Correspondents: Kanchi Shah & Swarnika Prakash
Kibo, an early-stage startup based out of Powai, Mumbai is a team of 10 people sharing a common passion and motivation, aims to create a social movement of like-minded people to develop a community of givers. One of the main operands of Kibo is to take a step further than slacktivism and impact important causes in a very tangible way. Kibo is not your average run-of-the-mill startup, it’s different because it’s all about using the power of crowd-sourcing to engage people in philanthropy using their unique online interface.
The company’s main objective is for people to be a part of revolutions that they often talk about, building conversations online on social platforms. While they’re at it, they end up coalescing as a huge mass of socially aware people from various communities working towards a cause collectively up to closure. And all of this without spending a single penny from their own pockets! It’s a total win-win situation for everyone.
Built on the untapped potential of technology to transform philanthropy, Kibo connects people, experiences, change-makers and NGOs/non-profits in a unique way! Driven by using the power of story to inspire social change, they help co-create campaigns around socially relevant movements to make it an all-inclusive platform that completes the entire cycle of recognizing, instigating and bringing about a change in the society.
Question 1. There are a lot of people who talk about different causes, but out of those many, there are only few who take the initiative to address the problems. Kibo is one of the few. Where did this idea come from?
I’ll quote a sentence out of your question – “There are a lot of people who talk about different causes, but out of those many, there are only few who take the initiative to address the problems”. This is precisely what we call Slacktivism (Slacker + Activism) where people believe in the power of a click that can presumably bring about huge changes. It’s like the forwarded messages on WhatsApp that we get every that claim that a dollar will go to some guy in a completely different country for every person you forward the message to. It’s like the petition we share on every other platform, and the posts we like so as to support a particular discussion, hoping that it would all culminate in the problem being solved. Surely, that’s not how it works.
Nepal earthquake, Chennai floods etc. saw all of us coming up on social media in huge numbers to show our so-called support for our own varied reasons. We felt that there was something missing: we all wanted to be socially relevant to the cause, but are being someway handicapped from being able to help the cause directly.
This is where we thought of getting brands to be part of these conversations and help impact the causes on our behalf!
Question 2. The youth of India is coming forward and taking actions towards the social causes. What do you have to say about it?
The development is very positive, indeed. We’ve seen multiple crowd-funding platforms come up and there is a flurry of activities going on in the non-profit sector. Social entrepreneurship is finally a thing in India and the path ahead looks encouraging. That’s the best kind of development when competition in a sector is indeed beneficial to the society in general.
With social media fueling these changes, people are getting recognized for their social contributions, reinforcing them to carry on with the same enthusiasm. Platforms like Born of a Million Thoughts would be rewarding for all such change-makers in the long run!
Question 3. Your campaign “Miles For Money” was recently held at IIT Bombay Run. How was the experience?
The marathon was huge, with thousands of people taking part. This was the second time we ran the Miles for Money campaign with an event, but with a slightly altered approach to see how people react to hyperlocal causes. The response has been encouraging so far, and hopefully it’ll stay so in the future!
Question 4. Why not the traditional start-up method? What benefits do you hope to receive from this approach?
I don’t know what the traditional start-up method really is, but surely there aren’t many benefits the way Kibo has decided to shape up as. There are challenges associated with being a social venture.
We’re trying to prove the power of crowd-sourcing to ourselves and then to the people. This will take time and a lot of support from like-minded people.
Question 5. How would you describe the scenario of addressing social causes in India? What according to you will be the attitude of people towards these causes in the future?
The social sector, as we know it, is much unorganized. There are a lot many problems to solve and most of them have already existing solutions. People need to come up to execute with a result-oriented attitude.
With the influx of technology and new ideas, this surely looks possible in the near future. Right now, we need to identify the correct problems more than looking hurriedly for solutions.
Question 6. “Lend Your Voice” is a great initiative for the visually impaired. Tell us about this campaign.
Lend Your Voice is a unique campaign that makes audiobook sourcing easier and faster for the visually impaired. Sadly, only 1% of the entire published literature is available in the form of audiobooks right now, most of which is old and irrelevant content to the 15 million+ blind people in India (yes, that’s almost half of the entire blind population on Earth).
We’re in closed Beta stage right now and will be able to give in more details soon! People can stay updated on this campaign at http://www.kibo.in/lendyourvoice.
Question 7. There are times when people become ignorant towards minor issues. How do you deal with that? Do you face any problems?
Interestingly, there’s more to this observation. Yes, minor issues are left unattended and do not reach out to people in a way that might appeal to them. But when they hit them in the right manner, people relate to minor issues in a much better way than they do to larger generic ones.
Question 8. Tell us about your future campaigns.
The future campaigns will touch diverse causes ranging from rural sanitation to dying folk music in India. Causes might be as local as education of construction workers’ kids at IIT Bombay to as expansive as the Chennai floods. A lot is being planned and people can check out these campaigns in three weeks’ time at http://www.kibo.in.
Question 9. In the age of materialism where everyone is crazy for the next best item, they can achieve how do you plan to tap the inner conscience of people?
I think everyone is a good human being at the end of the day. It just depends on how they perceive things that are presented to them. Let me try to cite examples. For instance, you might be more likely to support a cause online if you see your entire friend circle doing so. You might not have done so in a secluded environment.
Also, you’re more likely to support a cause that asks for minimal effort as compared to one that requires you to do the entire job yourself. And now when you’ve successfully got them to engage with a cause once, they just need to be positively reinforced in the right way to stay on track. It works like anything else that we do, say running. Once you start seeing the benefits, you stop asking questions to yourself.
That is when you’ve hit the inner conscience of people. Or rather, have conditioned them in your favor.
Question 10. Lastly, your message to the youth of India.
I’m one among the youth of India myself. I can only hope that there are more people who resonate with the idea of giving for good. There are people striving to make a positive dent in the world, trying to help each other out of trouble.
All the youth should really do is to be appreciative of their efforts so that more such people come up, encouraged to drive changes