The Green Hub Project

Enabling youth from indigenous communities to engage with conservation action and social change through the use of the visual medium

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  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Rita Banerji

Initiative's representative date of birth

3rd September, 1969

Initiative’s representative gender

  • Woman

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • India

Where are you making a difference?

North East Region (NER) of India

Website or social media url(s) @dustyfoot4wild

When was your organisation founded?

Dusty Foot Production: 08/2003 Dusty Foot Foundation: 11/2014

Focus areas

  • Helping people adapt to technologies of the future
  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce
  • Creating digital tools

Project Stage

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $50k - $100k

Organisation Type

  • Non-profit / NGO
  • For-profit

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

For me it was not an 'Aha' moment but an idea that got planted and grew over time based on my experiences as an environment and wildlife filmmaker in the field in India. My understanding of India - from poverty , conservation, human - animal conflict, rural realities to work happening on the ground to solve these, was through this. I was part of films that made real impact like saving the Whale Sharks from being killed on Indian shores. Two thoughts started forming at this stage - one the value of video as a tool of change, as well as a lack of space where youth could get into the area of conservation films and conservation action in a systematic way. These two combined to form the idea behind creating Green Hub.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

India currently has the largest population of youth in the world. More than 50% of India’s population is below 25 years of age. The unemployment in the country is at its highest. This is true of the northeast where the youth are directionless, prone to militancy and do not see value in ownership of their natural resources. There has to be paradigm shift in the idea of development which looks at synergy with ecological security as key.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

The Green Hub project works with youth from indigenous communities, using video as a trans-formative tool. Each year 20 fellows are selected preferably from remote areas and marginalized communities. Through the process of making the films the fellows over a period of one year not only develop their technical skills, but more importantly absorb the deeper ideas of conservation and livelihood, filming as well as meeting practitioners on the ground. Post the fellowship we work with the fellows to help develop their ideas on conservation action through mentoring, grants and network. At the end of 5 years we have 88 fellows and an alumni of 68 representing all states across the NER. 90% of them are engaged in conservation based activities, with some of them directly working with the community, initiating the dialogue on conservation. With the core idea of individual fellows as the change - makers, we see the scope of scaling up conservation and conservation based livelihood through the Green Hub model first in the northeast where each block or district has fellows in the future, and then across the country as well as at a global level.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

Wanmai Konyak from the first batch is from Changlangshu village in Nagaland, a remote area on the Myanmar border. Due to unsustainable form of shifting cultivation there has been heavy loss of forest, hunting of wild animals is common and now there is water crisis. Wanmai understood the link between forest and farming, insects and pollination while making films during the fellowship. Over the last two years he has formed a biodiversity management committee and has convinced his village to mark an area for forest regeneration. In parallel through Green Hub we are linking multiple practitioners to his location to strengthen his work towards conservation and livelihood, leading towards community well being and ecological security.

5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?

Through the project we are trying first to instill the idea of nature linked livelihood being a possible and more sustainable future. The approach is two pronged. One is learning the video documentation and editing where at the end of the year each fellow is comfortable with the idea of using the computer as well as the camera. This enable more opportunities for them locally and with local institutes. The other is that through the stories they do , they get to see solutions on the ground - based on conserving natural resources, using modern technology, innovative ideas and community well being. This empowers them to link the solutions with their own community, and initiate conservation based livelihood initiatives in their own village or region. With the alumni network as the nerve center, it will enable to communities to connect to innovative solutions linked to natural resources.

5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress

What we are trying to foster is for the youth to look at their own natural resources as the capital for sustainable futures. This is being done is a multi-pronged way with video and interaction with solution based practitioners as the as the learning tool, and in combination being the trans-formative process for change in mind sets. This enables multiple approaches to being adapted based on locations where the fellows are leading community based projects. Central to this is the Alumni Collective that is being mentored to become an effective social enterprise across the northeast region.

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Engaging youth in conservation based livelihoods to counter unemployment, despair and militancy is being attempted by several NGO's and enterprises based in the northeast. Our model is embedded with the idea of scaling up conservation and livelihood action through the fellowship model, where we see each fellow as a change-maker and central to involving community in this process. This network becomes an immediate pool of resource to scale up any innovative or successful idea across the region, as well as reaching a critical mass of youth with this mindset creating positive long term impact

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

We have an alumni of 68 from 4 batches. In 5 years, 90% are still engaged in work related to conservation and social change - through jobs with NGOs, grants and further fellowships for working with their community . Out of 68 atleast 35 have got new opportunities through the Green Hub fellowship. An alumni network has been formed by the fellows with a membership fee. The next step is to help them make it into an effective enterprise. 2 sites led by fellows have been selected by Green Hub Pilot Forest Project sites being developed as learning sites for other conservation and livelihood community based initiatives. The local pool of youth has become a valuable resource for other organisations working in the region like researchers, NGO's , media groups etc. Green Hub is seen as a place to leverage empowerment of youth towards conservation action and collaborations for well being.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

The Green Hub Project currently is supported through grants. In the long term he education part of it can be sustained through an institutional partnership. The video resource will be open access to multiple stakeholders, as well as for creating communication and educational tools. This will integrate a financial model. The network will have diverse growth roots from enterprise to community based projects, where each of these become independent financially through sustainable livelihood and conservation based projects. For giving this direction the focus will be to strengthen the alumni network and the forest project sites. For this the incubation and hand-holding will be supported by the Green Hub project in the early stages

10. Team

Green Hub is a collaboration between North East Network (NEN) and Dusty Foot Foundation (DFF). The Project Director leads the vision. There is an Admin and Program team of 4 people. two members look into accounts. Technical team of 4 look into the videos. Currently the governance comes under NEN, and over the next 3 years it will transition to DFF. The idea is to build leadership of the second rung to lead the project. Scaling up will be in partnership with other organisations across the country

Help Us Support Diversity! Are you a member of an under-served , under-represented, or marginalized group in your country of residence? (yes/no) (this question is optional – if you choose to fill it out, the response will not be shared with your fellow contestants)

  • Sexual orientation

If you selected “yes” to any of the categories above, please explain how being a member of this group has impacted you and your work?

Green Hub is seen as a safe space by the LGBTQ community in Tezpur. One of our fellows is a trans-man going through his transition and has now been with Green Hub. One of our team members is the first person in Tezpur to have initiated the dialogue on LGBTQ. Through the collaboration with Green Hub, the Youth Wellness Hub in the mental health institute has been able to open discussions on LGBTQ and creating a safe space for youth. These have helped expand the understanding among the fellows.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Ashoka page or contact


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