Sharing Community at a distance

Like all Green Action Week participants in 2020, Rinki Sharma of the Indian organisation Consumer Voice had to adapt quickly to the pandemic. Here she shares her experiences and feelings about the challenge:

[Rinki Sharma of Consumer Voice - providing training on air purifying plants at an educational institute in Delhi]

"I was a little nervous...

because of a lot of restrictions and precautions to take care of. We used to interact with our target audience directly, also we were capturing  on-the-ground activities, but due to the pandemic this was not possible. Also schools were closed and were working on online mode.”

[At first, plans were made for a photographer to visit people in their homes to capture demonstrations, but when restrictions were increased even that was not possible, so Consumer Voice recruited ‘environment saviours’ from the community who filmed their own homemade videos about plastic, home gardening, reusing waste materials, etc] 

"The most difficult challenge...

…was to design whole activities in online mode and keeping audience involved in a way to still get the right outcomes. This was difficult because of restrictions from the covid situation.”

Consumer Voice - learning to make compost
Consumer Voice - winter school air purifying plants - Soami Nagar Model School - 5 - medium res

[Switching to homemade videos and activities meant that families could join in with compost-making and planting] 

"The most inspiring outcome...

was active and enthusiastic involvement of all participants inspite of physical restrictions and their interaction with each other to exchange ideas, skills, etc. Also people whom we approached in various categories such as working mothers, environmental activists, students, artists to give their video clippings were keen to contribute to environmental awareness – leading to action oriented outcomes as a part of sharing community. 

We also discussed mental health and how connecting with nature can help calm down minds.

[They arranged webinars where more people could learn the techniques from the videos in more depth, and spread the message in lifestyle and community blogs specific to their audience.] 

"I am very hopeful for 2021....

…keeping my fingers crossed for new possibilities, new ways to engage with people, and encourage them to contribute towards sustainable development.
Also by exchanging ideas , learning from each other, shedding their inhibitions and coming together as strong community to contribute to reduce burden on mother earth.”