BY TENDAI MADENYIKA
It was a cool winter morning and a thin haze of dust and fumes blanketed the streets of Bangalore. As the autorickshaw I was traveling in meandered through a labyrinth of one-way streets, avoiding the throngs of people and occasional cluster of cows that seemingly sprouted from nowhere with each sharp turn, I was struck by the sheer volume of people.
Known as the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore, the capital of the Southern Indian state of Karnataka, has almost doubled in size over the past decade, largely due to its role as a leading IT hub. Bangalore’s rapid growth has outpaced its ability to provide adequate public services, resulting in problems such as poor water and sanitation, as well as weak waste collection services.
Working with Reap Benefit during my IDEV practicum trip revealed how clean water supply, sanitation and waste collection in India continue to be inadequate. Reap Benefit (Reap) is a social enterprise that seeks to solve urban environmental problems quickly and effectively by making conservation and responsible water, waste, energy, and biodiversity management a way of life among youth. As a way to facilitate behavioral change, Reap implements affordable solutions such as tap aerators and flow restrictors that enable quantifiably better environmental management. In order to complement Reap’s great work, my practicum team, (which includes classmates Julie Collins, Julian Osterwalder and Laura Sennett), is designing a framework and monitoring and evaluation tool that will enable Reap to capture and measure quantitative and qualitative behavioral changes regarding waste, water, energy and biodiversity. We hope that Reap will benefit from our engagement, as we are learning many valuable insights about working with a client on development issues