Under the Swachh Bharat internship, students will spend 100 hours between May 1 and July 31 conducting sanitation activities in rural areas.

From giving back to earning credits why these students are doing a rural internship
Features Sanitation Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 17:49

Rajababu Saikia is eagerly waiting to go home this summer. The student of BITS Pilani – Pilani campus is not just looking forward to seeing his family but also to taking part in a sanitation related internship back home.

Talking to TNM, Rajababu explains, “I belong to Lakhimpur district in Assam. My community has been facing sanitation and cleanliness issues. I know the people in the community since my childhood. With this internship opportunity, I will be able to go talk to them myself and initiate necessary changes to tackle these issues. In addition, I will also get to spend some quality time with my community and build strong bonds. This will, hopefully, help me in my future initiatives for the community.”

The Swachh Bharat summer internship programme, launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in association with the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, invites college/university students to sign up to conduct sanitation related activities in rural areas.

Accepted students will need to devote at least 100 hours (between May 1 and July 31 this year) to the programme. They can choose between the state of residence and the state of their institution as the location of their internship.

Like Rajababu, several students have signed up for the internship as a way of giving back to their local communities.

Students will not only receive a certificate on completion of the internship, but they will also be given two curriculum credits if their internship report is found eligible by the institution. For some students, this is their incentive to enrol in the internship.

“I have chosen this internship because we will receive credits for it and the cash prizes are attractive too. Also, a certificate from the central government will be a significant addition to my resume since I am a Social Work student,” says Swarnali Banerjee, a student of Bengaluru’s Christ (deemed to be university).

For students interested in social work, the internship provides an opportunity to work with rural communities and make a difference.

Likhith Raj, another student from Christ, says, “My family has been associated with social work, and I too have worked on similar community projects such as constructing toilets and initiating cleanliness drives. That’s why I am looking forward to this internship. I’m also looking forward to working with different communities and observing their lives closely.”

The interns can work in two clusters, first one being information, education, communication activities. This can involve organising awareness campaigns, performing nukkad nataks (street plays) around cleanliness, organising swachhata melas (fetes), song and dance performances, door-to-door campaigns, creating wall paintings in public places on the theme of cleanliness and organising cleanliness related movie screenings in public places.

The second cluster is solid waste management related activities, such as organising waste collection drives (household/common or shared spaces), volunteering for segregation of solid waste into non-biodegradable and biodegradable waste, mobilising the community to build compost pits and helping panchayats to draw up plans for installation of biogas plants.

Vidushi Toshniwal, a student of IIT-Delhi, says, “I was fascinated by the government’s goal of eradicating open defecation in Indian villages by 2019. If that happens, it will solve a lot of health issues in rural India. I believe that by taking part in this internship I will be able to do my bit towards this great cause.”

In addition to the certificate and credits, the best three interns/teams will be recognised at college, university, state and national levels. The university level winners will receive cash awards of Rs 30,000, Rs 20,000 and Rs 10,000, state level winners will get Rs 50,000, Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000 and national level winners will be awarded Rs 2 lakh, Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000. Shields and cups with special certificates will be presented at the college level.

Students can apply individually or in teams (maximum of 10 members). The last date for registration for the internship is June 15.

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