EC Youth Group of the Month: AAGAAS from India

AAGAAS is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that is committed to a “Green, Clean and Prosperous Himalaya”. They are working on the creation of employment based on local resources and the promotion of sustainable livelihoods in higher Himalayas, focusing especially on remote villages close to the mountain ecosystem (see Brochure).

The organization was honored with a Recognition Award by the World Bank in Washington D.C. in 2005 and congratulated by the Animal Welfare board of India in December 2011 for its animal welfare activities.

AAGAAS has conducted numerous projects since its creation including:

– Plantation and conservation projects of various plants of the region. They developed seven community-managed nurseries, with a capacity of raising 1.5 million young trees per year with the support of villagers and local authorities. They also established a training demonstration center for the popularization of organic farming, the conservation of local biodiversity, and different composting techniques.

– Promotion of Eco-tourism:  The Eco-tourism Park established by the organization provides the opportunity to school children, researchers, and policy planners to gain a basic understanding of mountain ecosystem development through trekking, rock climbing, and other mountain tourism-based activities.

– Non-biodegradable waste management – The group organized talks, rallies, and outreach programs to the local community and school children about the management of non-biodegradable waste. They also worked to protest against soil, air, and water pollution, and distributed 50 pairs of trash cans to local hotel owners, schools, banks, the police department, and village councils.

Some of their on-going projects are related to the bamboo livelihood garden programs for rural poor villages, the regeneration of hill bamboo, and eco-tourism and livelihood promotion supported notably by UNDP and the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Earth Charter International would like to congratulate AAGAAS and its members for all of their efforts in the Himalayan region! We deeply encourage our Earth Charter Youth Groups around the world to keep up the great work and let us know more about your activities and projects (you can send your updates to [email protected]) ! Don’t forget to also update your wikispace pages so that others can learn and continue to be inspired by YOU to take actions towards building a more just, sustainable and peaceful world!