Who is a Paryavaran Mitra?

A Paryavaran Mitra (Friend of Environment), demonstrates environmental citizenship qualities through positive change in behaviour and action at individual, school, family and community levels.

Not only students, but also teachers, principals, parents, whole schools and all those who demonstrate these qualities become Paryavaran Mitra.

What is the Paryavaran Mitra Programme?

Paryavaran Mitra is a nationwide initiative to create a network of young leader from schools across the country, who have the awareness, knowledge, commitment, and potential to meet the challenges of environmental sustainability in their own spheres of influence.

The Paryavaran Mitra programme primarily seeks to reach students from class 6 – 8 (age group 11-15).

To get a few glimpses of what has been achieved in the first phase, explore the interactive map on the homepage..

What is the design of the Paryavaran Mitra Programme?

Students, as Paryavaran Mitra, show commitment to make a difference by taking handprint action. The action could be towards resolving a local issue, or to improve the condition within the school premises, and at home, or in the community in five thematic areas:

Water and Sanitation
Waste Management
Biodiversity and Greening
Culture and Heritage

In the educational process of project based learning the student would develop understanding in environmental sustainability, inculcate the required attitude, values and behaviour towards environmental sustainability, and build skills through hands-on experience in the immediate environment.

Why Paryavaran Mitra in Schools?

School is a place where students spend 5-8 hours a day, for an average 200 days of a year. In fact, this is where a considerable time of their waking hours are spent. The school time and space provide a wonderful opportunity for not only syllabus related learning, but also the development of life-skills through extracurricular and co- curricular activities. Thus the school provides a structured opportunity for students to gain knowledge and experiences, develop skills and imbibe values and attitudes, and be enriched through peer learning, all of which contribute to creating a Paryavaran Mitra.

The school becomes the crucible for applying what has been learnt. Every student takes back the experience and learning from the school to his/her home/community, thus the school becomes the route to reach out to the community. Introducing the Paryavaran Mitra  programme in school, is a way to reach out and involve the entire community.

What does a school has to do when it joins the Paryavaran Mitra Programme?

Schools have to involve students in class rooms, in eco-clubs, and in the whole school in action-oriented activities and carry out projects under five themes: Water, Waste Management, Energy, Biodiversity, Culture and Heritage.

A Paryavaran Mitra school is one that provides support, time, and space for students and teachers to be actively engaged in learning by doing. In other words, it is a school that promotes exploration, discovery, thinking, and action.

A uniquely designed and curriculum linked “Teacher’s Handbook” (free download for registered schools) provides the basic resource facilitating the implementation of Paryavaran Mitra activities and projects within and beyond the classroom. It is equipped with a lot of background information, class activities from the 5 themes, beyond classroom projects and ideas how to become a Paryavaran Mitra school.

With the help of “Teacher’s Handbook”, at least five activities in each of these five themes are to be undertaken. Most of the activities can be conducted within the premises of the school but at least one has to reach out being implemented in the student's family or community. Eco-Clubs can take a leading role in project implementation.

The schools also need to document the activities undertaken and report the quantifiable changes observed in order to share them on ww.paryavaranmitra.in.

What is the role of a teacher?

The success of the programme rests upon the support and guidance of the principal and headmaster, but the key facilitator and implementer is the teacher. The teacher, working closely with students, needs to identify the local issues, curricular linkages to plan and schedule the activities to be undertaken, and provide the necessary guidance to students to do the activities in a systematic manner, taking care that the objectives are achieved. The teacher should encourage students to document and share experiences, processes and learnings from the activities. Teachers prepare and submit reports in the required format.

What is the Handprint?

Handprint is the symbol of, measure for, and commitment to positive action towards sustainability. Handprint also stands for caring, and working together towards a sustainable future. While the Footprint is a measure of human pressure on earth’s resources, the Handprint is a measure of what we can do individually, and together, to restore the balance between consumption and the planet’s carrying capacity.

Handprint stands for:

Positive & tangible action and projects towards sustainability, an integral part of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).
A tool to calculate the extent of ESD action being taken and the positive impact of our actions on Sustainable Development.
A symbol of commitment through  a pledge to act.
A caring attitude. Extending a helping hand in caring for the planet and all life on it.
Networking and collaboration. Joining hands for the common goal of sustainability on Earth—the only known living planet.


Launched in 2007 by Centre for Environment Education (CEE) at UNESCO’s 4th International Conference on Environmental Education held at Ahmedabad, India, the Handprint represents the belief that we can make a difference through individual and collective actions to solve the environmental problems. This concept emerged from one of the CEE’s Programmes--Environmental Education in Schools of Andhra Pradesh (EESAP 2000 to 2008). The programme, implemented in 1500 schools, resulted in small action projects in and around schools, and involving communities. This demonstrated that the while the Footprint of a rural child may be minimal, her/his positive actions can be facilitated, supported, and shared to inspire others (local communities, and across the globe) to act so as to contribute to positive impact on environment.

For more details on how it is being used across the world please visit www.handsforchange.in.



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