Social problems are deep rooted and sticky. Understanding them, galvanizing support to solve them and resolving them at a systemic level, all take time. Read about What are the Multiple Crises that BRM is responding to?
For example, at the Blue Ribbon Movement, while working with civic issues, we realised that only filing civic complaints with the municipal corporation will not be enough. We need citizens to ‘own’ their problems. Hence, we moved the narrative to active citizenship. While individual complaints add up, we also went on to share our feedback with the Municipal Corporation, i.e. the BMC in Mumbai.
Yet, this isn’t enough unless there are communities that collectively own the issues they are facing. Hence, the CCF Fellow now goes and engages with the community, paying attention to the “how” as much as the “what” of civic change.
Similarly, the young people who join us for the six month fellowship do experience a change. And, this is only the start of their journey. Over time, they need hand holding as they understand social change and create meaningful livelihoods.
Hence, we came up with Social Artivism, a journey that has enabled the alumni to actively run parts of the movement, making it truly a people oriented movement.
Why promote people-funded civic change?
We believe that civic action should be owned and supported primarily by citizens. While foundations and high net worth individuals can support specific projects, the overall running of the movement is meant to be with funds from the citizens who benefit from the work of the movement.
People funded civic action lets us be free to inquire and course correct while being accountable locally. Rather than only send reports and visits, we actively involve our donors into learning and co-creating the change we are envisioning.
You are supporting a movement that intends to draw its strength from conscious citizens like you!
How will this solve the multiple crisis you mention?
Our events bring communities together – these gatherings nourish connections between people. Our fellows also go and engage with communities with the intent to build ownership of their own problems. These build the ‘soft infrastructure’ required for problem solving.
“Systemic change comes through healthy relationships between citizens and government.”
The fellows who are on these journeys continue to deepen their self awareness, understanding and capacity to act. The individual transformation from a complaining cynical young person to someone proactively taking action is a must for social engagement.
Finally, systemic change comes through healthy relationships between citizens and government. Giving feedback to the administration, reclaiming public spaces and actively solving on-ground problems, all of them together move us towards the city that we all dream of.
Our programs are able to do these simultaneously and are born from a process of full consent. This “how” also deepens the quality of engagement with these issues over time.
Why support youth leadership?
While supporting specific issues is a one time expense that creates a change, youth leadership is a long term investment that pays off over a lifetime.
BRM’s alumni has stayed back to anchor the movement. We have been able to channelize volunteer energy for management decision making. Already in their 20s, our alumni has gone ahead to join other social sector organizations, started initiatives and taken places of responsibility in BRM itself.
Youth as the driving force of social change is a part of our vision. To enable this, we have to invest in young people beyond what traditional education teaches them. While college prepares youth for employment, we prepare them to be life long active citizens.
And this marathon of social change is nothing but the journey of young leaders’ long term commitment to something beyond themselves.
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