The Handprint was launched by Centre for Environment Education (CEE) in 2007 at UNESCO's 4th International Conference on Environmental Education held at Ahmedabad, India.
The concept emerged from one of the CEE's Programmes - Environmental Education in Schools of Andhra Pradesh (EESAP 2000 to 2008). The programme, implemented in 1500 schools, engaged students in small action projects in and around schools, and involving communities.
'Increasing your Handprint' was selected as a resource by UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD, 2005-2014) in August 2009. A set of 12 Handprint Resource books have been developed in South Africa by Rhodes University Environmental Education and Sustainability Unit.
'Handprint: Positive Action towards Biodiversity Conservation' was also exhibited at a Side Event held at CEPA Fair CBD COP 11, October 10, 2012.
Handprint was also presented at Intergovernmental Conference Tbilisi 35, 2012 to "Further promote good practices…. including through building on the 'handprint' concept which encourages tangible positive ESD actions."
Handprint reached another landmark when 'Handprint: action towards sustainability, India' was selected as one of the 25 successful ESD projects from around the world by UNESCO. The project was exhibited in the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development at Aichi-Nagoya, Japan, 10-12 November 2014. Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD), 2005-2014 also recognized Handprint as a measure of ESD action; action that is directed to decrease the human footprint and make the world more sustainable. Handprint represents the belief that we can make a difference through individual and collective actions to solve the environmental problems.
The Handprint in India as Paryavaran Mitra programme is also mentioned as a Good Practice by UNESCO in its publication ESD: Building a Better, Fairer World for the 21st Century.