8th - 14th December, 2018
Waterwise Kindness and Leadership Programme 2018 was organized by the Untouched World Foundation in Otago, New Zealand, in collaboration with The Energy and Research Institute (Teri) and UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), held from 8th to 14th December.
Waterwise is programme which aims to bring together people from different backgrounds to work together to address issues pertaining to water. The main objective is to create young leaders who will lead the way towards sustainability.
The week long programme ranged from visiting places, interacting with people, group discussion and exploring cultural moorings.
A total of forty high school students, college students and teachers were part of this programme. The programme was intergenerational and I realized that there are innumerable ways in which one can look at something. Listening and interacting with the elders present changed the way I think.
Cooking food and doing the dishes for forty people was a difficult and cumbersome task, but working in groups made the whole experience memorable as it helped me to gain insight in teamwork. Doing things own my own, rather than being dependent on someone to do them for me, has me made more independent.
Through the week the group visited a vineyard, dry garden, cherry orchard and a brewery to understand water needs and ways to reduce it. The vineyard used drip irrigation to minimize water usage, the dry garden used species of plants which didn't require to be watered regularly and the orchard used underground sensors to detect moisture levels so that irrigation can be done accordingly. A visit to the worm farm, emphasized on the fact that composting reduces the waste produced.
Interaction with the Regional Council showed how the government regulated water consumption and contamination and ensured the wellbeing of those living in dependence of the river flowing by.
New Zealand is a country where 72% of its energy produced is from renewable sources, mostly through river. So the group visited a hydroelectric dam on River Clutha which was owned by Contact Energy a private limited company. The visit to the dam was like the cherry on the cake. Seeing functional turbines and water flowing down floodgates was once in a lifetime experience.
The Waterwise Programme gave me an opportunity to experience a culture which identified natural bodies as distinct individuals. Throughout this programme aspects such as leadership, kindness, sustainability and respecting differences were highlighted, I believe all of which is important to make one a global citizen.
Allen Binu Alex 12B