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Inspiring Change: Highlights from the India Civic Summit 2024

The recent India Civic Summit brought together 150+ active citizens, changemakers, and community leaders for a day-long event aimed at fostering dialogue, sharing inspiring stories, and strategising solutions for urban challenges. Held at the Institution of Agricultural Technologists, the summit featured diverse sessions and discussions on topics ranging from grassroots initiatives to institutional change and youth engagement.

The summit kicked off with insightful reflections from P Manivannan, Principal Secretary of the Social Welfare Department, and Priya Ramasubban, an international filmmaker. Manivannan emphasized the importance of transparency, collaboration, and balanced governance in addressing urban challenges, urging citizens to engage with the government for effective change. Priya highlighted the power of effective communication, community collaboration, and embracing diversity to drive meaningful change.

Changemakers and Community Initiatives

One of the highlights of the summit was the session featuring grassroots leaders who shared inspiring stories of community-driven initiatives. From Vyasai Thozhargal’s efforts to educate marginalized children in Chennai to Chalo Chanakya’s movement to protect Navi Mumbai’s wetlands, the session showcased the power of citizen activism in addressing local issues. Other initiatives like Citizens of Sankey, Koota@Cubbon, and Whitefield Rising demonstrated innovative approaches to community engagement and problem-solving.

Panelists discussed the challenges and opportunities in institutionalizing change within the governance framework. Asiya Khan shared her experiences in protecting trees along highways, while Raghavendra HS highlighted the importance of sustaining ward committees for decentralized governance. Anjali Karol Mohan emphasized the need for collaboration among stakeholders, and Srikanth Narasimhan discussed the role of citizen engagement in governance.

Panelists on stage
Best Practices Panel: Building strong community foundations – engaging youth and volunteers

Focus on the future

A panel of young leaders showcased innovative approaches to community engagement and activism. From addressing water scarcity to promoting public reading initiatives like Cubbon Reads, the panelists highlighted the importance of inclusivity, grassroots collaboration, and youth empowerment in driving social change.

In parallel. Ajay Raghavan and Jai Warrier led a masterclass on addressing civic issues and climate change, emphasizing the importance of community-driven solutions, localized approaches, and coordinated civic engagement.

Participants at the workshop
After the discussion: Is there burnout in civic activism?

A safe space for the civic crowd

Participants engaged in a lively discussion on burnout in civic activism, motivations for engagement, barriers to participation, and strategies for scaling operations. The discussion underscored the need for inclusivity, collaboration, and sustained civic action in driving meaningful change.

The event culminated with CM Spotlight, a presentation on some of the most impactful initiatives from across India’s cities and Vani Murthy, sustainability evangelist and V Sudhakar, co-founder of Big Basket reflecting on their experiences in the civic space.

India Civic Summit | CM Spotlight

Till next year!

Oorvani Team
Oorvani Team

The India Civic Summit served as a platform for meaningful dialogue, collaboration, and action towards building more sustainable and resilient communities. Through inspiring stories, insightful discussions, and practical workshops, participants left the summit empowered to drive positive change in their cities and communities. As we reflect on the summit’s highlights, we are reminded of the power of citizen-led initiatives in shaping the future of our cities.