ACT Powai

ACT Powai: A grand vision for better future

ACT Powai is a localised movement created to inspire, empower and celebrate active citizenship in Powai. Its objective is to lift the spirit of our neighbourhood by inspiring all Powai inhabitants to contribute to positive change, become involved and start doing – because a community of people who care deeply for one another and the environment in which they live is good for everyone. The program is driven by Earth5R.

Two years. In that time Powai will become a sustainable neighbourhood, if the goals of ACT Powai, as set out by Earth5R, are met.

ACT Powai is designed with the aim, among others, to conserve energy, water, natural resources and eliminate waste, poverty and inequalities.

Mumbai Environmental NGO Organisation CSR Project Earth5R


Almug paper bag project CSR Earth5R

Almug paper bag project CSR Earth5R Almug paper bag project CSR Earth5R

“Powai’s waste can become resources and a local circular economy can bring a new revolution. By 2020 we must be able to declare that no Powai woman lives below a poverty line and we can fix that line,” Saurabh Gupta, founder, Earth5R, said in the introduction to the project.

Designed by Earth5R team, local citizens and other environmental experts, the program aims to reduce overall emission and improve conservation by 2020.

“Powai can realise these goals by drawing on the energies of its citizens, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the local community, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society.” says Mumbai based environmentalist Saurabh Gupta. 

According to Saurabh, the transition from localisation to globalisation must be reversed. The project team has already started to align the long-term aims of Sustainable Development Goals with their local community programs where right action is necessary for this alignment.

“Powai’s waste can become resources and a local circular economy can bring a new revolution. By 2020 we must be able to declare that no Powai woman lives below a poverty line and we can fix that line,” Saurabh Gupta, founder, Earth5R, said in the introduction to the project.

“ACT is a plug and play model plan for communities,” the project plan reads. “Project stakeholders will engage with all sectors to help them contribute to the implementation, and empower them with knowledge and skills on citizen led sustainable development.”

Opportunities for young people

Young people will be a special focus – “they deserve better leadership opportunities”. More than this, “focused efforts are required to eliminate gender inequality”. “Promoting conservation of natural resources, gender equality and greater opportunities for young people are integrated themes that run throughout this project plan.”

The project teams shared that long-term shifts in perception and action aligned with climate change are currently reshaping the world economy and international politics.

Globalisation presents additional risk for local markets, while climate change affects development in the rural sector of India. The neighbourhood stands to benefit significantly from local cooperation and symbiotic model of social development.

Earth5R-Powai-Sustainability-Waste-Management-Saurabh-Gupta Earth5R Powai Mumbai Sustainability Waste Management Saurabh Gupta

Origins of the plan

The idea came from a handful of Earth5R volunteers including Sonam Sengar, Madhavi Nanganur, Shriyam Jalan, Manasi Deshpande along with Saurabh Gupta who started engaging local citizens in local sustainability based programs at Pune. Eventually, few Powai based volunteers came along with Earth5R, who surveyed the residential areas, business sector, local slums settlements and Powai’s local ecosystem and drafted the logical framework for the project. An advisory body consisting of 12 people, ranging from researchers and professors of IIT Bombay and several international universities, few business leaders the team was drawn, with members being selected for their expertise in key areas. 

The survey report and need assessment document, released in March 2018, set out Powai’s achievements and shortcomings since 1990. It identified a failure to take a sustainability-based approach and an absence of community partnerships as the main reasons for current socio-environmental issues of the local area. And it set out twelve primary challenges:

  • Water Shortage
  • Dry Waste Management
  • Poorly Employed Communities
  • Energy Deprivation
  • Financial Illiteracy
  • Polluted Ecosystems
  • Excess of Food Waste
  • Unskilled communities
  • Wastage of Resources

 Powai Statistics

The project team had to take into account the demographics of Powai, including:

  • About 30% of the population lives in slums with very poor access to water, sanitation, healthcare and affordable energy.
  • About 74% of the communities do not have access to the formal financial system.
  • About 63% of the community is unemployed.
  • 8000 Metric Tons of waste is produced by Powai annually.
  • 5500 Million litres of Water flows off the surface without use.  
  • 40000 Million Litres of water goes in gutters.

To maximise the benefits of this “demographic dividend”, Powai requires better community development plan, improved access to basic resources like water and energy, increased access to market and livelihood, easier entry into the local entrepreneurial opportunities. All of these factors need to be taken into account in sustainable development planning.

Goals of the Project

By 2020 Powai needs to eliminate income poverty. In other words, it must increase the income of slum households with a monthly income of Rs 1000 a person to Rs 3000 an improvement of  300%. And secondly, it must reduce inequality – the Gini coefficient, a measure of income disparity, should fall from 0.61 to 0.43.

This will be achieved by increasing employment for local communities from 80 million in 2018 to 200 million in 2020; raising per capita income by skilling the communities and increasing local production and strengthening the local market. An important focus of the ACT Powai is to unite Powai around a common programme that will enhance India’s vision of a united, prosperous, sustainable society.Earth5R Composting Waste Management Saurabh Gupta Environmentalist Mumbai SDG Powai Hiranandani

The plan deals with these factors holistically, recognising that key priorities such as environmental, social and economic development will have the biggest impact on poor women.In addition, citizens should be encouraged to be active in their own development. The project will actively promote citizen engagement.

Citizens should actively seek opportunities for advancement, learning, experience and opportunity; work together with others in the community to advance development, resolve problems and raise the concerns of the voiceless and marginalised; and, hold the government, business and all leaders in society accountable for their actions.

“The Powai we seek to see by end of 2020 is sustainable, green, fair, prosperous and equitable.  Most of all, it is a neighbourhood that each and every Powaian can proudly call home. It is up to all Powai citizens to play a role in fixing the future.”

Mumbai Environmental NGO Organisation CSR Project Earth5R