The Odisha Water Honours, the only of its kind in the state, are meant to recognise dedicated individuals and communities for their pioneering contributions in the field of water/river/ecology conservation and restoration through various actions such as conservation, awareness, education, advocacy, grassroots initiatives.
The Odisha Jala Joddha Samman is given for individual contributions while Ajira Bhagiratha Samman is conferred for commendable efforts by a community/organisation, informed Ranjan Panda, Convenor of Water Initiatives, also popularly known as Water Man of Odisha.
For the Odisha Jala Joddha Samman, applications are invited from individuals who have contributed positively towards building awareness on issues like water and water-forest-biodiversity interlinkages or have done pioneering work through their publications, individual actions or other means that have influenced policy decisions and initiated community mobilisation on these issues, Panda added.
For the Ajira Bhagiratha Samman nominations are invited from communities/groups/organisations who have been doing exemplary work in conservation of water resources, protection of natural forests that have increased the availability of water resources in the locality, or any such efforts in water conservation/management that has empowered communities assert their rights over water and impacted their lives, livelihood and local ecology positively.
He continued: “These honours are not only a tribute to people and communities who are endeavouring hard to work on water/ecology conservation, but also aimed at raising awareness about the dire need of such work at a point of time when water has already become a scarce resource and impacting millions of people and other species adversely.”
These applications need to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via messages in the Mahanadi River Waterkeeper page in Facebook. The nominations can be made either by the concerned individuals/groups or by others on their behalf. The last date of sending nominations is 15th March 2019.
For further details, people are requested to write emails or post messages on Mahanadi River Waterkeeper Facebook page.
These awards will be conferred on the selected persons and communities at Baripada on 24th March during the 3rd Odisha River Conference to be organised, along with Similipal River Festival, by the WIO in collaboration with more than 30 partner organisations, Panda briefed. He requested all the media outlets to spread this message by giving ample coverage so that deserving persons/communities can file their nominations.
He further said, “This time we are encouraging nominations from women and women-led community organisations for these honours.”
Other Awards -
In countdown to the 3rd Odisha River Conference, several local competitions are also being organised by WIO and local hosts at Baripada.
In the Selfie with Budhabalanga Contest, youths in the age group of 18-25 from Odisha can participate. The competition, a part of WIO’s river-youth connect programme, aims at motivating the youth to get closer to rivers, love them, understand their plight and help save them.
A series of drawing and quiz competitions on Budhabalanga River and Similipal bio reserve will also be organised among school and college students at Baripada, the host town. Exciting prizes await youth and children who participate and win in these competitions. Prizes will be given away at the inaugural session of the conference.
3rd Odisha River Conference -
This time around, the theme for the Odisha River Conference is ‘Forest-River-Communities Nexus for Conservation of Rivers and Combating Climate Change’, to be held at Baripada on 24-25 March. More than 100 participants including community members involved in forest and conservation; villagers, indigenous communities and farmers; local and national level experts on river/water, forest and climate change issues; representatives from civil society organisations from across the nation; researchers, academics and other concerned people are expected to join the two day long intense deliberation that would lead to formulating future strategies of working together to conserve our rivers, lakes, other water resources, natural forests and promote nature based solutions to combat climate change with complete participation of local and indigenous communities, Panda said.
As this conference reaches its third episode, it has turned into a huge collective endeavour to save the rivers and other ecosystems. More than 30 organisations from local, state, national and international levels have already given their consent to collaborate in this year’s river conference and more organisations have shown their interest to join, informed Panda.
For further information, please contact:
Convenor, Water Initiatives
On behalf of the 3rd Odisha River Conference organising committee
Mobile: +91 9437050103/7008706434
Tweets @ranjanpanda and @MahanadiRiver