Bhopal: Green Hub Festival Central India 2022 (GHCI) is the first edition of graduating batch under a 10-month residential fellowship program for Adivasi and rural youth from four states viz., Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand, representing diverse tribal groups from Gond, Bhil, Bediya, Pardhi, Baiga, Meena, and Ho, among others. The program is supported by Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation to build the capacities of tribal youth in central India to creatively tell stories of their communities and people highlighting the issues of environment and conservation through the medium of audio-visuals.
Green Hub Central India (GHCI) is in local partnership of Dusty Foot Foundation with Mahashakti Seva Kendra and is supported by Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation (BRLF). BRLF was set up by the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, to upscale civil society action in partnership with the Government.
The Green Hub Central India (GHCI) project was initiated in 2021 for rural and tribal youth to engage youth with the environment, biodiversity conservation, sustainable farming, nature-linked livelihoods and enterprise, indigenous knowledge, engagement with local governance processes, youth leadership, and other social change aspects through the use of the digital and visual medium.
A total of 17 rural and tribal students (13 male and 04 female) received their certificates during the 1st convocation of the Green Hub Central India Festival 2022. This annual conservation program integrates the graduation of the fellows and their film screenings to amplify dialogue on sustainable futures through the participation of community youth and eminent personalities from the Government and Non – Government organizations, civil society, youth groups, and others.
Delivering the inaugural address, Shri Pramathesh Ambasta, CEO, BRLF, said, “BRLF is delighted to support the Green Hub Central India program. GHCI Fellows are Adivasi and rural youth of India who are being trained and empowered to tell engaging stories about their habitat and issues through a visual storytelling medium. An important thing to remember is that climate change and environmental degradation are realities today. The Adivasis of central India face the brunt of these changes, and their livelihoods and lives are most severely impacted. The GHCI fellowship offers an opportunity for a division youth to think about these issues and start a discussion amongst themselves and their communities on these issues.”
The festival showcased the films and the stories the fellows’ students made during their graduation. It was interspersed with keynote speeches, presentations, folk music, dance, and a photography exhibition. The festival also invited eminent personalities from diverse environmental conservation and rural development backgrounds, indigenous knowledge, filmmakers, researchers, and practitioners.
Addressing the event, Chief Guest, Prof. GN Devy, President, Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation, appreciated the films made by the Adivasi youth and motivated the GHCI Fellows in an interactive session and said, “GHCI Fellows are the change-makers of the future in addressing issues of climate change, environment, sustainability, social justice for Adivasi development, and your continued engagement in these areas is necessary. The world needs to hear the stories of Adivasis from their own perspective, which is what Green Hub Central India is enabling with the powerful storytelling medium of films.”
Speaking about the inherent talent of the tribal and rural youth graduating from the program, Ms. Rita Banerjee, Project Director, Green Hub project, said, “It has been a pleasure to have worked with the first batch of talented Adivasi youth from the 4 States of Central India. I am proud to see the outcomes of their work presented as films today in this festival capturing the issues of forests, water, social justice, and biodiversity that matter the most in the lives of Adivasis. Green Hub welcomes the new batch of 27 Fellows into the program, and we look forward to taking the festival across India with the support of BRLF.”
The Adivasi Fellows who passed out of the program’s first edition said that many had never seen or handled a camera before. The intense program gave them an opportunity to learn, understand and ideate to bring their stories to life through a powerful visual medium. They also said that the program gave them the confidence to put forth their ideas more convincingly and to present them on stage at the GHCI Festival without fear or hesitation. They also added that they are now motivated to be the voice of the Adivasi community to take their stories to the world.
This program is an extension of the Northeast India Green Hub project that was started in 2015 and today has a network of 108 empowered youth across the northeast region. The expanded outreach to the four states of central India as Green Hub Central India (GHCI).
In the northeast, the Green Hub festival has become a connecting point for several stakeholders, youth, CSOs, CBOs, government departments, and indigenous community members. It has helped leverage the voices of the youth and community people towards positive solutions on the ground and built a support network for environment conservation, traditional knowledge, and local livelihoods.