Indian cities see varying levels of civic participation; on the one hand, a city like Bengaluru has highly engaged and impactful local residents’ groups like Whitefield Rising, on the other hand, there are cities with few active citizen groups and even fewer instances of successful initiatives.
Civic issues are many, and interlinked; these problems have multiple dimensions. Cities need engaged citizens with varied skills and experiences to be part of the public sphere to find ingenious solutions.
The curve of civic activism starts from the efforts of informal, individual or small groups. When their work gains traction, more robust civic groups form and are able to solve problems at a community level. In time, this can lead to replicable change on the ground. Some of these also inform larger executive decisions.
The ultimate goal, however, is systems change – where responsive governance, thoughtful policies and sustainable change are the norms.
A key factor is the capacity of citizens to understand, communicate, network and organise.
Our “Civic Changemakers” programme arms citizens with skills, resources and tools for collaborative change making, using citizen journalism as the means.
We are grateful to Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies for their support for this programme. As Rohini Nilekani explains in this Forbes article, RNP’s philanthropy at the grassroots involves supporting people trying to solve problems in their own contexts.
As part of this programme, Oorvani Foundation is committed to publishing citizen journalism, to center the citizen voice in public discourse, as well as organise capacity building sessions to develop civic communicators, to better understand issues and develop skills and techniques for knowledge gathering, analysis, open and collaborative engagement and outreach.
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