MSSRF has played a lead role in starting Genome Clubs in schools and conduct
genetic literacy programmes in rural areas to create a cadre of youth, young
men and women with a functional knowledge of genetics and legislation
pertaining to biodiversity and rights of farmers on seeds. The objective of
Genome Clubs was to disseminate proper information to the stakeholders
through workshops and camps. The workshops focused on issues and
legislations in relation to bioresources conservation and enhancement, namely, the Biological Diversity Act 2002and the Protection of Plant
Varieties and farmers Rights Act, 2001. A typical camp had participants
exposed to Kalajeera rice fields, millet fields, concept of establishing
community gene/ seed/ grain bank, importance of community rainwater
harvesting system and use of vermi composting. MSSRF also has been
conducting a four-week, residential, Vacation Training Programme for Std X tudents in which the students are exposed to current trends in Biology and
also taken on field trips to Biodiversity rich areas to sensitise students
on the need and implications of Biodiversity Conservation. These programmes
are mainly designed to increase awareness on Environmental challenges and
inculcate a Scientific temper amongst students. We have conducted these
programmes in Chennai, Orissa and Kerala
The prime objective of these clubs is:
- To promote interest and knowledge about the natural resources and
the environment among the emerging generation.
- To foster concern to protect the bioresources and natural heritage
- To increase awareness of the economic, cultural, scientific and
aesthetic values of fauna and flora.
- To provide opportunities to acquire attitudes, values and skills
needed to protect and improve the natural environment.
- To make aware the impact that emerging technologies (including
biotechnology) have on maintenance and enhancement of Bioresources.
In Orissa, a newsletter is published (2000 copies) regularly, "Genome
Shikhha" (Genomic Flame) a bimonthly magazine in Oriya that is being printed
and distributed in the town of Jeypore. The genome club members run this
magazine by themselves. The Genome club members contribute articles and
poems for this newsletter and distribute them. Some of the students have
started genetic awareness campaign on their own in their villages and
schools. The participants have been able to develop and maintain Village level Bioresource Registers. Genome Club members have also organized various
competitions in their school and to spread awareness on Biodiversity and Bioresource Conservation.