Janaagraha was co-founded by Swati and Ramesh Ramanathan in 2001, who returned back to India from the United States with a dream to improve urban living. This organization focuses on pan-India campaigns encouraging Indians to implement social changes in their local urban communities by enabling citizen participation in public governance. Janaagraha’s web-based and physical campaigns target youths and everyday people to make necessary changes, rather than accept many institutional realities, like corruption. Today, Janaagraha has grown into one of the leading institutions for systematic urban change in India.
IDRF Partner Since: 2012
Focus Area: Good Governance
Location: Urban India
Project Title(s): I Paid A Bribe, I Change My City, Bala Janaagraha, imatter and Community Policing
Janaagraha works to improve quality of life in India’s cities and towns through urban good governance and citizen empowerment. The have been striving to find permanent, scalable solutions to urban challenges through a structured roadmap of action, that they call their “City-System Framework”. IDRF started their association with Janaagraha by launching two campaigns: I Paid A Bribe and I Change My City
I Paid A Bribe: became a very popular pan-India campaign that encouraged Indians to engage in a dialogue regarding their everyday and institutional experiences with corruption in India. Janaagraha’s I Paid A Bribe campaign is largely web-based and focuses on educating the public on ways to move beyond corruption as a form of interaction, commerce, etc. This campaign became so popular that, NGOs and government agencies from at least 17 countries had contacted Janaagraha to ask about obtaining the source code and setting up a site of their own.
I Change My City: is another web-based governance campaign that gives locals an opportunity to file grievances regarding institutional failures that have impacted their daily lives. This campaign provides advocacy and training resources to empower several local communities and has led to greater governmental transparency on both the local and national levels.
IDRF is continuing its mission of good-governance with Janaagraha to improve quality of life in urban centers through citizen empowerment. The success of this mission requires a multilevel approach that brings together school children, corporate employees and heads of urban local bodies by launching the following campaigns under civil learning and civil participation:
Bala Janaagraha: is a civic learning program that aims to transform today’s children into informed, responsible and active citizens that focus on addressing local civic issues. The program covered over 40,000 eighth grade students across 527 schools in 25 cities of India.
Imatter: is an innovative civic learning intervention for corporate employees. It intends to increase citizen participation in local governance through civic awareness. This program has reached 114 employees from 9 corporates and has received widespread support and recognition.
Community policing: a civil participation campaign, was launched in 2013 by the Bengaluru City Police in partnership with Janaagraha to enhance neighborhood safety and security perceptions through police-public partnership. This program has reached 236,882 citizens through various platforms of citizen interfacing with the police, like awareness programs and activity campaigns.
Janagraaha has been approached by NITI Aayog,* the think tank of the Government of India to seek their help and support in drafting the ‘15 year Urban Vision Document’, that will be accompanied by a ‘7 year Strategy’ and a ‘3 year Action Plan’. I Change My City – the world’s largest online hyper local civic change platform was approached by the Swachh Bharat Mission, Ministry of Urban Development to launch “Swachhata Solutions” a 4th Generation Complaint Redressal mobile platform, to fulfil the key Swacch Bharat Mission objectives of a Clean India. The MOU with the Mission mandated Janaagraha to develop, host and maintain Swachhata Apps in 4,041Cities and Towns across India. Swachhata App was launched in August, 2016 and in a span of 10 months able to have on board 1,405 cities, with one million plus registered users, and, more than 6 million complaints.
*NITI Aayog (National Institute for Transforming India) Government of India. http://niti.gov.in/
Please click on the links to learn more about Janaagraha’s various campaigns launched in pan-India.