FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.
In 2006, when I arrived at the Mumbai International airport, a customs official pulled me aside under the pretext that I had a ‘lot of electronics that were subject to customs duty’. When I explained that I was well within the ‘allowable’ limits that I could carry as a NRI, the official asked me to wait aside and informed me that I had to see his superior who was neither going to arrive at his desk, nor was there any effort to take me to him. I then pulled out a Zero Rupee Note which I was experimenting with at that time, and handed it out to the official who had originally stopped me, indicating that I had to leave as I had immediate official commitments after I exited the airport. I offered to come back, if I still had to meet with the superior official. After taking a detailed look at the ZRN, the official’s tone and body language changed dramatically to the extent of becoming over-friendly in his interactions, and seeing me off with much cordiality. This was the ‘Aha’ moment when I realized that the ZRN, if placed in the hands of a helpless citizen, can save him/her from being harassed by corrupt officials and could serve as an effective anti-corruption tool.
Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date
ZRN: The organization has distributed more than 2 million printed ZRNs since its introduction in 2007. Countries like Nepal, Ghana, Mexico, Argentina and Peru contacted 5th Pillar for consent to use the Zero Currency Note concept, and adopted it to fight corruption in their respective geographies.
Corruption Reporting Platform: We have received reports and helped resolve issues related to basic services such as securing birth/death certificates, ration card, voter ID card,etc. This platform has game-changing potential for the anti-corruption agenda to tackle large-scale corruption involving the nexus of politics and business.
5th Pillar’s anti-corruption initiatives such as 'FREEDOM from CORRUPTION' awareness & sensitization program for Youth, free training/workshops on the RTI ACT and practical tools to tackle corruption has penetrated over 1200 colleges and schools, reaching over 500,000 students, mobilizing them into the zero-corruption pledge “I PROMISE TO NEITHER ACCEPT NOR GIVE BRIBE”.
A cumulative total of 600,000 people have attended 5th Pillar’s anti-corruption awareness/training workshops.
What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?
• The plan is to replicate 5th Pillar’s program success in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to few other states in India – Karnataka, Rajasthan, Kerala, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Delhi, Haryana. Discussions and efforts are in progress to recruit Chapter Coordinators and Trainers in these geographies.
• We intend to increase citizen usage of the Online Corruption Reporting Tool beyond its current nature of usage to report bribery in public services delivery, to also serve whistle-blowing interests involving large-scale corruption.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Launch Chapters in 3 of 6 targeted geographies; increase awareness & usage of the CRT to get citizens to be active participants
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Build a network of 'nodal agents' to receive SMS corruption alerts from online-access-challenged & feed it into online CR Tool