Solutions Matter: The Urban Water Challenge

There are very few competitions in the world where the idea of losing doesn’t exists. The Urban Water Challenge was one such experience for our students, teachers and us. It was an opportunity to witness our students push beyond their imagination and create hacks to save Bengaluru City from a looming water crisis!

For weeks leading up to the finals, corridors of the schools were buzzing with ideas on water conservation. From thinking of ways to consume less water in constructions to brainstorming alternatives to using a water filter- there were new angles adding to their perspectives every day.  

IMG_20181223_122117On December 21, 2018, the luscious Bengaluru icon, Cubbon Park became the center stage for our young environmentalists to present their ideas one last time. It can’t be a prouder moment for us at Mantra4Change to proclaim that the 5 finalists that made the cut out of 15 were from our partner schools!

The Urban Water Challenge is the product of a need to put Bengaluru city out of its growing crisis of water scarcity. The Optimist Citizen and Why Waste came together to conduct a citywide Hackathon for students across Bengaluru to come up with innovative solutions that can be easily implemented within their school campus.

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The highlight of the entire process for me was to see the enthusiasm of teachers and students alike as soon as the posters went up on their notice boards! The volume of applications exceeded our expectations by large. After 4 sessions to orient the applicants and teachers through the process, we geared up for an eventful challenge.

On Day 0, the venue was abuzz with talks of children coming up with solutions for the city. Strategically located in the view of morning joggers and families who came to spend their Sunday at the park, our students were quite the show stoppers!

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After presenting their ideas to a jury, the 5 students were mapped to 5 mentors – young changemakers who have already made their mark in the area of environmental conservation.  

“As a mentor, my aim was to unlock the ideas of my mentee and chart it into an actionable, implementable plan,” said Pranav Shikarpur, co-founder, Testing Waters. “It’s so great to see them on this path. It’s only a matter of time that these ideas would start changing the way we perceive our environment and respecting it.”

Speaking about his own project highlighting the various purposes of water harvesting, Srinidhi, a class 9 student of Sharda Shri Public School said, “This was an enlightening experience for me. I’m so glad to have come here and shared my ideas while learning so many more.”

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A competition with 5 winners – that was the culmination of the Urban Water Challenge where every idea was acknowledged independently. Although there was meant to be one winner of the challenge, the organizers chose otherwise seeing every unique idea having the originality and depth of research put in by our students.

“We are so amazed at all the ideas! Every one of these students deserves the appreciation for coming up with such innovative solutions to the water crisis in the city,” said Garvita, founder, Y Waste.

Written by Pranashree Bhushan, School Transformation Lead, Mantra4Change

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