Social Impact: FORCE – Jyoti Sharma, PGP 92

FORCE (Forum for Organised Resource Conservation and Enhancement) is a Non Profit organization that has been actively working for the cause of Water Conservation. Jyoti Sharma, founded FORCE , in 2004 with a belief that water security is essential for the community and through awareness the problem of Water Scarcity can be solved. Jyoti has been invited to speak on the esteemed TEDMED platform on her views on water scarcity and social well being.

We reached out to Jyoti to get her insight on Water Conservation and her journey so far.

What inspired you to leave your corporate job and start FORCE

I guess it was always simmering somewhere in me. Two incidents have stayed on in my mind like a film. The first incident was when I was at the fag end of the two-year break I took for my second child. I had become a member of our Residents Welfare Association. We had a perennial water crisis in our area and so everyone’s nerves were always on edge. I remember standing near a locked gate in the colony’s boundary wall on a particular conflict-ridden day. And wanting to break out of the blame games we all seemed to be playing. I decided that day that I would just focus on doing the best I could for whatever I felt for and not waste time blaming others for not doing enough.  The second was when I was flipping through a report on Water. The essence of the report was that Water was the biggest problem the world faces today but also one of the most solvable. That thought fascinated me – the sheer doability of Water Security.

How is FORCE helping in the water conservation movement? 

FORCE simply works for Water Security without worrying too much about how big or small the work is. And so, we are probably one of those rare non-profits that contribute to the cause across the spectrum – from awareness programs to design, construction and policymaking. We have started and supported rainwater harvesting, revived water bodies, provided safe water & sanitation to the marginalized and prevented pollution to water sources in many parts of the country. We have started the first institute in the country dedicated to Water Efficient yet profitable agriculture. We have recently launched the FORCE Water Efficiency label to enable rewards for those agriculture and non-agriculture producers/consumers who use water efficiently. FORCE has also contributed to many different platforms towards Water Policy at the state and central government level. We have also made theoretical constructs for Effective Social Change and Social Entrepreneurship based on our field experiences.

How can individuals or organizations help in conserving water?

The easiest would be to work on the FORCE 5R’s Mantra of Water Conservation – ‘R’educe Wastage; ‘R’euse used water at least once before throwing it away; ‘R’ echarge to groundwater; ‘R’ecycle Waste Water and last but not the least ‘R’ESPECT water.

Any specific insightful moments in your journey?

Loads. Big learning experience – transformed me as a person.

What will the essence of your message, from the global platform of TEDMED?

The first, prosaic, message – We are running out of time – the biggest impact of climate change will be in terms of Water. We need to adopt appropriate technologies, traditional water wisdom and collaborative working to handle the unfolding water crisis. The second, a philosophy – Borrowing from Bruce Lee – ‘Be Water, my friend, Be Water’. Water is unstoppable. It has the tenacity, patience, and adaptability to always find a way to overcome any obstacles in its way. Rather than show itself, it highlights others. It does not fear losing its identity (shape), having to reinvent itself in this quest. Make Water your Guru.

Any suggestions or advice for younger alums for taking up roles in non-profit organizations?

First – congratulations on having chosen well! With your IIMB brains and training, you can do wonders! Work with positivity for solutions for all instead of wasting time finding faults in others. Respect the sentiment that makes a donor give money for a charitable cause – do justice to that donation by using it to maximize impact for those who need it most. The guiding philosophy of a Non-profit is to serve humanity – and we should never forget that. Innovation and socially responsible entrepreneurship are most needed in this sector.

How can IIMB alum family contribute to the cause?

1) Volunteer time for the million things a non-profit wants/needs to do but cannot find the resources/time to do.

2) Celebrate the choice of a non-profit career

3) Donations & Share CSR opportunities

4) Mentorship and support especially for scaling up

5) Start a ‘Bottom-up innovation fund for grassroots innovators

6) Be a socially responsible businessperson.

We thank Jyoti, for the admirable work that she has been doing and sharing her views with us. I am sure the alum family will join hands with you in this movement – SAVE WATER, SHARE WATER.

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