THE GREEN HUB PROJECT was founded in Northeast India in 2014 by Dusty Foot Founder, Rita Banerji, in collaboration with Northeast Network (NEN) as the local partner. The project was the first of its kind in India that looked at engaging and empowering youth especially from remote areas and marginalized communities in conservation action and social change by using the visual medium. In 2017, the project received the Manthan Award for leveraging the power of youth in environment through technology. In 2019, Rita was inducted as an Ashoka Fellow for the Green Hub project (https://www.ashoka.org/en-in/fellow/rita-banerji).
About the Green Hub Project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFtb7oQ0JEU
While the Northeast Region - NER is a Global Biodiversity Hotspot and has a rich cultural heritage of indigenous people, several states here have had a history of socio-political unrest that has disrupted the lives of local youth. The acquired skill of video documentation and the power of communication has given young people here the opportunity and ability to tell the stories of their worlds, effectively. This has helped many of them go back to their roots and support their communities to preserve and document their wild natural heritage and sustainable traditional practices. The Green Hub Video Fellowships have created a valuable platform for unheard stories to emerge, both to celebrate the natural and cultural wealth of the Northeast region, as well as to bring in to focus the significance and vulnerability of the land and its people. Green Hub Northeast currently has 88 fellows, across 8 states of the region, who are driving positive change in multiple ways, within their communities and outside, building agency and effective networks of young change makers (https://youtu.be/IE4nD7woJfY)
Many of the Green Hub Fellows have chosen to return to their communities and strengthen conservation and local livelihood innovations at the ground level, some have established themselves as climate actors and are actively supporting afforestation, spring-shed rejuvenation and community led eco-tourism. Others have gone on to work with NGOs, forest departments and the local State Medicinal Plant Board. Some are pursuing professional careers in media and television. Several Green Hub Fellows have gone on to win further Fellowships and also national and international awards for their films. The overall financial value generated by the Green Hub Fellows in 5 years is more than INR 2 Crores. The value created in terms of flowing back to their community, their forests and their land, and leading new initiatives, is beyond measure.
The Green Hub project in North East India is continuing as a collaboration between Dusty Foot Foundation (DFF) and North East Network (NEN) with many strands of youth leadership, local entrepreneurship, climate action, sustainability, gender equity and youth well being emerging from the core of the fellowship program. Dusty Foot Foundation has initiated the expansion and establishment of the DFF-Green Hub Fellowships to a new territory in Central India, based on the model of Green Hub Northeast India. Here too the project will be implemented in collaboration with a key local partner in Central India.