Danone’s Well-being Initiatives for Nature and Society

Danone’s Well-being Initiatives for Nature and Society

Giving back to communities is an important element of Danone’s “One Planet.One Health” frame of action. In the spirit of our vision, Danone India had undertaken a project- D Wins in Sarsini village situated in Dera Bassi Tehsil of SAS Nagar (Mohali) district in Punjab, India. A village with an area of 435 hectares with a teeming population of 2000+ comprising of 400+ households. Most of community members are employed as labourers in nearby industrial area.

 

The village is a home to Govt High School, Sarsini which is the sole govt school in the entire village responsible for the studies of 157 students. The school infrastructure was dilapidated due to old structure of the school building and its attendant problems like Water leakages from roof, Poor electricity circuits, Rain water stagnation in yard, Poor light in classroom, Poor cable connections and dead UPS batteries in computer lab and lack of drinking water facility in the summer season. The problems emanated from infrastructure worn off due to wear and tear along with lack of repair. The sub optimal school infrastructure prevented students from attending the class. The school is in a low-lying area which often led to water getting accumulated near the school premises making the access to school difficult.

 

The village have 2 big ponds constructed some 20 years back. Village sewage water and runoff use to directly enter in the pond’s submergence area which causing siltation and development of water plants in whole pond. The ponds were unable to recharge any ground water due to siltation, stinking badly and creating unhygienic environment in village. The village also have 2 acres of common land filled with thorny bushes due to negligence by the community.

 

With an eye towards alleviating the difficulties of students and villagers Danone India undertook a raft of steps intended to fix the infrastructure of school enabling a better learning experience for students along with steps to improve the communal spaces of village. Through targeted interventions like one Pond Rejuvenation, 2 acres of Commons Land Protection & 1500 Tree Plantation and School Infrastructure Development which included construction of new class rooms and renovation and construction of school boundary wall along with the installation of Solar Panel installation and Water Purification system in school. The rejuvenated pond has created additional 7000 CUM of rainwater harvesting and now harvesting over 12000 CUM rainwater. The pond has addressed water security issues and contributed to provide assured irrigation water to nearby farmers.

 

The project has established strong governance to ensure sustenance of created project assets. The project has impacted positively on community, influenced and shaped community mindset to initiate several developmental activities in village by their own funds. Gram Panchayat and community collectively rejuvenated one pond which was able to harvest over 35000 CUM of rainwater, planted over 10500 trees, developed village drainage and sewage line network, initiated daily waste collection from villages, regular maintenance of garden area, improved sport ground and gym, constructed community chaupals, carried out village wall painting for awareness generation and community motivation.

 

Project D-WINS is a community driven project, planned and collectively implemented by community, NGO and Danone. The project positively impacted and has already started achieving its goal to mainstream the community towards a sustainable development journey. Though the interventions are small, it will influence larger stakeholders in Lalru Industrial catchment area to create a sustainable development movement in the near future. The project is a good model to address environment and sustainability challenges that has shaped and influenced the community mindset to look at a similar project at a larger scale.