On 5 years of Pune Tree Watch: From the Founder and coordinator, Tasneem Balasinorwala
This is to let you know we complete 5 years this time of the month.. YAAYYY!! This is a long mail.. but I would think quite readable and free of jargon and emotional drama… so I would request you take some time off and read this. If you do not want to read this note (and I would think you would be amongst a large percentage), I would then sincerely request that you send me some feedback of what you have thought of PTW so far.. and what have your experiences (if any) been – good and bad. A small one liner from you would also tingle the senses in this happy moment. Some of the feedback we have already received is available here and we would be happy to recieve more
A wonderful 5 years it has been for me, packaging all the experiences together and all the people that I have met including the Tree Authority members. I am sure some of you would have the same to say. There is more to be done and accomplished and I hope more able hands will take this forward as one builder told me – ” to torture” the world better.
Given my absence in the last 6 months, I was happy to see that the communication continued. We managed to produce a brochure, continued aiding and assisting people and had wonderful participation from some other members. I would like to thank Subhojit Roy in particular for being the promptest moderator we ever had. He approved mails even before I got to them. Overall, I think we did quite a bit, given my physical absence and other members taking on small yet important tasks.
So what next ? (I hate this part as it means more planning and even more resources for planning. Yet it is crucial)
a) a coordinating agency perhaps – for a long time now Kalpavriksh has been the coordinating hub for PTW and now on the lookout for another coordinating agency. Of course we can continue without one, but then when it comes to funding then we have some issues. For all practical purposes as a group we have decided not to register PTW as an NGO and keep it free flow. Like I said there is a lot of work to do and the best role of PTW has been that of a support group where we actively have been helping each other and citizens with effective results most of the time.
b) more PTW members take up championships – we are doing this already but would be great to have more PTW members taking responsibility and sharing the support work that we already offer. Feroza Saran and Col Sawhney I would say are the only members who have been the area wise representative long since we started and both have been active. It is not so much work really.. and it is nothing but satisfactory because after being the “Face” for an area for long, one develops a good relation with the administration over a period of time and a deep sense of meaning (I am serious!).
c) funds – for some of the peripheral work we do. Just speaking from my experience for most of my coordination work, I have worked in complete voluntary capacity which has meant that I have had to do several other projects at the same time to sustain my existence :). I have managed to do that fairly well also because I was working with an environment NGO. Yet, I felt that had I more financial support I could have done more focussed work without feeling the stress of juggling various tasks. Why am I saying this to you ? because if we need to engage young people in grassroots and leadership work we must make amends to pay them adequately else the work fades out (and there are many examples in Pune such as this) and it continues to remain the work of the privileged or the senior members of society. Yes! I am still on the look out for funds for one law and policy dossier, so that is one output clearly in my to-be-done list. But many many many thanks to all the donors to have contributed and help us in whatever way they could.
d) education and communication – making trees a household name.. a small and yet vital necessity if we want to turn the tide of events the city is being engulfed in. The priority for trees and a good and clean environment needs to be as important as cooking gas perhaps. I can only imagine what that change could then amount to. It is not impossible to do, but it needs a lot of creative minds, communicative mouths and pockets with some money.
e) the last of PTW – I dread to say this but there is a small chance that could happen without funding, leadership and coordination this movement does not survive. Like I said in the past 6 months we did quite a bit with PTW members participating and my coordination from “out-of-the-world” so maybe that is the way forward. In the end the group had one strong sense of purpose and that was to make citizens ACTIVE and that we have seemingly achieved…But I think it is together all of us now who need to think of this. PTW after all is just as much as your group as much it is mine.. you have just appointed me to coordinate it (talk of governance!!).