Urban Age Award 2014 Neu-Delhi

On 14 November 2014, the 7th Deutsche Bank Urban Age Award was presented in New Delhi. The winning projects Chintan and Goonj shared the 100,000 USD prize money. The keynote speech was given by five-time amateur boxing world champion Mary Kom.

In 2014, the Deutsche Bank Urban Age Award's open call for applications was announced in New Delhi. The winners were selected by an independent international jury.

In 2014 there were 135 applications from the Delhi region, reflecting the vibrancy and creativity of Delhi’s citizens in dealing with the social and urban challenges facing their city.
goonj acceptance speech
The winner from the NGO Goonj expressed her organisation's gratitude for the Award in her acceptance speech.

Many projects highlighted the cooperation between the various stakeholders such as social activists, community groups, foundations, architects and designers, local authorities, universities, and governmental organisations.

The submissions represented a diverse range of projects. The initiatives fell into various categories including education, culture, environment, sanitation, public space, transport and recycling.

The prize was finally awarded to two initiatives: Chintan – Material Recovery Facility, a recycling and educational project located at the New Delhi Railway Station, and Goonj, a non-governmental organization working towards recycling garbage and textiles and thereby creating employment opportunities.
The Chintan recycling project at the New Delhi Railway Station manages tons of unsorted garbage every day and enables waste-pickers to carry out their livelihoods in a clean and dignified work environment.
Goonj transforms otherwise unusable materials like torn clothes, used books and notebooks etc. into various usable products through the imagination of their workers, allowing nothing to end up in landfills.
The NGO Goonj believes in utilizing vast quantities of untapped old and waste material in middle class households and re-using material to create second-hand products. The material left at Goonj drop-in centres is sorted at a facility run by the group at Madanpur-Khadarpur village in Delhi's South-East, a conservative marginalized neighbourhood, that has seen positive changes in attitude after the facility was set up there. The nesting of the facility inside the community ensures local employment opportunities for women in the area. The sorted material is then utilized as a parallel currency for development programmes in rural areas like ‘Cloth for work’, whereby hundreds of grassroots programmes, such as digging wells, sanitation drives and making bamboo bridges are undertaken through partnerships with local NGOs. Goonj deals with about 1000 tons of solid waste annually, allowing nothing to end up in landfills, the otherwise unusable materials like torn clothes, used books and notebooks etc. are transformed into various usable products through the imagination of their workers. The last bits of otherwise torn and unusable cloth material are also transformed into sanitary pads produced for rural women under the ‘My Pad’ program. The project forms a creative and locally embedded workplace in Delhi and demonstrates the importance of more sustainable forms of production and consumption.
The Chintan Material Recovery Facility project at the New Delhi Railway station manages tons of unsorted garbage from the numerous trains that arrive at the railway station every day. The garbage which would otherwise end up in landfill dumps outside the city is sorted into organic and non-organic waste by trained workers at the center. The organic waste is then composted into manure through microcomposting and the non-organic waste is systematically sorted into various recyclable components of which only 20% ends up in landfills. Proper management and systematization of the process leads to more dignified livelihoods for the otherwise marginalized rag-picking community. The sorted waste is passed on to various corporate producers, such as TetraPack, for recycling. The profits generated through the project are utilized to improve social awareness among the rag-picking community and to create educational facilities for children of the waste-pickers. The facility stands on a former garbage dump, which has been transformed into a dignified and clean working space where the trained rag-pickers come and carry out their livelihoods. The project demonstrates that with process innovation and courageous partnership-building with corporates, residents and institutions, a just, ecological and inclusive approach to urban waste management in a mega-city like Delhi is both possible and urgent.
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