Her Excellency Ms. Dana Kursh, Consul General of Israel to South India (Bengaluru), has inaugurated “Women in Sustaining the Environment” (WISE), a new collaborative research project between Amrita and Tel Aviv University on February 11, 2019 at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri campus. The latest research initiative from Amrita’s Centre for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality (CWEGE), WISE seeks to promote women’s empowerment through sustainable water governance by supporting women’s participation in the choice, maintenance and management of natural resources along with other sustainable development practices. The project is funded by the Consulate of Israel to South India (Bengaluru). 

At her inaugural address, the Consul General has expressed her heartfelt joy to be part of an initiative capable of transforming communities altogether. She said it was a true honor to be part of a knowledge sharing session with learned men and women, in an effort to make a better world in terms of women’s empowerment. When she spoke about inspiring women leaders worldwide, Ms. Dana Kursh cited the example of ‘Embracing the World’, a global network of charities spread across 40 countries and mentioned the driving force behind the movement, Amma. Discussing further about Amma’s efforts, the Consul General went ahead talking about Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and the three pillars on which it stands: education, global impact and compassion. Ms. Dana Kursh concluded her speech by admiring Amma for achieving global impact through compassionate action.

By supporting women’s participation in the choice, maintenance and management of natural resources, the WISE Project seeks to provide avenues for recovery and sustainable development to the communities affected by the recent flood disaster in Kerala. Taking guidance from the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the project introduces an innovative way to promote community resilience and natural resource management through women’s empowerment and skill training. WISE seeks to empower women leaders by training and certifying them as Sustainable Development Officers (SDOs) so that they could lead their communities in identifying key vulnerabilities and develop action plans to solve them. 

Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham will work with the UNESCO Chair on Technology, Internationalization, and Education at Tel Aviv University to test the pilot phase of WISE project over the next months in flood affected regions of Kerala. “The pilot phase will identify communities and select potential women Sustainable Development Officers and train them to maintain, monitor and replenish any one natural resource, using latest technologies,” said Bhavani Rao R., UNESCO Chair in Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. Taking water as an example, she explained the scope of project WISE as a comprehensive resource management program through which women could perform water audits for their community using GIS tools. “ The women would monitor water levels in their community, water usage and water quality. They would work with the government to build water harvesting systems, reduce water pollution at its source and at their homes and build awareness on water management within the community.’’, she added. 

Israeli experts on the selected resource will work with resource professionals from Amrita to create a curriculum and training framework for WISE and they will also assist with the deployment. The training modules will be developed in consultation with the National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) and the Ministry of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE). Additionally, the research co-designed through this partnership will further the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). WISE is the second Indo-Israel research project between Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and Tel Aviv University after the Jivamritam- Clean Drinking Water Project.

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