The Government of Tamil Nadu to protect the lakes and rivers and to provide healthy environment, formed the Chennai Rivers Restoration Trust. To initiate the Integrated Cooum River Eco-Restoration Plan, a Workshop on Integrated Cooum River Eco-Restoration Project for promoting community education – Higher Educational Institutions and was organized on 30th September 2016 in which 185 participants from 32 colleges located in Chennai. The P.G. Dept of social work (Shift-II) initiated the Institutional Collaboration with CRRT and successfully conducted the workshop. During the workshop, Tmt. Kakarla Usha, IAS, Member Secretary, CRRT presided over the meeting and mentioned that even though people might be skeptic about bringing back the river Cooum to its pristine state, it is possible to restore a plethora of water bodies of Chennai that provide livelihood for the urban areas. Environment Specialist, Dr. S. Viswanathan emphasized the importance of formation, development and sustainability of Eco parks and also the Eco restoration of the waterway and water bodies along the Cooum river. The strategies for community education programme such as mass cleaning campaign, capacity building training and creating awareness about eco-friendly behaviour was explained unambiguously by Mr. J. Jayanth, Social Expert cum Information and Communication Specialist, CRRT.
Tmt. S. X. Hydwick Rosy, Chief Community Development Officer, Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board highlighted how community participation can be a success step toward river restoration and protection. The role of higher educational institutions in promoting community education to ensure sustainability of the project and the challenges that institutions might face during the implementation was explained by Dr. C. Francis, Head, PG Department of Social Work (SF), MSSW. The strategies for implementing community education programme at grassroot level including rallies, transect walk, contests for children and community members, preparation of maps / diagrams, street theatre, road shows and the effective use of print and visual media were addressed by Dr. A. Raman, Deputy Manager of Environmental and Social Safeguards, Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure Financial Services Limited. Dr. S. Raja Samuel, Principal, MSSW valued the efforts of the PG Department of Social Work (SF) in initiating the Institutional collaboration with CRRT at the conclusion of the workshop.
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