PRISM schools + Hume environmental/waste awareness program at Kerala Literature Festival

The Kerala Literature Festival (KLF) was a four day event held in Calicut from Jan 12th to 15th. The event apparently saw a footfall of ~4 lakh people. It’s organised by the beachside and this time, had 6 stages setup semi linearly over half a kilometer distance. Needless to say, a large event with a footfall of lakhs of people equates to a huge amount of waste generation.

The PRISM school program in Calicut has three govt. schools under it with ~7000 students. PRISM along with Hume Centre for Ecology and Wildlife Biology organised an environmental and waste awareness program at the event with ~200 student volunteers selected from PRISM schools. The student teams were deployed alternatingly at the venue on all four days in batches of ~100 under the supervision of teachers in the presence of the Hume team. Hume also had a video documentary maker covering the event. Will share here once it’s available.

While this was a haphazard, last minute experiment and started off with hiccups, it turned out to be an excellent kick-start to a broader program that’s being considered—The creation of a holistic, activity based climate/environment/waste awareness program to be first piloted in PRISM schools, where these ideas are inculcated into student life at the school, at home, and in the public via well designed, regular activities. The hope is that a significant percentage of students that go through this program over many years, when they come out of school, have good levels of climate and environmental consciousness. This requires a careful, holistic, pedagogical program design with the right mix of activities, learning, fun, science and incentives. If the pilot works, the program has the potential to be adopted in a large number of schools in the state and also serve as a model for schools at the national level. A climate “curriculum”, but maybe “curriculum” isn’t the right word here.

At the event, the student stall was placed in the middle of the long avenue ensuring that pretty much every single visitor at the event saw the messaging. Clearly marked cane baskets for segregated waste were placed across the venue. The students (had a lot of fun like being out on a picnic) and got first hand experience in handling waste–collecting, studying, quantifying. The quantified waste numbers were displayed on the stall.

Immediate next steps:

  • Prepare a report and present it to the organisers of KLF and the city corporation.
  • Felicitate the volunteer students to increase awareness amongst their peers.
  • Start the climate/environment/waste program design with PRISM schools and Hume.

Broad next steps:

  • As mentioned earlier, pilot a full fledged program in PRISM schools.
  • Push for quantification of waste at public events (like food nutrition labels) in general to a) increase awareness b) incentivise on waste reduction.

Rainmatter Foundation connected PRISM and Hume, helped organise and funded the program.

Here is a report prepared by Hume (PDF).

A few photos:


Through kids lot many times we can achieve than grown up. At a young age they accept the things and gradually questions anyone who don’t follow politely. We shall increase our programs on climate with kids centric. The chitrakala parishat is one big program in Bangalore we should try similar programs if possible.