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YES! i am the CHANGE
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YES! i am the CHANGE (YIAC) is a mindset transformation program inculcating the value of responsible citizenship amongst youth through the impactful medium of films.
Participants of the 101-Hour Social Filmmaking Challenge make 3-minute films on social causes primarily Sustainable Development Goals which form an open repository of invaluable communication resources for the use of Non-Profits.
With participation of over half a million youth across 2500 cities pan-India, YIAC emerged as the World’s Largest Social Film Movement in 2015.
This year, YIAC received an unprecedented response with 1.3 million participants and over 29,500 films.
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YES FOUNDATION is the social development arm of YES BANK, India’s fifth largest private sector bank. The Foundation firmly believes in the power of media as a positive force of social transformation thereby catalysing India’s inclusive development. Non-Profits, especially those working at the grassroots are hampered in their ability to create impact and scale due to limited access to modern communication materials and volunteers. The Foundation also identified the tremendous potential for social transformation if the youth of India are engaged positively in nation building activities.
YES FOUNDATION decided to leverage the amplifying nature of media in a journey of ensuring development for all. In 2013, YES FOUNDATION launched its flagship program, YES! i am the CHANGE, which serves as a platform to facilitate a connection between youth and social causes, connecting their untapped energy to voices less heard through the impactful medium of films.
The main objectives of the program are:
- Inner transformation of the youth through exposure to social causes resulting in engagement for inclusive social development
- Facilitate creation of high quality, communication resources for use of Non-Profits
- Inspire filmmakers to make films for social change
Below is an outline of the design and implementation of the program, including phases and key activities:
Phase 1: Widespread outreach to sensitise youth
- Judicious combination of high impact on-ground events, digital outreach and strategic partnerships to sensitise youth and maximise participation
- Engagement through workshops, social film festivals, film screenings etc in over 3,805 schools and colleges across India to ensure maximum outreach to youth and promote responsible youth citizenship
- High profile Panel Discussion series, Twitter chats with the eminent YIAC jury of YES! i am the CHANGE furthering the dialogue on media for social change. #YESiamtheCHANGE was most discussed topic on Twitter India on July 20, 2016 with over 52,000 re-tweets/shares
Phase 2: Filmmaking Challenge
- To ensure inclusion of youth from all walks of life, multiple categories of participation instituted:
- Student: For students above 13 years of age
- Non-Profit: For Non-Profit professionals and volunteers
- Corporate: For corporate professionals
- Open: For all individuals
- The participants register online and are then actively engaged through on-ground events and social media. Filmmaking content and tutorials are also provided.
- Participants at 6 a.m. on the day of the challenge, get a surprise topic on a pertinent social cause and have the next 101 hours to conceptualise, shoot, edit and upload 3-minute short films
Phase 3: Post filmmaking Challenge: Dissemination of YIAC Films for Social Awareness
- Films made as part of YES! i am the CHANGE form an open repository of invaluable communication resources for the use of Non-Profits
- The films are then adjudged by an eminent jury panel of experts from corporates, academia, film & media industry and the development sector and then winners felicitated at a grand awards ceremony in Mumbai
- The social films are screened at platforms like social film festivals, youth conferences, literature festivals, workshops and screenings nationally and internationally to raise awareness and sensitise individuals, especially youth
- Workshops and film screening on responsible consumption of media and sensitivity to gender and environment conducted in schools and colleges
- Communication workshops are conducted for Non-Profit professionals by expert filmmakers and include tips on making zero budget social impact films and using them for advocacy, resource mobilisation and volunteer mobilisation
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Through first-hand experience of social issues and experiential learning, youth are sensitised and empowered to take social action.
Post the Filmmaking Challenges, many youth participants started volunteering with Non-Profits or harnessing the power of media to further social causes. The Foundation instituted the CHANGEMAKER Awards which honours and provides grant and mentoring support to the projects of past participants of YIAC who have gone beyond filmmaking, developed innovative solutions and consistently contributed towards social causes.
Stories of impact:
- For instance, Kuljeet Chaudhary, a software professional from Delhi and a CHANGEMAKER awardee was inspired to work on the cause of rescue and rehabilitation of animals in distress after he made a film on this issue, as part of YIAC 2014. He started an online group, Samarpan Troops where people could report animal casualties and connect with volunteers for relief and rehabilitation. The group now has a volunteer base of 1,600 volunteers dealing with animal welfare on a daily basis.
- Leena Kejriwal, inspired by her YIAC experience has gone beyond making a YIAC film and started an international awareness campaign to sensitise people about human trafficking. Leena’s MISSING initiative, a public art project and awareness campaign has received widespread appreciation across India and globally. Leena, with the grant support and guidance from YES FOUNDATION, launched a smartphone app – MISSING, a game for a cause. The MISSING App is an augmented reality animation, which allows the player to experience the human toll of trafficking. The MISSING Game App was recently lauded as the ‘Indie Game of the Year’ by The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) Gaming Forum Awards.
- Another YIAC participant, Ravi Iyer made a film on an inspirational 63 year old woman named Roxanne Davur, who runs an animal shelter called Probably Paradise. Ravi and his team have become active supporters of the shelter and used the YIAC film to raise INR 1 million to set up several solar panels, LED lights and DC fans along with a solar geyser at the animal shelter. Apart from animal rights, they are actively mentoring and educating underprivileged children from municipal schools in filmmaking and skill development. Ravi and his team have also started making films for Non-Profits to create a long term impact on society
Students across 3,805 schools and colleges in India were engaged through on-ground activities to bring awareness about pertinent social causes and learn how to use the medium of film to actually document social content, show it to the world and use it to spread awareness. Youth are also sensitised on responsible consumption of media.
Over 34,000 films on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) accumulated over four years in a variety of national and regional languages which are available for the free use of Non-Profits. These films are showcased by YES FOUNDATION on various platforms to maximise reach and sensitisation and are used by Non-Profits to further their causes.
In 2016, training was provided to 600 Non-Profit professionals on zero budget filmmaking and how to use the films for advocacy, resource mobilisation and volunteer mobilisation.
YES! i am the CHANGE (YIAC) is a unique and revolutionary initiative that has leveraged filmmaking to inspire and motivate youth to emerge as changemakers for social development. The brilliance of this program also lies in its non-sermonizing, non-patronizing approach to sensitise youth on a variety of social causes and at the same time mobilise and engage the untapped youth energy through the impactful medium of films.
The program efficiently uses filmmaking to bring to centre stage the voices less heard and also bring to light the exceptional work being done by individuals across the country towards tackling social issues which inspire youth to either contribute to the efforts of these everyday community heroes or replicate the initiatives in other regions of the country.
YIAC has also inspired professional filmmakers to take up social filmmaking, allowing creation of professionally made social films.
Another pioneering feature is the scale and scope of the program. From a modest beginning of 2100 youth across 64 cities in 2013, the program this year engaged with 1.3 million youth across 2,500 cities and towns pan-India in a short span of four years.
The program also acts as a catalyst for India’s social transformation by bridging gaps in the development sector through creation of high-quality communication resources. The films produced as part of the Filmmaking Challenge are used by Non-Profits for advocacy, resource mobilisation and volunteer mobilisation.
Since a program of this magnitude, using filmmaking for social change has never been executed, there was no predecessor to learn from. Some challenges faced by the Foundation were:
- Vast geographical space: The mandate given to YES FOUNDATION was to reach across to every city and state in India. Since the Foundation is based in Mumbai and comprises of a small team of 6 people, it was challenging to engage with youth across the country. Strategic partnerships with over 20 Non-Profits, media agencies, educational institutions etc., leveraging expertise of grassroot organisations, and digital outreach enabled us to break the barriers of geographies and reach across to 2500 cities and towns pan India, including areas which are not easily accessible
- Breaking mental barriers: Yet another challenge has been breaking the mental barrier towards filmmaking as there is a notion that films can only be made by professional filmmakers with high production costs. YES FOUNDATION has leveraged the advancement in technology through vigorous on ground activities like filmmaking workshops and digital campaigns. This has been crucial in breaking the inhibition of youth, building up their skills and inspiring them to use their smartphones and freely available post-production apps to make good quality films