The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most widespread & fatal challenges faced by humankind in the last century. It has not only affected public health but also the economy, culture, lifestyle, environment, and society.
The overpopulated and underprivileged communities that were previously receiving support from social-impact organizations are now at the edge of being toppled from balance.
There is no precedent in living memory for the challenge that COVID-19 now poses to communities and world leaders.
– Ban Ki-Moon
Mumbai is a hotspot of rising cases and in these challenging times, all social impact organizations are required to work with full steam, all the while looking after the health and safety of their volunteers and the communities they work in.
Earth5R’s Pre-Pandemic Community Training
Before the pandemic, Earth5R’s team of volunteers conducted regular training sessions in slums and other overpopulated communities across Mumbai and other cities in India. The training sessions would include sessions about our Waste Management, Circular Economy, and Livelihood programs.
Earth5R volunteer conducting a demonstration-based training session
The ‘Solid Waste Management and Circular Economy‘ training was conducted with the help of visual aids and demonstrative samples to educate the citizens of local communities about waste management and segregation techniques.
This helped households and local businesses reduce the amount of waste generated by them. The local citizens were also trained in practices such as composting, recycling, repairing, and waste segregation in order to reduce the quantity of the garbage that gets discarded to landfills.
The Livelihood program included special training for the women of local communities, wherein the volunteers would teach them about upcycling methods so that they can make scalable products and generate an income.
These training sessions aimed to empower women, and help them be financially independent, thereby empowering communities as a whole.
These training sessions were accompanied by practical examples and video tutorials to help them understand the upcycling techniques better.
Earth5R volunteer Dr. Shivangi also conducted sessions exclusively for women of slums and local communities. These trainings were focused on health and hygiene practices, and menstrual sanitation for women.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the volunteers also trained the locals in segregating medical waste in their households, and the importance of proper sanitation during the spread of the coronavirus.
COVID-19 and Earth5R’s Social Impact
As the pandemic started, Earth5R adopted a new medium of conducting community training sessions and engaging local citizens in Sustainable Living.
The Home Equals Planet project is an online program that outlines 15 Actions that we as individuals can practice in our daily routine to have a more sustainable lifestyle.
Through the Home Equals Planet project, Earth5R volunteers train citizens online about sustainability, who in turn train others about the same, thus creating a network of socially and environmentally aware citizens.
The Home Equals Planet training is also conducted for schools and other educational institutions in order to promote sustainable living among the younger citizens.
I was struck by the work these organizations are doing and while everyone’s priority right now is to stay safer at home, I know there are many of us who are looking for ways to help.
– Oprah Winfrey
Even though the pandemic prevents us from conducting training in person, Earth5R believes that we must continue to spread the message of sustainability and social & environmental awareness in communities.
Earth5R is an environmental organization from India with its head office in Mumbai. It works with the NGO sector, Companies and helps them conduct environmental Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs across India.
–Reported by Om Nair, edited by Aishani Raghav