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The project was completed over the months of May, June and July 2013.

In collaboration with SWaCH, a local co-op that provides front end waste management services, the first task was to decide what system would be best for waste reduction at Sangam World Centre, a large conference facility with accommodation and campsites in Pune, India.

It was decided that composting would give a better result than a vermiculture system (worm farms), due to the large amount of wet (food) waste produced, as well as the hot Indian summers that are a challenge to worms.

Photo: The rejuvenated compost pits at Sangam

The scope also allowed for a community partner to join the project and increase the potential for composting methods to be more widely taken up at a local level. 

SOS Children's Villages were chosen for several reasons -  They are located across the street from Sangam and would make monitoring visits very easy. They have a large amount of wet waste that is produced every day (feeding 3 meals a day to over 300 children).  


In May 2013 work started on rebuilding the Sangam centre's composting pits.  Existing vermiculture pits were emptied then rebuilt with a rock and coconut shell bed. SOS Children's village had existing composting pits that were in need of great repair and this was begun.

To enable Sangam’s waste management system to start fully functioning, new colour coded bins for waste segregation were purchased; red for dry waste, blue for wet waste and cream for office paper.


Training Sangam’s residents and local staff in the new system through a 'family meeting' and demonstration ensured that everyone correctly segregated waste into the bins, the first step to effective composting.

It is hoped that for local staff this will become habit and they will continue the practice at home once they receive the proper bins from the City government.


SWaCH held training with 25 Sangam staff/gardeners and several community participants (Irish Girl Guides and Volunteers) to discuss the waste system in Pune, what issues waste pickers face and ways we can conserve and improve our environment.

SWaCH also ran a 3 hour practical workshop on composting to start using the newly restored composting pits.  The kitchen ladies now understand how their work effects what the maintenance team does in the composting pits.

Photo: Staff training exercise to understand how to separate all the different types of waste into different bins.

COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION -  a bottom up approach to change.

As one of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts world centres, Sangam frequently host learning opportunity camps for children.  In July 2013, Sangam hosted an Environment Camp that involved Irish Girl Guides, local Pune Guides and many community partners.

Involving school age children in environmental training encourages them to take new practices back into the home - a bottom up approach to change.

During this Camp, the Irish Girl Guides taught others about waste segregation, water conservation, composting, making pledges to our environment, a fashion show from recycled materials and a field trip to the local Bio-Gas plant.

Most importantly, all participants made an Action Plan from their learning at the Camp that will educate fellow school students in conserving water and planting more trees.

Irish Girl Guides also conducted training with SOS Children’s Village, teaching the housemothers how to properly segregate waste and how to use their new composting pits.  They involved the children in environmental learning through gameplay and making environment pledges via craft.

Photo: The local Biogas plant - a field trip undertaken by kids on the environment camp.


‘We too learn how the waste food turns to a very very useful thing. We learn many games related to environment and we enjoyed a lot.’ – Rhea, Nivedita Guide

‘We learnt that our garbage can be useful in many ways, to which conserve our environment.’ –Anuj, DES School

‘When I see people are avoiding plastic bags and keep environment clean then I will know I have been successful.’ –Anil, SV Union Scout


The composting system at Sangam is now underway and they are hoping to purchase a wet/leaf waste shredder to speed up composting times.

The project funding from Footprints allows SWaCH to support both Sangam and SOS Children’s Village for the next year in operating their new composting system.

Sangam will also support SOS Children’s Village in operating their new composting system, both technically as well as socially - ensuring that the house mothers and children continue to segregate their waste properly to maintain their new compost system.

With the implementation of Sangam’s Environment Club, environmental initiatives will be prioritised within the Sangam family and the local community.


Learn more about Swach by watching this video.

What SOS Children’s Village did to learn about their environment - see video

Watch video  of what happened during the Irish Girl Guide Discover Your Potential event.

Click here for photos of the Sangam Environment Camp (Facebook).


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