Given the economic challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, youths in Odisha voted for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) as one of the best ways to help local youths economically while reviving water bodies, agriculture and forests in the State. This was revealed in a rapid telephonic survey by the #Youth4Water campaign in which 1,000 young people participated.
“We reached out to a large number of youths from across the State through the campaign to find out their opinion on both economic and ecological revival. About 70 per cent of them thought MGNREGS has the potential to help the villagers in many ways,” said Ajit Kumar Panda, one of the leaders of the campaign. About 65 per cent of the youths contacted were boys, and rest girls, he added.
This campaign is being facilitated by Water Initiatives, Patang and other partner organisations such as Gram Swaraj, Young India and Social Awareness Institution (SAI) in cooperation with Unicef, Odisha. About 1,000 youths from colleges in five districts are now actively involved in the campaign.
The #Youth4Water campaign intends to reach out to each youth of Odisha by 2025 with messages of water and river conservation, sanitation, hygiene and climate change awareness, pointed out Bhumisuta Sahu of Patang. The survey was done as part of the World Environment Day (WED) 2020 preparations of the campaign. The global theme of the WED this year is ‘Time for Nature’.
“Experts around the world, including the UN agencies, are urging Governments to look for economic revival packages that are in harmony with nature conservation. We are pushing for “Recover Better with Nature” and want the youths to be part of all these actions in Odisha," said Chief, Field Office, Unicef, Odisha, Monika Nielsen.