LOCATION: New Delhi, India
SUMMARY: GOONJ is challenging traditional models of treating old household material as charity instead turning it into powerful tool for social change and a new currency for rural development. Instead of charity this material is given as reward, with dignity to rural communities solving their problems with their own wisdom.
PROBLEM SPACE: “According to Global Wealth Report 2016 by Credit Suisse Research Institute, India is worldäó»s second most unequal country with top 1% of population owning nearly 60% of total wealth. In 2012, government stated 22% of its population is below poverty limit. According to McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) if India continues to grow at current pace, average household incomes will triple over next two decades, making the country world’s fifth-largest consumer economy by 2025. On the other hand worth of unused items in Indian homes has reached whopping Rs 78,300 crore, according to OLX Crust survey across 16 cities. With rapid urbanisation and consumption, country is facing massive waste management challenge. Over 377 million urban people live in 7,935 towns and cities and generate 62 million tonnes of municipal solid waste per annum. Only 43 million tonnes (MT) of the waste is collected, 11.9 MT is treated, and 31 MT is dumped in landfill sites. Government aims to do away with landfill sites in 20 major cities while there is no additional land for dumping garbage.”
SOLUTION: Worldwide only money is considered a development resource. Goonj is turning old material into resource for rural development work. Communities have built huge bamboo bridges, dug up wells, done bunding of acres of land, developed small irrigation canals, built drainage systems, village schools etc. All this is done, not by paying wages to people but by making them understand their own community power and using old material as a reward. Using city surplus material as entry point into people’s lives, Goonj is filling the resource gap in development work and dignifying the act of Giving. By tying distribution of material (to rural communities) with them getting involved in community development work in villages, its adding dignity & resource to cities discard. This also means reduction in cash expenditure for low-income households, expanding their spending power in critical ways. Last waste of city material is used to generate employment by making products in villages for rural consumption, in the process millions of kgs of waste material is saved from filling landfills.
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