iCONGO in Action

iCONGO today works at different levels, as given below, with multiple stakeholders like the Government, Corporate, Media and the global community, besides working with NGOs. We also work closely with citizens to create action for social justice because we believe that individual social responsibility is paramount for creating an egalitarian, responsible, humane and just society. Action against apathy to address the inequities in our world is the name of the game because a better, balanced society benefits ALL.

We work with a multiple role charter (as given below) through  www.icoXchange.com  - THE PHILANTHROPY FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE ECOSYSTEM that has been created to bring together various stakeholders who can come "Together as ONE to RIGHT every WRONG"

Think-tank Ideators & Mavens: Our founders believe that a campaign idea becomes a movement and reaches a tipping point when others emulate the concept and adopt it in their strategy. Tipping points, as Malcolm Gladwell says, are "the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable. We at iCONGO have created that momentum for change with the power of our ideas and the knowledge we have created over the years.

There is an age old saying  “Imitation is the best form of flattery” and we are flattered that various ideas that we have germinated have been adopted by other NGOs Networks, Media, Government bodies & Corporates and promoted as their own. This also proves that a small idea can lead to big change when others are inspired by our ideas. Our humble appeal to all is. albeit we encourage our ideas to be adapted for the larger public good, please also try to imitate our selfless, meager and efficient way of working to deliver high impact with the most austere and frugal infrastructure, financial and human capital where we strive to make 1 + 1 = 11 and not just 2.

We have no fancy office (work from a friend's office and virtual space), and our mission is run by volunteers who give time and talent to make our various initiatives (which is quite a lot, do check www.icoxchange.com) happen. We have just 3 paid volunteers (who get a small honorarium to run the various secretariat full time). Now that's big impact with small overhead. RIGHT ?

We appeal to NGOs to adopt and take our ideas for austere manner of working (and not just take our other ideas) to make maximum impact for the cause.

Some of the ideas we have created over the years have become larger movements and we list below a few examples of HOW LITTLE THINGS CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.

  • The RIGHT every WRONG movement inspired Lead India* and Teach India* and the line RIGHT every WRONG is also used in various Government led Public Interest advertisements.
  • "The Joy of Giving" idea created and shared with people in the sector by the founders of iCONGO has become "The joy of Giving week (TJOGW)"* (iCONGO had announced it as a day in its first interview in the Alliance Europe Magazine in 2005 and even the smiley character created for our joy of giving idea is today the logo for the joy of giving week - TJOGW) * This has been acknowledged through emails to iCONGO by the Times Foundation CEO and the promoters, GIVE Foundation, of TJOGW.
Letter from Richard B Saldanha, Blackstone Advisors India Pvt Ltd.
Letter fromVenkat Krishnan N.,Director - GiveIndia
Letter from Pooran Pandey, Director-Times Foundation
  • "The RIGHT every WRONG Citizen Activism Conclave" created with the curtain raiser forum in 2006-07 to promote "Individual Social Responsibility" has over the years churned knowledge related to various socio-political issues HIV, Disability, Education, Public Health, Livelihood, Media Responsibility, Humane Capitalism, Climate Change, Electoral Reforms and Citizens saying NO to corruption. In the 1st curtain raiser conclave we had the most renowned expert on the Indian constitution and our chief patron, Mr. L. M. Singhvi, explaining and simplifying the constitution for all the delegates. The 2nd conclave was on global warming and climate change with leading experts on this theme who came to speak from across the globe. The knowledge created has been adopted in various journals and papers by leading institutes in India and globally, which includes the University of Peace. iCONGO also designed various knowledge forums for corporate and multilateral bodies which included Sangam for "The art of living foundation and UN Millennium Campaign (UNMC) and India Development Summit for the CII. The knowledge churned at our forums has also led to action through our mentors and networks in the form of the "NO CRIMINALS" & “ENGAGE VOTER” Campaigns to address the issue of criminals running for office. This was after the 3rd conclave on 26/11/2008 where we discussed electoral reforms and had 2 chief election commissioners Mr. Lyngdoh and Mr. Krishnamurthy as mentors for the discussions. The 4th conclave was on citizen action against corruption and this has inspired various citizens to file RTI (Right to Information) applications against corruption and Public Interest Litigations to fight for the right.
  • CONGO partnered & promoted initiatives like Laadli campaign & media awards with Population First and UNFPA, which have today been adopted by various state governments and the centre to address issues related to the girl child and female feticide.
  • The Friend without Borders initiative that we partnered to create a concert with Indo- Pak bands at Wagah Border, has today become a large Indo- Pak peace building initiative in the form of "Aman ki Asha" which is promoted by Times of India.
  • iTEAM (Institutionalised training employment and advancement of the marginalised), a skill based training and assured employment program created with industry based skill sets & soft skills, has today become the way ahead to create blue collared livelihood opportunities in Industry for underserved and uneducated youth. iTEAM was created in partnership with USAID and through the network various NGOs and Industry sectors have adopted the process to train and employ retail staff, auto mechanics, petrol pump attendants, housekeepers, facility management services and other such employment.
  • iCONGO brought in the people in the Public Private Partnerships and promoted the concept of Public Private People Partnerships for sustainable development , a concept that is now adopted by various development networks.
  • iCONGO promotes the Philanthropy for social justice model which is humble involvement with a cause dear to one’s heart and not just detached, sporadic charity.
  • iCONGO has created knowledge with companies for consumer benefits like the content we created for "MONEYBASICS" a public service portal making consumers aware about financial management and to borrow responsibly. This model has now been adopted by ICICI, SBI and other FIs in their public interest advertising.

**Various other campaign ideas have been adapted by various players including film festivals and contests to promote social issues. Our conclave has inspired other similar forums in various sectors and the KARMAVEER awards have also inspired other NGO awards and recognition programs including the Citizen Journalism awards, Real Heroes on CNN IBN. The knowledge we churn and accumulate is also shared and disseminated with various organisations and citizens at large to encourage citizen action. iCONGO also created the first citizen reporting & whistle blowing media www.idishoom.com in 2007 much before any leaks had happened anywhere in the world.

The founders of iCONGO pioneered face to face or direct dialogue fundraising in India (the idea at that time, was to use this face to face approach, to sensitise citizens about social justice issues and marginalised communities, through an AV/ PowerPoint presentation. 20% was the fundraising cost paid to agencies as a success fee, which was told to donors transparently. At the time when we created and promoted this system, Business Today India’s leading business magazine, actually called it "The Almeida Way". Today "Face to Face" has become THE fundraising approach for organisations like CRY, Greenpeace, Oxfam, Concern and various other NGOs. However some of these NGOs, have changed the rules and are not transparent about fundraising costs (which now ranges from 45- 60% and is not conveyed to the donor transparently). That is the reason iCONGO does not endorse or utilize, the vulgarised form of direct dialogue anymore. iCONGO today, has no Direct Support Agencies empanelled by us, as falsely claimed by some agencies and nonprofits to enhance their credibility. Only NonProfits listed on our website are our members.

Connectors & Facilitators: to bridge the gap by bringing together socially responsible and caring citizens and companies to work with credible causes and NGOs.

Enablers and Integrators: Through our initiatives, we have endeavoured to enable every Indian to recognise the power of 1 and be a GOOD CITIZEN. Our core focus is towards integrating citizens with a cause dear to each one's heart, come together to address socio-political wrongs and reclaim PEOPLE POWER (as this is what democracy truly means power to the people).