Capacity building workshop for teachers at Mumbai
23 April 2012


Venue: IES School, Vashi, Navi Mumbai

This Teacher's capacity building programme was organized as a part of the Climate EduXchange programme, a TERI-DELL initiative. Climate EduXchange is a web based environmental education programme on the topic of Climate Change. The project aims to facilitate the networking of students and teachers across the country so that they can exchange information and experiences on the issue of climate change and thus contribute to their collective learning. The project is currently being implemented in 12 cities (Shimla, Chandigarh, Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Mysore, Chennai, Pondicherry, Hyderabad and Medak) targeting around 400 schools across the country. School teachers from Mumbai that are part of the project were invited for the capacity building programme.

Indian Education Society, Vashi is one of the few green schools in Mumbai who have opted for cleaner technologies like Rain-water harvesting, compost pits, CFL bulbs and Herbal garden within the school. The teachers of this school share a deep interest in promoting and maintaining herbal/organic gardens and have managed to develop a small area within the school where they are growing leafy vegetables such as amaranthus, coriander, fenugreek, Indian spinach and lettuce, gourds, root vegetables such as carrot, onion, garlic and ginger. Similarly, a variety of fruit plants including mango, custard apples, banana and guava are being grown here.

The aim of this programme was to give hands on training to the teachers regarding the growing and maintenance of the herbal/organic gardens.

Profile of Participants
A total of 14 teachers from six schools across Mumbai attended the teachers' capacity building programme. They were joined by two TERI coordinators-Siddharth and Pallavi.

Details of the Teachers Capacity Building Programme
We were greeted by Ms Manorama Pani, coordinator and teacher from IES School, who is engaged in maintaining herbal gardening for the last three years. We followed Ms Pani as she took us on a guided tour through the herbal garden and later had a brief dialogue with the teachers. She explained that the first and the foremost requirement to develop an organic garden is the space for the garden. If open land is the problem, one can go for container gardening, using the available material around the school - the planter boxes, troughs, hanging baskets, barrels, clay pots, ceramic pots, paint tins. She also explained how compost makes an excellent potting soil. She suggested that one can buy the compost (organic manure) and supplement it with kitchen waste and all other possible organic wastes around the house, which will decompose. The next point Ms Pani stressed on was regarding the rotation of crops to ensure enrichment the soil, reduce the continuity of pests and diseases etc.

A lot of interesting green ideas came up during the discussion which schools can easily apply that will aid the environment. These ideas were:

Bio purification of waste water
Students will be working on a project to re-route the waste water from one of school tap to containers with Canna (Canna indica) plants having biopurification properties and the recycled water will be stored in a fish tank with guppy fishes to prevent mosquitoes and ultimately use for gardening.

Recycling of old furniture into compost boxes, bird's nest and potted plant stand: Students will work on a project to make use of compost boxes, birds nest and stand for plotted plant from discarded old furniture. They will have hands on experience on composting, watching and study birds.

Recycling of plastic bottles into Self Watering Container:
This programme is to make a type of terrace garden using used plastic bottles which will act as a temperature cooling device for houses in the building. It makes use of a plastic bottle which is otherwise called garbage and is also harmful to nature. Therefore it helps to reduce the garbage generated through plastic bottles. When temperatures soar the pipes in the building expand causing cracks in the cement. Therefore in the monsoons the water gets into houses causing water leaks and other related issues. One can prevent this by using a group of self-containers on a terrace to cultivate plants.

The teachers' capacity training programme conducted at IES Vashi school provided information and knowledge about the importance of the Organic Garden's and a firsthand experience on how to grow and maintain them. After all with the pressure on farmlands and its rising cost in the urbanization process, there is hardly any space to have a garden. This is where organic farming in the limited available spaces is important.