest Departments, State Project Management Groups of NMCG, NGOs etc. Additionally, Ganga Praharis are being linked to various local environmental authorities both non-governmental and governmental in their respective states, various national academic and research institutions for capacity building and skill enhancement.
ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Ganga Praharis, the leaders from local community will be the role models and inspire other members of the community to join hands in the efforts for conservation of the Rivers. Each Prahari shall work on the model of ‘Each One make Ten’. Ganga Praharis will ensure their proactive role from respective sites. Therefore, Ganga Prahari will be the key person leading conservation activities
- Community mobilization for maintaining integrity of the River ecosystem.
- Liaision with the local Forest Department staff in maintaining a clean and vibrant river by providing support for biodiversity monitoring, anti-poaching operations, plantation & cleanliness drives.
- Assist NMCG-WII teams in preparation, coordination and implementation of village level microplans.
- Act as the convergence point for developmental activities, alternate livelihood programmes and biodiversity conservation to reduce direct resource dependency on the River.
ACTIVITIES INITATED UNDER NMCG-WII PROJECT
1. BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION
- Participate in training programmes on rescue and rehabilitation techniques and water quality analysis.
- To keep knowledge of the nearest rescue, rehabilitation centre and frontline forest department personnel.
- Assist ecological survey teams.
- Reporting of distressed animals to the nearest rescue and rehabilitation centre and Forest Department Office.
- To keep a check on poaching activities.
- Regularly monitoring of hatcheries and rehabilitation centres.
2. PLANTATION DRIVE
- Organise and participate in plantation drives on open community spaces.
- Encourage local community to adopt trees saplings.
- Regular monitoring of the planted saplings.
3. ALTERNATIVE LIVELIHOOD PROGRAMMES
- Take up alternate livelihood training (Governmental & Non-Governmental) programmes.
- Keep update on current Governmental schemes on rural development, women empowerment, child development etc.
4. CLEANLINESS DRIVE
- Cleanliness drives to be organized in the village and its vicinity.
- Regular monitoring of the areas cleaned by the Praharis.
- Assist in data collection.
- Community mobilization of local community.
- Assist NMCG-WII Community Officers in organizing meetings, workshops, awareness programmes etc.
STRUCTURE OF GANGA PRAHARI CADRE
A Minimum of five villages from the riverside will form a ‘Cluster’ (Figure 3). Each cluster will have a leader identified by WII in consultation with other members from the cadre. A Block Cluster Leader will lead the entire cluster. The Block Cluster and Cluster Leader will be identified from the Ganga Prahari Cadre in the village, on rotational basis for three months, initially. Each Cluster Leader, with the support of Ganga Praharis will conduct a minimum of ten relevant activities in three months time with prior approval from the NMCG-WII team. All the necessary logistics support will be provided through the NMCG-WII project. The Cluster leaders will be paid a token amount as renumeration per day as per the state wage norms. Overall supervision is being done by Dr. Ruchi Badola, Dr. S.A. Hussain and Dr. Deepika Dogra at the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, Uttarakhand. Performance of the Cluster Leaders will be evaluated on the basis of frequency and diversity of the activity and the best Cluster Leader facilitated to encourage them.
CONNECTING THE DOTS
Ganga Praharis are the entry points to establish links with the local communities and further link them to various conservation initiatives. Guidance and facilitation is provided by WII. The implementation of joint actions between institutions and local actors strengthens conservation and management of resources. For this Ganga Praharis will be linked through mobile applications (such as Bhuvan Ganga, mygov.in, swatchta app.) creating a broad network.
BENEFITS OF BEING A GANGA PRAHARI
Ganga Praharis will be provided with a certificate after skills development training workshop. Ganga Prahari data base will be shared with NMCG and other organizations, institutes and line agencies. As per the interest/skills of individuals they will be linked to the concerned agencies and advance skill development opportunities. Trained Ganga Praharis will be recommended to the agencies such as Forest Department, Irrigation Department, Fishery Department, State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs) and other research and development organizations for work opportunity. Ganga Praharis will be given preference in work/assistance in field-based survey conducted by WII and other research institutes. They will be recommended by the WII to other educational Institutions for pursuing higher education/training/skill enhancement. Other advantage of being a Ganga Prahari is that their livelihood will be secured in a manner that is conducive for a cleaner and restored river. The leadership of these individual shall become a source of inspiration invoking a sense of belonging towards river and ensure sustainable efforts for conservation of river and its biodiversity.
Trained Ganga Praharis will ensure:
- Protection and conservation of biodiversity by local communities residing along the banks of River.
- Motivate communities to adopt sustainable practices for bioresource use.
- Ensure cleanliness of the River along villages, township and cities near them.
- A grassroots level movement for a clean vibrant fresh water resource.
Last Updated: September 3, 2021