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Rural Youth Volunteers in India
Rural Youth Volunteers program is built on an ongoing collaboration. In 2014, Environmental and Social Research Organization (ESRO) and the Child Development department at Humboldt State University (HSU) began collaborating on Youth Adult Partnerships (Y-AP) project which engages youth in making their communities more aware of various social and environmental issues. The Rural Youth Volunteers program collaboration involves departments from Humboldt State University including Child Development, Environmental Resources and Engineering, Environmental Science and Management and California Center for Rural Policy along with India collaborators including Lady Irwin College, Environmental and Social Research Organization, and Center for Environment Communication.
In summer 2018, Rural Youth Volunteers in India pairs eight students from HSU in Arcata, California (U.S.), with eight students from Lady Irwin College, New Delhi (India) to work in two northern India rural communities in the Baghpat district of Uttar Pradesh (Villages: Tavelagarhi and Daula). Each student pair is placed with different host families in the communities. Rural Youth Volunteers work on assessing the needs, resources, and priorities of these communities to plan activities that will address social and environmental issues while co-creating economic opportunities for its residents. Depending on the needs and priorities of the communities, projects could include, collaboratively:
- developing a water filtration and purification system or a garbage disposal system or assisting in revitalization of ponds or a solar school.
- addressing technological competence with community members
- creating age appropriate Environment Education curriculum with local teachers
- building capacity (with school youth and community members) and translating this work to other communities
- facilitating skill development of school youth so that they are more employable.
- Helping school youth/emerging adults in the community start their own businesses/cooperative, such as selling seedlings/plants, purified water, and handicrafts.
- connect women with different markets, where they can sell products from their home run enterprises, such as pickle, papadam, tailored garments, and embroidery products that will lead to income generation in the communities.
- prototyping potential products or services that could generate income.
- building upon existing resources to engage deeper social entrepreneurship.
The 2018 program engaged in projects in two communities, Daula and Tavelagarhi. In each community the teams worked with local team members on product development and engagement as described in depth on the following pages: