Bhubaneswar: On the occasion of World Water Day, the honorable Minister, esteemed dignitaries, members from Centurion, UNICEF and Youth4Water interacted with and inspired Odisha youth at more than 300 water bodies spread across all districts of Odisha. They took a pledge to protect waterbodies, conduct awareness and pond cleaning activities and share stories about the importance of the waterbody in their lives.
The Jala Mahotsav started with a ‘Kalash Ceremony’ in which all dignitaries on the dais together poured water into an empty kalash. This symbolizes that collective action is the way forward to remove the problem of water scarcity
The program included interaction of the honble. minister with youth at the pond sites, jointly taking the ‘I pledge to take care of my Water Body’ pledge and launch of free e-training modules on WASH, Climate Change and Entrepreneurship for youth. Factsheets on how visual indicators can help assess the health status of a pond and livelihood options that youth can get from ponds, were also released. The first volume of ‘Jala Ra Katha’ a compilation of stories written by youth on waterbodies they have grown up around, was also launched. The Minister also awarded Certificates of appreciation to all Youth4Water Partners present i.e. Department of Water Resources, Centurion University, PanTISS, BGVS, WaterAid India, Swasthya Plus, Radio Bulbul, Tata STRIVE, NSS and NYKS.
Prize winning entries of the Youth4Water Innovation Challenge were displayed at the Signature event. The innovator youth also made a presentation to share their idea.
Speaking on the occasion, Monika Nielsen, State UNICEF Chief UNICEF Odisha said, “I encourage all youth the join Youth4Water. By the end of the ‘22, we hope to have at least 1 lakh youth made aware and 20000 youth trained as Water Guardians”
Sh RR Nayak, Addlnl Secretary Deptt of Water Resources said, “Water is a universal need. Infact youth needs to be even more concerned about it because, unless we take steps now, in the coming years there will be a severe water crisis. We are taking several steps for water security. I invite youth to connect with us and help us provide sustainable water for all”
Smt Supriya Pattanayaka, VC Centurion University said,” Centurion University is committed to giving education with a heart. I have faith that if they put their minds to it, youth can do anything. We are happy to have partnered with the Youth4Water campaign. In the coming months, we will certainly take forward the action plan for work conservation”
Minister said, “It was very good to see the youth taking action to protect their water bodies. It’s the need of the hour. I congratulate Youth4Water team on the initiative and. I am especially happy about the free training modules and encourage all youth to learn from them and become Water Guardians of Odisha. I especially ask them to be vigilant about preventing pollution of water sources.”