Last Updated:  25/11/2020

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Project Pitch By: AARANYAK

 

Proposed Project Title


Digital media platform for ecological sustainability in northeast India

 

Thematic Area

Ensuring environmental sustainability, ecological balance, wildlife & natural resources conservation

Sub Thematic Area

Natural Resources Conservation

Project Synopsis

Aaranyak’s online platform ecoNE contributes towards public understanding of biodiversity and environmental issues in northeast India through effective use of media. Here, they seek to enhance general understanding of the masses towards science as well as environmental issues through development of first ever environmental news portal for northeast India. They propose to develop a science communication platform to bridge the gap between scientists and common people and promote informed decision making at various levels of the society. In addition, they propose to launch a citizen science initiative titled ‘Know Your Neighbourhood Wildlife’ and provide trainings in schools of Assam for active participation of children in knowledge gathering and scientific data collection on biodiversity outside protected areas. The involvement of children in this process will ensure the generation of support towards biodiversity conservation and environmental protection in the future generations.
 
 
 

Overview of the Proposed Project

Estimated Budget
INR 0.6 Cr - INR 1.0 Cr
Proposed Location
North East India, Assam, Guwahati

Key Project Partners
Academic Institute,NGOs

Project Status
Proposed
 

Facts

Beneficiary Type (Primary): General
Beneficiary Type (Secondary): Children
Estimated No. of Beneficiaries: above 10000 Individuals
Status of Baseline Survey: Already Done
 
 
 

Proposed Project Description

Introduction:

 

Northeast India is region that accounts for about 8% of India’s landmass, yet contains more than 60% of the country’s forest cover. Online media platform ecoNE (www.econe.in) works towards developing public understanding of biodiversity and environmental issues in northeast India, including the section of policy makers and at-risk communities. This media platform was developed and maintained by Media Production & Communications Division of Aarayak with support from Internews’ Earth Journalism Network.

 

Promoting scientifically informed reporting as well as communicating science to the masses has been an underlying objective of Aaranyak through ecoNE. The proposed project will enhance ecoNE to host the first ever environmental news portal for northeast India. The organization has already been conducting trainings for media students and journalists to enhance environmental reporting and organizing nature monitoring events for children and youth at various parts of the region. Their efforts of science communication will continue through ecoNE in the digital medium as well as other media for mass communication. Further, they will host a citizen science based initiative targeting various schools of Assam, develop training e-material and work directly with these institutes to promote biodiversity monitoring and scientific data generation at their respective locality.

 

Objectives:

 

  • To develop an environmental news portal for northeast India as part of ecoNE
  • To undertake science communication initiatives through ecoNE and other mass media.
  • To develop citizen science based biodiversity monitoring initiatives with schools of Assam

 

Timeline: 3 Years

Target Area: Assam

Target Group: Children, Youth

 

Activities:

 

Activities under Objective 1 –

 

  • Upgradation of ecoNE website to host a news portal section.
  • Organizational manpower development to run the news portal. Two persons from media and journalism background will be engaged to operate the news portal, while training and capacity building of our existing media staff will also be undertaken.
  • Regular activities will include news sourcing through contract with various news agencies, first-hand investigative reporting, storytelling through various media such as text, photos, videos and multimedia format.

 

 

Activities under Objective 2 –

 

  • To develop audio and video content, illustrations and infographics for science communication, including expert speaks on various biodiversity and environment related topics, in a way that it is better understood by a layman and broadcast them ecoNE and other local mass media channels.

 

Activities under Objective 3 –

 

  • A citizen science online database named as ‘Know your Neighbourhood Wildlife’ will be developed as part of ecoNE, and promoted through involving schools in Assam and providing trainings in undertaking backyard biodiversity monitoring and documentation activities in their locality. Training will be imparted on general aspects of nature monitoring including identification of butterflies, birds, mammals, herpetofauna, nature photography, scientific record keeping etc.
  • The training material and videos will be kept as e-resources at ecoNE, accessible free of cost for everyone to use as educational materials.
  • Students will be able to submit their collected data, such records of species through checklists, photographs and videos to a specific database under ecoNE, which will further be verified by our experts and feedback provided to the schools accordingly.
  • In addition to direct promotion in schools, advertisements in mass media will be published to ensure wider participation in the initiative.

 

Outcome and Indicators:

 

Outcome 1: First ever environmental news portal for northeast India to contribute towards general understanding of the masses on biodiversity conservation and environmental protection issues and act as authentic and up to date source of information.

 

Indicators for Outcome 1.

 

  • Completion of web development for news portal and launch through integration into ecoNE.
  • Number of website visitors to news portal, which is expected to have a steady increase with the launch of news portal.

 

Outcome 2: Make science and scientific facts easy to understand for everyone by bridging the gap between scientists and the common people and generate awareness on various issues of mass concern. The initiative is particularly going to contribute towards building support towards science and encourage informed decision making at various levels of the society.

 

Indicators for Outcome 2.

 

  • Number and types of science communication contents produced.
  • Number of reads (website visitors who have spent a certain amount of time on particular content) on contents.

 

Outcome 3: Connecting children to nature as well as raising their inquisitiveness towards the natural world, provide a structured biodiversity related learning experience for the students and teaching experience for the teachers, contributing in a wider way to scientific data collection on wildlife species outside protected area.

 

Indicators for Outcome 3.

 

  • Completion of web portal development for citizen science database.
  • Number schools partnered and trainings conducted.
  • E-resource material made available at ecoNE.
  • Number of students participated and observation submitted to the citizen science database.

 

Sustainability:

 

The news portal is expected to generate revenue in longer run through carefully chosen advertisements and support running of ecoNE in general. The science communication initiative will continue through manpower trained during the proposed project. The citizen science component will continue through participation of schools by incorporating such practices into their activity curriculum in coming years.

 
 

Salient Features

  1. First ever environmental news portal for northeast India.
  2. Science communication through various mass media and online platform.
  3. Citizen science initiative that specifically targets children from schools of Assam.
 

About AARANYAK

Aaranyak is a front ranking environmental research organization in the non-government sector of India having its head office at Guwahati, Assam. Established in the year 1989 as a registered society under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860, Aaranyak received recognition as Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (SIRO) by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) of Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India in 2006.

 

Since its inception, has been working to foster conservation of biodiversity in North East India through Research &monitoring , Environment Education, training & outreach and advocacy for legal and policy reform to usher a new era of ecological security. Aaranyak at present have 15 divisions which form the core of its conservation strategy .

 

Aaranyak have won many accolades from different organizations and Govt. Deptt. around the globe, some of those are RBS ‘Earth Guardian Award 2011’ conferred by the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2011, Indira Gandhi ParyavaranPurashkar , by Ministry of Environment and Forest, G.O.I in 2012, Institutional Award in the field of Science and Technology’ in 2017.

 
 

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