I founded ActivAid because as a social media user and an NGO volunteer/intern, I see an inherent disconnect with how our world intersects.

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  • Education

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  • No

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(805)-953-6687 5465 Calarosa Ranch Rd California: Camarillo (93012)

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Date You Started Your Project Started

July 13th, 2019

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Idea (hoping to get started in the future)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Right now there is an inherent disconnect between those who have the tools to help and those who want to help. In the rise of social media, people are exposed to inequities others face globally without any tangible way to take action. This desensitizes serious issues. And while NGOs may have amazing initiatives, they are often too understaffed + overworked to accomplish everything. ActivAid seeks to bridge the disconnect to help people in need.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

How can we connect & collectively use our resources to help others? ActivAid is a for-profit social venture that can answer this. It will take the platform of a web-app where volunteers and NGOs can connect. ActivAid will team up with different NGOs who need help launching their projects and pair them with volunteers, activists, or even ordinary social media users who are compatible with their mission. NGOs will be able to assign digital tasks to volunteers (time commitment, skills required, etc. included). Using an algorithm similar to one of online dating, a volunteer can get paired with an NGO that fits their passions, and an NGO can get paired with a volunteer who meets the skills required. Volunteers and NGOs will create "Linkedin like" profiles that convey this information. It's important to acknowledge that effective aid is proactive. To promote proactive aid, we will also partner with 3 organizations that parallel with the SDG goals that volunteers care most about. With a subscription of $20 a month, people can donate to a current project these organizations are working on. Every month they will also receive an email on the status of the project they are donating to.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

Creating movements and shifting mindsets is hard. But that's the thing about activism: it's not transactional. Your hard work won't always reap results. Oftentimes you’ll feel like you are doing so much while also nothing. That’s how I felt as the leader of my Girl Up club. But, I continued to push. I built discussions on the effectiveness of humanitarian aid, held advocacy training with my U.S. Representative, and even conducted mini stem for social good labs to talk about sustainable energy in developing countries. I became so connected to Girl Up's cause, that when I got to work with them at an HQ level as a Teen Advisor, I often created tasks for me + others to help the HQ team out. I want every person to find their own Girl Up. There’s nothing special about me; it’s just doing the work. All people should have the opportunity to work with NGOs they feel connected to as well.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

I'm stepping up to make change because I'm tired of sharing, reposting and liking photos of starving children in Yemen without doing anything to help. There's this assumption that you have to be someone to help: a politician, a lawyer, an activist, an adult. I say no. Forget the titles. ActivAid activates you. I created ActivAid so the average social media user can initiate tangible change. I hope to not only eliminate excuses of inaction but also make advocacy and volunteering accessible to all

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

When a volunteer creates an account with ActivAid, they will take an intro survey to figure out what NGOs they’re most compatible based on their passions. After the survey, they will be given a list of recommended NGOs to connect with. Then, they’ll create a "Linkedin-like" profile where they list their skills (ex: computer programming, journalist, social media expert, speaks a language etc.) and background info. The NGO will set up their "Linkedin-like" profile explaining their organization and specific (digital) initiatives for volunteers to help on. Now they can browse through an NGO's profile and request to volunteer on specific projects. "Specific projects" will vary in time commitment, the number of needed volunteers, and skills required, which is why that will all be specified on an NGOs profile page.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

ActivAid is different than other platforms because it bridges a disconnect within corporate media. It’s about using media interconnectivity for social good solutions. ActivAid will eventually be a multi-platform community where users not only connect to initiate social good initiatives, but also connect within a community to learn and re-empathize with issues on media we have become desensitized to. ActivAid will curate multi-disciplinary content that exposes others to issues, poses discussions, and uses art as a platform to elevate the voices of those we help.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

It's crucial that ActivAid is transparent with impact which is why people who subscribe to pay monthly will be given monthly updates of the progress of the specific project they either donate to or they helped with. It’s not just aimless aid; It’s important to base our decisions on evidence, careful analysis, and reason rather than guesswork or gut instinct. An NGO representative + volunteer co-lead are required to give quarterly reports on the status of projects. This is how we can track and record progress. I plan to organize data in comprehensive charts for the general public. Aside from contributing quantitative data on impact, I also want ActivAid to garner feedback from both volunteers and NGOs. In order to improve the connection between volunteers and NGOs, they will be asked a series of quick and simple questions about their experience and if they feel like they are making impact

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

As of now, I am focused on curating content for our IG page. I want to introduce ActivAid, in its rawest form, as an IG page, because social media can activate huge impact. I plan to create a photojournalist series of the people we actually help, where each like gets donated to an NGO project (ideally through corporate funding). This tackles the issue of aid while also giving agency to those we help by representing them as individuals rather than just a problem. It also creates a direct connection between social media and tangible efforts, which will encourage followers to relay their feelings into action using ActivAid. The web app will be the main platform that actually connects these users to NGOs.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Web/Mobile Development

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Other

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Word of mouth

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

Ina Bhoopalam


Join the conversation:

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I love this idea! I think this really has the potential to be very useful in involving people who want to help but feel like they don't have a platform. Some feedback -- I'm interested in how you plan to pitch to different NGOs and get them involved. I also would be interested to hear the types of remote tasks you could forsee people doing for different organizations. Other than that, love it!

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