It may be a marketing formula, but AIDA can – and does – work equally well in community participation. Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA) are the four pillars on which the Madhya Pradesh Jan Abhiyan Parishad (MPJAP) decided to include the society in Environment and Water Conservation, Education and Health imperatives.
Invoking the religious sentiments of the local populace, MPJAP planned a public awareness campaign to educate the community about the importance of conservation, education and healthy habits. The campaign moved around a 30-day journey from Amarkantak to Sondwa and back by a core team of 150-200 persons. The yatra coordinated with workshops and public meetings that brought into focus activities like afforestation, sanitation, soil and water conservation, pollution control measures and promotion of organic farming.
Since rivers are the genesis of all civilisation, the strategy was to focus on rivers in Madhya Pradesh. The Narmada is the largest river of MP. It has its origin in the holy place of Amarkantak in Anuppur District, at the height of approx. 3467 ft. from sea level. It flows from east to west and merges with the Arabian Sea near Surat in Gujarat. This, the fifth largest river of the Indian subcontinent is the lifeline of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
Narmada in Sanskrit means ‘Giver of Pleasure’. To the Hindus, the Narmada is one of the seven holy rivers of India; the other six being Ganges, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Sindhu and Kaveri. According to Hindu mythology, River Ganges acquired the form of a black cow and immersed in the holy water of river Narmada, to cleanse herself. There are several places of religious signicance along the Narmada such as Amarkantak, Maheshwar and Omkareshwar.
Many people undertake a pilgrimage along the river, which is called the Narmada parikrama.
Jan Abhiyan Parishad identified 313 small rivers 10-25 km long for their resurrection and conservation. With the help of groups of people, activities like desilting, deepening of the river and major plantations on the riverbanks were undertaken.
This approach to rejuvenate the river and protect the Panch Mahabhoot of Air, Earth, Ether, Fire and Water will denitely lead to a better, greener earth.