Reap Benefit Updates Thread

1) Overall updates (since the last update)
Hello everyone!
Reap Benefit is back with another round of updates. In 2023, we signed 2 new MoUs with state governments, and began work with a total of 5 governments, impacting 2 million youth and adolescents, engaged 1296 community members in climate and civic action in their communities, supported ~100 budding social entrepreneurs through the Solve Ninja Leadership Accelerator, and built Samaaja - a free and open source web application for rapidly building and deploying location based citizen engagement services. Read on to know more!

2) Progress on the goals listed while on-boarding

1. Enable adolescents and youth to build a movement of environment conscious leaders

1.1 Identify and support 150 youth from 15-20 different geographies with demonstrated interest in building sustainable communities through our SNLA program

Solve Ninja Leadership Accelerator: Enterprising youth (between 18-24 years of age) who either have a deep interest or a demonstrated history of engaging in climate and civic public problem solving are taken on an immersive, hands-on leadership program to help them scale or provide depth to their innovations.

As part of a three year MoU with the University of Mysore, we ran the Solve Ninja Leadership Accelerator in 2023, which activated 103 Solve Ninjas and birthed 3 initiatives ready to be registered as NGO/Trust/Organisation. They have all collectively impacted 10,000+ people, built a base of 50+ volunteers and tackled 16 problem statements.

Details about a few cohort participants:

  1. To increase reading culture and save rural libraries, 5 Solve Ninjas designed workshop/event modules like Storytelling training, Quiz competitions in schools and communities. The mechanism was tracked through Whatsapp mapping and tracking.
  2. Eighth graders of RFI Rainbow Home understood the harmful impacts of waste ending up in the landfills. They conducted a waste segregation campaign in their school to spread awareness on the need to segregate waste from the starting point of the waste chain - our homes.

Solve Ninja Leadership Utsav: Our attempts to build collectives around climate and civic action, brought 35 civic leaders from 15 states across the country together in a 2 day gathering in Bangalore. The civic leaders are working on a range of problems from climate change to unauthorised waste dumping to youth leadership in governance to unsustainable farming methods. With spaces for interactions, learning and mentoring, the Solve Ninja Utsav got an NPS rating of 92 from the civic leaders - 95% said they were inspired by their fellows and 80% felt celebrated and included for their efforts and their presence. For taking out the time and providing a fresh new zeal to the civic leaders’ climate and civic problem solving journeys, we are incredibly grateful to mentors from the CSO ecosystem Sachin Malhan, Dev Tayde, Rishabh Lalani, Sahana Jose, Divya Naryanan. The Utsav may be over, but the celebration of their journeys are still on.

1.2 Organize events like Solvathon, Climate Olympiad

Karnataka Changemakers League: The Reap Benefit team conducted the Karnataka Changemakers League with 834 participants investing in problem solving through gamified challenges across 35 schools. The championship was held at the school, zonal and city level. Through the course of the event, students were divided into 189 teams and were provided with regular mentoring.

As select teams progressed, they solved 122 of 144 problems at the school level, 56 of 59 problems in their zone, and all 20 problems on the city level. The occasion allowed us to take Whatsapp registrations for regular community engagement in the future as well. 67.2% of these registrations were females, while 32.4% were males. Stakeholders gave an NPS of 89% with a 9.58 likelihood of recommending it further.

1.3 Create 22 playbooks with behaviour nudges on themes around environment and climate change

After the successful creation of 38 playbooks last year, we have elevated to create case studies of actions structured on the design thinking principles of DISS- Discover, Investigate, Solve and Share - these have been used across our programs and with a few partners to aid in climate and civic action. Some of our current case studies revolve around the following actions:

  • 30 citizens gave a park in Delhi’s Dakshinpuri a complete makeover by planting 100 saplings and removing 300 kg of garbage.
  • Since May 2023, we have mobilised 24,000 teenagers in Assam to become water ambassadors or Jal Doots to work on the cause of safe drinking water.
  • In 2021, the Education Department of the Delhi Government wanted to inculcate this spirit of active citizenship among students and introduced the Deshbhakti curriculum to be rolled out to 1.8 million students across Grades 1-12. In 2022 they reached out to Reap Benefit to help make the Deshbhakti curriculum more practical by activities. By 2023, we integrated “learning by doing” into the Deshbhakti curriculum and added hands-on problem solving activities like creating awareness about waste segregation, appreciating ‘real life’ deshbhakts around them and using resources judiciously.

1.4 Mobilize and engage 3000 adolescents and youth through the technology platforms: Done

Engaged 120 communities across 14 states

Reach out to 10 ecosystem partners and partner with at least 2: Done

Organise and invite partners for once a year knowledge sharing event: Created Solve Box with Eastern Himalayan Foundation

Strengthen Reap Benefit technology capacities to reach citizens and communities across different geographies, enable collaboration and informed decision making on climate change mitigation : We have not built a DIY marketplace, but have strengthened the chatbot and built Samaaja

1.5 Strengthen communities of adolescents and youth across different regions on environment and climate change mitigation themes like solutions, policy, technology, training etc

An integral step of Reap Benefit’s work to scale is to sow the seeds of community building. Youth need to become integrated and active, and keep taking sustained actions to improve their neighbourhoods. This can best happen when a set of like-minded people organise themselves with that common purpose and have the sufficient access to knowledge, skills and tools to make a difference in their neighbourhoods. In an effort to ignite this movement, we steered community action through various events such as Learning Adda, Mysore SNLA Culmination and Learning by Doing.

As part of our Direct Programs, we engaged 830 Solve Ninjas who created 588 actions through 11 bootcamp sessions. We also conducted 11 programs such as internships, One day Engagements, Behaviour Change Bootcamp and more at the organisational level, with 13 community registrations and 71 chatbot registrations along with 598 actions taken by Ninjas.

2. Strengthen the ecosystem to build environmental consciousness

By 2023, we have signed an MoU with 5 state governments - with a potential of impacting 4.5 million youth by 2025.

Systemic Impact

  1. Jaldoot Program in partnership with Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) and India Natural Resource Economics & Management (INREM) Foundation in Assam.
    Although Assam has abundant water resources, it faces an acute shortage of safe drinking water. One of the major issues being presence of chemicals like Arsenic and Fluoride. In addition, most of the rural households do not have access to bacteria-free water. This is exacerbated by the floods which further increase scarcity of clean drinking water.
    The Jal Doot Initiative is a groundbreaking effort by the Jal Jeevan Mission, Assam in collaboration with Reap Benefit and INREM to create a youth network of changemakers who take micro actions to influence community behaviour towards positive change.
    With more than 25000 youth activated throughout 35 districts this one of its kind initiative showcases collaborative effort, innovative engagement through Reap Benefit’s technology platform and community impact.
    These “Jal Doots” have taken 17000 problem solving actions like reporting functionality of water treatment plants, mapping flood prone areas, auditing sanitation at schools and campaigning for better water usage and conservation at their villages .
    More than 2000+ data points related to flood mapping, water treatment plant surveys, sanitation audits in schools have been crowdsourced on the Samaajdata digital portal by these Jal Doots across Assam.
    Reap Benefit has leveraged the power of Samaaja, its open tech platform to engage, motivate, upskill and incentivise Jal Doots. More than 1000 Jal Doots have created their digital skill portfolio called the Changemaker Profiles and are tracking their leadership journey.
    700+ Jal Doots are now self organised into a network of *local Solve Squads who are solving local issues beyond water with mentoring and support from Reap Benefit creating climare resilient communities on ground which are active and skilled.

This initiative has been recognised and lauded at the State and National level. The power of a small action taken by a Jal Doot has catapulted this effort into a National Policy adopted and mandated across all schools in India by the Central Education Ministry of India.

  1. Swachata Saanjh in partnership with Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company (PMIDC).
  2. Paryavaran Mitra with Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi (DDCD) - Reap Benefit created the first citizen platform for citizens of Delhi to interact with the government to give feedback on policy, take local climate actions, participate in events and become a Paryavaran Mitra. We received 11000 missed calls from citizens expressing interest and 9000 citizens registered as Paryavaran Mitras.
  3. Entrepreneurship Mindset Development Program with Andhra Pradesh State Council of Educational Research and Training (APSCERT), Udhyam and Aflatoun.
  4. Deshbakti with the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) Delhi - we are implementing our action based curriculum in 1000 schools of Delhi impacting 1.8 million students. We will also be piloting our chatbot to engage these youth for a longer journey into climate action and identify climate changemakers at a neighbourhood level.

We are collaborating with non-profits and governments alike to integrate:

  1. Climate Action Pedagogy through action-oriented playbooks and engagements
  2. Our technology Platform to enable access to knowledge, mentors, peers, local data and nudges

3. Strengthen RB technology capacities to each citizens and communities across different geographies, enable collaboration and informed decision making on climate change mitigation

Reap Benefit has Samaaja (Society) - a free and open source web application for rapidly building and deploying location based citizen engagement services. Built on top of the Frappe framework, it bundles geo-maps support, user authentication and profiles, location based report management and collation and a lot more, complete with APIs and webhooks for external integrations, admin and end user UIs and management dashboards.

Enhancing access to local data, nudges, knowledge, mentor and peer support, Samaaja is going to be an ecosystem game changer. Building the Solve Ninja Platform as an instance on Samaaja, we have been able to build SamaajData - a map visualisation of crowd-sourced data about civic and environmental issues at hyperlocal level that are verified by local citizens. So far, we have close to 560,000 data points on the platform which covers various issues ranging from tree mapping to urban flooding to stubble burning. We’re building a collective of organisations to contribute to SamaajData and pave the way for community empowerment and environmental stewardship. Our partner INREM from JJM has joined the collective and contributed towards SamaajData, making it more robust. Together this collective aims to:

Amplify Impact: Your support will help scale our operations, expand our reach, and enhance our technological capabilities.

Drive Innovation: Collaborate with us in developing cutting-edge solutions and features that make data more accessible and actionable.

Build Sustainable Communities: Join our mission to turn data into a public good that drives societal well-being and environmental preservation.

While our technology journey started with an app, the platform now consists of a WhatsApp based chatbot, Samaaj Data, Changemaker Portfolio, Leaderboard and Forum. The platform has grown from strength to strength and is currently supporting 121,018 youth across 21 states with an engagement rate of ~30%. Already, two state governments have adopted Samaaja, while the AP and Delhi governments are piloting it and over 30 organisations are in talks for the same.

We have also been able to share and multiply our work via active involvement of the ecosystem through Solve Box. Solve Box is an initiative where we invite people from the ecosystem, share our insights and learnings. It serves as an innovation huddle, facilitating hands-on experience on various topics derived from our work.

A participant from our first Solve Box is now collaborating with the Glific team to explore the potential of chatbot-based technology in mobilisation and engagement. Additionally, with the Eastern Himalaya Foundation, we are extending our Changemaker Fund and chatbot-based tech platform ideas to their context, aiding them in piloting these concepts and creating Changemaker Portfolios for their Fellows.

Moving forward, we envision SolveBox to become a radical way of fostering partnerships and collaboration within the ecosystem. Our belief that actions lead to agency and change is applicable not just with youth but in fostering partnerships as well and we hope this space propagates it!

4. Support product and process experiments and innovations

For the chatbot to be a true running mate for citizens in civic and climate problem solving, we realised the answer lied in leveraging behaviour science to understand social norms. It is more than getting a grip on usage and behaviour; it is about understanding the cultural, gender or temporal norms citizens ascribe or aspire to.

Over the last two years Reap Benefit has been using a WhatsApp based chatbot (powered by Glific to nudge young people and citizens towards a vision of becoming changemakers in their communities. Focusing on relevance, value, urgency, emotion, user control, social influence and scarcity, 37,000 new youth joined the Solve Ninja Movement and ~30K were engaged in climate and civic action in the communities last year.

Since our last update, we have engaged Ooloi Labs with 2 of the chatbot solutions to increase their engagement and retention of the youth on the bot. The partnership was to support the improvement of content writing keeping the ‘youth’ in mind and improving the engagement of the chatbots Ooloi Labs’ Learning Experience team has worked on developing different kinds of content with a learner-centred approach. We have worked with the creation of high-fidelity learning material for adolescents, in the form of a game [LINK], self-paced learning material [LINK], or working on conversational interfaces with a chatbot as a medium of delivery with Quest Alliance and TAP. We have worked with organisations such as Arghyam, Quest Alliance, The Nature Conservancy India, Video Volunteers, FMCH and others. It is supporting the content design of the Assam Jaldoot Program chatbot as the program scales.

3) Any challenges

  1. While Reap Benefit’s model is profoundly impactful, we recognize the challenges in scaling individual initiatives to create systemic change. Bridging grassroots actions with national policy-level transformation requires forging deeper collaborations with governmental and institutional bodies. This enhanced cooperation is vital for translating localised actions into broader, sustainable reforms, particularly in addressing the escalating climate challenges.

  2. As our platform’s user base expands, maintaining the technical robustness of our infrastructure is paramount. We are dedicated to continuously enhancing our digital capabilities to support increased traffic and facilitate sophisticated data analytics. This ensures a seamless, intuitive experience for our users, crucial for sustaining engagement and fostering meaningful civic actions in regions highly vulnerable to climate-induced challenges.

  3. Moreover, reaching a more diverse demographic spectrum, particularly in rural areas and among girls, remains a pressing challenge. Despite significant strides in youth participation, intensifying our efforts to diversify our reach is crucial. Strengthening our outreach and support mechanisms and tailoring our approach to meet the unique needs of these groups is essential. This inclusive approach aligns with our mission to foster a robust, participatory civic culture capable of addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by climate change.

4) Any new avenues of collaboration (with other Grantees of RCF or other NPO/NGO)

We at Reap Benefit are always looking for technology partners, implementation partners, and knowledge partners.

  • For knowledge, partners collaborate in knowledge sharing of toolkits, playbooks, processes which can enhance either an existing curriculum or create a new curriculum. Eg. We have successfully integrated action based projects in the Entrepreneurship Mindset curriculum in AP in collaboration with Udhyam and Aflatoun, are in talks with Avanti Fellows for a collaboration in Haryana, and also offer the creation of a more action-oriented and offer projects such as the Solve Box.
  • For implementation, if an organisation has youth but wants us to build and execute boot camps, we deliver on ground experiences through mentoring of ninjas or creation and engagement of communities. For government partnerships, we offer thematic strength and knowledge support while they take charge of implementation. Reap Benefit will create the engagement plan for youth volunteers including strategy and designing of activities, initiatives, volunteering journeys, identification of channels to get volunteers, offline and online engagement in a calendared format. The perfect example for this collaboration was the JalDoot Programme as a part of Jal Jeevan Mission in Assam, which was implemented in collaboration with the government and INREM.
  • For Technology partners come in as we build Samaaj Data Collective and Samajaa, our free open source tool. We can offer training in the tools for effective use, or integrate you in the collective for community changemaking. Conversely, leveraging Reap Benefit’s content tools like the playbooks of projects, activities and campaigns and tech tools like the chatbot, forum, Leaderboard, User Profiles and dashboard to create a simple searchable database and a volunteer management system will help the government manage initiatives effectively. These nudges relate to inducing (consistent engagement, motivation, encouragement to introspect) and rewarding (appreciation) Ninja actions. The process of nudging is further buttressed by use of the WhatsApp chatbot, and other technological tools.
  1. Highlights from the initiatives being undertaken as part of your organization
    2023 MIT Solve Winner
    NPS score of 55
    Jal Doot Initiative is a National Policy mandated across all schools in India by the Ministry of Education, Central Government of India.

6) Outcomes you are chasing for the next 6 months (these can remain the same if unchanged since the last update)
Remain the same
7) KPIs (please use this section to let us know of the impact and reach of your work since the last update)

  1. Directly activated 1 million youth and Adolescents
  2. 35000+ youth and adolescents are on our tech platform
  3. Our engagement rate is 25-30% which is high for the industry
  4. 35000+ ninjas are taking problem solving actions across 14 states

8) Can Rainmatter be of help with anything at all
-Data visualizers & data storytellers that can help tell Ninja stories more meaningfully
-Connect us with organizations that have public data and are interested in sharing it
-Mentoring support for a few participants from the Solve Ninja Leadership Accelerator that are working on building rural economies
9) Any additional details you would like to provide
10) Please also share any images or videos that you have documented as part of your work
Here is a small glimpse of the impact of a Jal Doot.
Jal Doot Mission -