Learning cleanliness: Action Learning Project 2018


Cleanliness and order are not products of instinct; they are matters of education and training. Like most civic things, people must cultivate a right attitude and taste for them.  In order to turn clean city drive into a learning activity, Bodhisattva Learning has initiated a unique project called “Bottom of the Pyramid “in coordination with SWaCH, Pune. 

Bodhisattva Learning Pvt Ltd is a training and development company to help an individual, professional and organizational development.

SWaCH, Pune is India’s first wholly-owned cooperative of self-employed waste collectors and other urban poor. It is an autonomous collective that provides front-end waste management services to the citizens of Pune.

 Focus: Look, Plan, Act, Reflect, Express

The focus of this field based action learning project is on learning about the operations and issues of the solid waste collection in the city. Students at college and PG level would systematically study door-to-door collection of waste and examine the behavior of waste generators in specific societies ( Prabhag) allocated to them.  Based on field data, these Student - Teams would initiate action (intervention) to improve the process of collection and disposal of dry and wet waste in the city.

Students would get exposure to real problems (social, technical, economic), real people (waste collectors, residents, PMC staff) and real organizations like  SWaCH, Bodhisattva Learning, Housing Cooperatives and PMC. They would also engage with the grass-root level reality of waste management and initiate action to persuade waste generators for better practices in waste disposal.

Learning Outcomes

Students would get the first-hand experience of preparing qualitative research--document and analyzing key problems. They would engage with various stakeholders like residents, waste collectors, local leaders, PMC officials. In simple words, the project is a unique opportunity to acquire right skills-set and attitude needed for development sectors like CSR, Education, Health, Social Justice. Specifically, skills in persuasion, negotiation, project management data analysis, and problem-solving can be developed.

Student-teams are already working with the guidance of faculty and mentors from corporate, social and education sector.  In the process, they would pick up a positive attitude and competence to engage with complex problems of a metropolis.

Benefits to students and Institutes

 Institutes of participating student teams from the fields of Management, Engineering, and Law have an opportunity to showcase their projects and students to enhance their reputation and placement prospects from potential employers.  


Future directions for Professional Education and Community work

Collection and disposal of waste in cities is a problem that needs urgent attention and engagement of all stakeholders. Educational institutions from Pune city and their students can contribute significantly to spread awareness of the problem and work on solutions to resolve it. If similar projects at the grass-root level are designed, it would improve the life and survival of the waste collectors, thus the quality of civic life in Pune would improve and benefit all sections of the society. Such projects have a potential to trigger a silent revolution that integrates civic, economic and educational objectives.