Publish Date: January 29, 2024

GRIP: IIT Delhi Students Visit Uttarakhand Villages; Will Develop Tech Solutions to Address Issues Faced by Local Population

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New Delhi: A cohort of thirteen students from IIT Delhi, representing diverse academic backgrounds, recently embarked on a transformative journey as part of the Grassroots Innovation Programme (GRIP) 2023–24. Facilitated by the Academic Outreach office at IIT Delhi, this initiative took the students to the villages of Tapovan and Urgam in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district. 

In collaboration with SEWA International, a prominent NGO in Uttarakhand, the students engaged in a hands-on exploration that went beyond the conventional academic realm. This immersive experience aimed to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and the complex realities of rural life. The program's ambit was expansive, covering socio-economic dynamics, healthcare facilities, educational assessments, and active involvement with self-help groups (SHGs).

Additionally, the students delved into cultural immersion, ensuring a holistic understanding of the communities they were working with. Meticulous documentation of their experiences added depth to their engagement.

“The GRIP initiative is designed to go beyond mere observation, as it encompasses a social immersion phase. During this phase, student groups spend significant time in communities, including smaller towns and villages. The goal is to deeply understand local needs and challenges, paving the way for the identification of grassroots societal problems. The next step involves devising innovative solutions to address these challenges,” said Prof. Subodh Sharma, Associate Dean, Academic Outreach, IIT Delhi. 

Insights from Urgam and Tapovan village immersion revealed several pressing issues related to waste management, traditional arts, climate change, seasonal farming, etc. These insights emphasized the need for targeted interventions.

As the programme transitions from social immersion to the innovation phase, GRIP 2023–24 takes on a more active role. The group, after identifying specific challenges, is now committed to developing technological solutions.

These include creating a web app/database for health and market information, designing a basket for carrying dry grass, developing a compactor, researching materials for housing and road construction, improving conditions for local handicraft workers, training SHGs, introducing paalki in higher-altitude villages in the Urgam Valley, developing lightweight building materials, and enhancing waste management practices.

This transition marks a pivotal step in the journey, underscoring GRIP's commitment to making a tangible impact on the identified issues. The program stands as a testament to the power of grassroots initiatives to understand and actively contribute to positive change, ultimately bridging the gap between rural needs and effective technological solutions.