Waste Management and Organic Farming in Payir, India by the BUILD team

by tuftsigl
Aug 01

Over the course of the past week and a half, there has been a monumental amount of progress within our team. For example, we have organized an educational field trip for approximately 70 children, including students of the Payir School and the Thottiyapatti Learning Center. This opportunity has also been extended to Dalit students, those who are considered to be of a lower caste. We are excited to witness these three groups of children come together despite the socioeconomic barriers. We collaborated with one of the Payir teachers to bring the children to a nearby airport, planetarium, and butterfly park to take their learning outside of the classroom setting.

Additionally, our team has been in discussion with several members of the Payir and Thottiyapatti communities with regards to two other projects – proper waste management, and organic farming. We have surveyed a sample of village residents to learn about their eating habits, interest in organic farming, and waste management practices with the guidance and direction of four respectable people from the Thottiyapatti and Thenur communities. For our organic farming initiative, we have scheduled visits to the Tribal Health Initiative and Thulir, two NGOs that have successfully implemented organic farming in nearby villages. We look forward to analyzing this information and taking both projects to the next level.

Regarding long-term project sustainability, we have worked with Payir personnel in drafting budgets and supply inventories for the Learning Center and EcoSan Toilet Complex. One of our steps in doing this included investigating solar panel output in the Learning Center and configuring a plan for new lights and a fan. Ultimately, our goal is for Payir and the Thottiypatti community to be able to maintain these projects without necessitating BUILD’s presence.

From our time so far here on the ground, we have noticed that Payir nonprofit organization has vastly expanded- in terms of personnel and outreach in the surrounding community. Therefore, we have decided, with Payir founders Senthil and Preethi, that BUILD and Payir’s relationship should take a new turn. Starting this year, BUILD will focus mainly on fundraising. Once a month, Payir will send us a comprehensive update on the Learning Center, EcoSan toilets, and new Payir projects. There will be an annual internship-style trip to Payir, with one focused project as the end goal. We, and Payir, believe that this new structure is more sustainable, given changing times. We are excited to see what awaits with this new model.

Lastly, we have modified our budget according to new information we have learned. We have allocated proper funds for our upcoming educational field trip, the salaries of 2 Learning Center teachers and the toilet maintenance worker, and supplies for the Learning Center and EcoSan toilets. We have properly adjusted our estimates for our waste management and organic farming projects. We have set aside a portion of funds as a general Payir donation, to cover the costs of our stay and to support the honorable efforts taking place here.