I-CLEAN: Powering Rural Prosperity through CSR
Syngenta India Limited recently launched the I-CLEAN initiative as a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility program.
I-CLEAN stands for Inculcating Cleanliness Learning, Education, Awareness and New Habits among communities, especially in rural and remote areas, to enable them to lead dignified, hygienic and healthy lives.
It is a social awareness and intervention program inspired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi's 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' – a campaign to support cleanliness and building toilets to stop open defecation,. Through this project Syngenta India has gone beyond merely constructing toilets under the “Clean India Mission” and has taken upon itself the responsibility to upgrade vegetable markets and rural livelihoods in remote areas.
Syngenta India selected East Champaran District in Bihar to kick-start the I-CLEAN initiative because of its huge historical significance. Mahatma Gandhi upon his arrival from South Africa had launched his first Satyagraha movement from here, which eventually culminated in India's struggle for Independence.
- Empower farmers, inculcate cleanliness habits
- Create open defecation free blocks
- Create awareness on hygiene
- Food and water hygiene
- Preserve and augment ground water
- Community cleanliness campaign through education and awareness Beautification, cleanliness and modernization program for rural vegetable markets (sabzi mandis) and construction of toilets
The first Milestone: I-CLEAN project at Bakhari Nazir (Mehsi block), East Champaran District, Bihar
Selecting the right area for our first I-CLEAN project was critical. The Syngenta team scouted around for nearly three months to zero-in on five locations that were in dire need of vegetable markets and other infrastructural facilities.. We did a need-analysis of the locations with regards to the poverty levels, the requirement and the appetite and enthusiasm of the people to not only use the facilities but also maintain it on a sustained basis.
We selected Mangrahi, a small village with about 300 families, strategically located in East Champaran district in North Bihar. It is about 150 kms from state capital Patna, has traditionally been among the most backward villages – both socially and economically. Families in the village rely on farming and related activities for their livelihood. A small section of the population also works as unskilled labour in construction, religious, retailing and other activities.
The subzi mandi or vegetable market here caters to all villages in this Panchayat namely; Kothiyan, Koriyawan, Rajua, Bathna, Bargi, Mahual, Mangrahi Chak, and Parsauni. Every Monday and Friday an average of 80-100 farmers sell their produce here which includes vegetables, fruits, grains and spices. We decided to operationalize three broad components of Syngenta -I-CLEAN intervention here:
1. Up-gradation of vegetable market or sabzi mandi
2. Up-gradation of Mangrahi main market
3. Construction of toilets in Mangrahi market
The revamped sabzi mandi at Mangrahi was inaugurated by Syngenta's Regional Director APAC Tina Lawton and Managing Director Bipinchandra C. Solanki.
Tina Lawton, Syngenta's Regional Director thanked the villagers for helping bring the project to life, "Everyone made immense contribution towards making I-CLEAN a success and I congratulate each villager for making this possible. We must collectively work towards ensuring cleanliness and hygiene in and around our place of stay and work."
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Bipinchandra C. Solanki said, "We have taken this initiative towards cleanliness and we sincerely hope that you will find this useful and make good use of it. We wish this village as well as all other villages in the district to be clean and people here to be healthy. I-CLEAN is a modest initiative from our side and we wish to work with you to make this a great success."
Union Agriculture Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh visited the project and appreciated Syngenta’s efforts. He informed villagers that Syngenta has adopted Bakhari Nazir, Mangrahi where the Company is demonstrating good practices in agriculture and sensitising farmers on how to grow more from less. Also as part of the Clean India Mission, the Company is spreading awareness among school children besides creation of modern mandis (markets) with facilities of drinking water, garbage disposal, solar light and toilets. The Minister also inspected the high yielding seeds planted in a nearby plot by Syngenta after his visit of the redeveloped Bakhari Nazir village market. The Minister urged the people of the village to ensure cleanliness of the redeveloped mandi as well as take the message to other parts of the districts.