Cambridge researchers develop “water curriculum” for Nagaland

"Pani Pahar - the Water Curriculum" aims to engage students and communities in water conservation and environmental sustainability across a forested region in India.

Rishika Bhardwaj

Foresters across Nagaland collaborated with researchers at the University of Cambridge to jointly develop the "Pani Pahar - the Water Curriculum." The curriculum focuses on tree plantation drives, waste management, recycling, and most importantly, water conservation.

The initiative aims to engage students, communities, village councils, and towns across an expansive region that encompasses a quarter of India's forests. Since its release, the Pani Pahar curriculum has been made freely available to teachers and schools, empowering them to incorporate experiential learning into their classrooms.

Designed to instil a sense of responsibility towards water conservation and environmental sustainability, thd curriculum, draws upon the extensive research conducted at the University of Cambridge, with the instructional design led by Hearth Advisors. To ensure effective implementation, young Nagaland forestry graduates are currently being trained by Hearth Advisors, a division of Canta Consultants LLP, to disseminate the curriculum in schools.

According to a release, the graduates, enrolled in the Mobius Young Professional Programme, will also gather crucial data on indigenous knowledge and practices in forest and natural resource management. Furthermore, they will contribute to an international research initiative aimed at translating indigenous knowledge into concrete policy action. This initiative was launched by the Indian government during the 27th Conference of Parties (COP 27).

To supplement their training, the Nagaland forestry graduates will receive hands-on experience and mentoring from a team associated with the Nagaland Forest Management Project (NFMP). The NFMP, supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), seeks to enhance forest ecosystems and promote sustainable practices in Nagaland.

Leading the Nagaland project is Atoho Jakhalu, an alumnus of the University of Cambridge and the Director of the Climate Studies and Knowledge Solutions Centre in the Government of Nagaland. The project receives additional support from the Government Department of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change, Hearth Advisors, YouthNet, and funding from the Mobius Foundation.

Jakhalu said, “We anticipate the success of this project in Nagaland will set a strong foundation to be followed for the rest of the other seven North Eastern states of the Indian Himalayan region (which has a quarter of India’s total forest cover and therefore has a huge role to play in keeping up with India’s climate commitments, especially in the forestry sector).”

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