[ To Express, To Reflect, To Give Back ]

Channel 19 – a Stern venture

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

If you have been my regular reader, you know my interests in using film for social change. I pointed out at Echoing Green yesterday, and now I like to drag your attention to Channel 19, a community production program (also available online) that produces ‘Video News Magazines” to drive social change. Channel 19 provides a voice for the common people, when mass media can’t/won’t. Currently, Channel 19 is operating from India through six Community Video Units (CVUS), but I see the concept just as good for any country or society that needs a social voice through media!

An obvious next question (that my wife asked when we first talked about it) is how does the videos reach the “mass”. This is indeed a challenge to not only meet the supply side of it, but also the demand side of community videos (who wants to watch community media in India, when the Zee, Sony and Sun TVs flooding the mass with “drooling” reality shows and Saas-Bahu c(rap)onspiracies?) While Ch19.org also hosts all the videos online, the primary distribution is through screening the videos on a regular basis in the slums and villages, creating awareness across the affected society. It may not reach the “mass” but it reaches the locals and perhaps, will reach the district and state next and eventually the mass media. The videos not only highlight a social issue but also present solutions to issues these communities want to or should take action on. It is a tall order to make a meaningful impact, but absolutely a start. So I wholeheartedly support them!

Another thing I am proud of Channel 19 is, it is a Video Volunteers product. And Video Volunteers is a NYU Stern 2007 business plan competition winner!

Echoing Green

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

I was back at NYU Stern campus last night after almost 3 months. For the first time, I was visiting as an “Alumni”. Ah! just to say it feels nostalgic. I met a few of my classmates and a bunch of Alumni and almost all the 08 graduates were just excited that we are done with it! but still figuring what next to do…

In my chats with another alumni, I heard about “Echoing Green“, an organization that selects and funds social entrepreneurs targeting social issues around the world. I am writing about it now because I took up social entrepreneurship as one of my specializations in business school and took up a very eye-opening course with Billy Shore and Sarah K. Chiles. It was an excellent exposure, especially to Bill and his thought process. He is the visionary behind the non-profit “Share Our Strength” and the author of “The Cathedral Within”. Apparently, Echoing Green supported Billy Shore and Share Our Strength in its early development, through another grant program.

The 2008 fellows of “Echoing Green” sounds like a promising list and at least one of them matches with one of my core desires to make a difference. I will be reaching out to them soon to help in any way I can. If you like any of the ideas, You shoud too!

As an end note, this quote from Echoing Green website grabbed my attention and is worth mentioning here.

“…it is important to realize that the world does not depend on you. It will go on its own way, and you shouldn’t expect anyone to be thankful for the work you’re doing. If you decide to do something, it is because you want to do it, and nothing more” – as mentioned by Rahul Panicker here.

Aspen Ideas Festival

Monday, August 4th, 2008

“Imagine some of the most inspired and provocative thinkers, writers, artists, business people, teachers, and other leaders drawn from myriad fields and from across the country and around the world – all gathered in a single place, ready to teach, speak, lead, question and answer – all interacting with an audience of thoughtful people who have stepped back from their day-to-day routines to delve deeply into a world of ideas, thought and discussion”

Thats a blurb from Aspen ideas festival, hosted by the Aspen Institute. They bring the likes of Bill Clinton, Thomas Friedman and host of other leading thinkers to share their perspectives in a serene Aspen mountain side.

A week of thought-provoking, meaningful and fun conversations – all available online for folks who couldn’t be there in Aspen.