Power of Seeing

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Power of Seeing

New DelhiNew Delhi, India
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Power of Seeing: One street element at a time, One street corner at a time, We, together, can change our cities for the better. 'Power of Seeing' facilitates active seeing + documentation of adopted street elements by citizens + organizing information and communities to mobilize CHANGE.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if the 'human body' was given due consideration and respect on the streets of New Delhi?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The methodical mismanagement of resources, negligence and oversight of citizens' needs and safety, plus suspension of common sense in the planning, designing and maintaining of our city, its streets, public spaces and public amenities. We feel the problem is that a) the 'human body' is not considered central in the making of our cities, & b) both the citizens & the authorities resort to making adjustments & compromises leading to corruption

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Three fold intervention by working with: 1) Children: By sensitizing, educating and inculcating an eye-for-detail in the young to make them proactive vis-a-vis their immediate urban environment. It is imperative to cause a mind-shift in the young in order to break the chain of cultural attitudes that disconnect us from the outside. 2. Community: Facilitating, supporting and connecting individual initiatives in order to form a network of responsible citizens proactively involved with their immediate urban environment. Work in tandem with RWAs to sensitize and invite neighborhood participation. 3. Authority: Partnering with authorities by being responsible citizens and sharing collected data, insights and observations rel
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

1) Adopting a Street Element: A child/citizen adopts one civic-element in his/her immediate environment, and then is facilitated to observe it over a period of time. 2) Facilitation: A range of observation skills and methodologies of active-seeing and documenting are taught through a variety of monthly workshops, presentations and field-trips by experts from related fields. 3) After few months the child/citizen is equipped with an informed pictorial case history of one street element which is then shared through organized networks so to compare, analyse and detect underlying patterns of municipal governance, attitudes etc. 4) Finally these case histories of elements on the 'ground' are shared with partnering authorities.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The impact so far has been sensitizing of children and their families to a) the importance of detail and design. They have started to understand design as not an aesthetic after-thought but critical to the efficient functioning of elements and spaces, b) they have been inspired and educated on issues of waste and water management. In collaboration with designers, the children have created a board game (a la carom board) which engages the players in making choices vis-a-vis different types of waste we produce. And many senior students on their own initiative have made films, photo documents and made field trips to sewage plants, garbage dumping sites, and toxic water bodies. We have worked with over 10 Delhi schools quite intensively and are now trying to make 'Urban Activism' part of the school curriculum.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

So far we have been able to work with a select number of schools and that too on somewhat of an adhoc basis, it has been a challenge to have schools commit to long term interventions as the students are busy with so many more activities. So, now the focus is to create an educational package that can be included into school curriculum. This would also include training the teachers to effectively use the educational package designed to sensitize, inform, educate, equip, empower the child to make social interventions. We are presently in the process of refining the first prototype of this package

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We are hoping to elicit help from foundations as well as the government. We are planning a campaign to generate visibility.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are many others who are looking at the city, The Ugly Indian, Aapki Sadak,etc. We are unique because we are looking at the city from a) the perspective of the human body (Navtej Johar,the founder being a yoga exponent and a dancer), b) delighting in design and using attention-to-detail pertaining to design and function as the primary means of intervention, c) involving the citizens, particularly the children to break the chain of habit of dis-identification with the outside, d) taking responsibility and not pointing fingers, e) sharing information and partnering with authorities

Founding Story

Navtej Johar returned to India after a gap of nine years and was dismayed to observe the state of Indian cities. But the more despairing realization was to watch his young nieces and nephews whom he had left behind as pre-teens, now grown up and driving and behaving on the streets in the same manner as the generation before them did. He realized that if new generations would keep growing with the same mindset, then there was actually little scope for real change. And then In 1997, the 'Uphaar tragedy” that resulted in the death of 59 movie goers due to a fire started by a faulty transformer in the basement of the theater and more so because basic safety laws were flouted, further reinforced his resolve.
About You
Studio Abhyas
About You
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About Your Organization
Organization Name

Studio Abhyas

Organization Country

, DL, New Delhi

Country where this project is creating social impact

, DL, New Delhi

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Full Impact Potential: What are the main spread strategies moving forward? (Please consider geographic spread, policy reform, and independent replication/adoption of the idea or other mechanisms.)

Our goal is to incorporate Civic Urban Design that is humane, functional, pedestrian friendly and respectful of the body to be incorporated into school curriculum. We are currently working on making an educational package comprising of a text book, a workbook and films, along with a teachers manual.
This could first be introduced into Delhi schools and then across the country.

Like wise we are now also branching on to working in colonies, engaging the communities, the RWA's (Resident Welfare Associations) as well as the local municipal authorities as well as politicians.

Barriers: What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

Our main barriers are a) the apathy of citizens (who we feel are more overwhelmed but not callous) and b) the invisibility of authorities.

Our strategy is to look at our cities (which at times are chaotic and haphazard) by first becoming excited about the possibilities of design. Our belief is that good designing can be very inspiring and empowering, it just requires education, exposure, play, experience.

Our philosophy is to 'not point fingers' but partner with the authorities, facilitate meetings with them & make them visible by publishing hotline numbers of municipal agencies

Partnerships: Tell us about your partnerships.

We work closely with NGO's Chintan, Purple Mangoes, and Crafts Revival Trust, plus Architects Pradeep Sachdev and M2M.

Closing the Loop
How does your project primarily ensure that feedback delivers results?

Facilitate a conversation that combines wisdom of the crowds with the perspective of experts.

Please elaborate on your answer to the above question.

Our philosophy is that we live in cities that are 'unique' and not standardized, thus rules, policies and even governance cannot be streamlined or even applicable in the same way as in other countries. Our cites and streets need detailed attention that the authorities cannot realistically provide. We therefore hope to create an actively seeing citizenry that is able to look at the ground reality in a very informed and detailed manner (facilitated by workshops with experts) and then be able to organize both themselves and the collected information to share within themselves and authorities.

Languages: In what languages are you able to read and write fluently?


2nd Round Questions
Thinking about your feedback loop; what information are you trying to get from whom, to whom, and to bring about what change?
What is the purpose of your feedback loop?

If other, please specify
What mediums or mechanisms do you use to collect feedback? (check all that apply)

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Could you briefly describe the way you collect the feedback?
What mechanisms are in place to protect people from retribution?

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What are the immediate benefits or incentives for people to provide feedback?

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How do you ensure new and marginalized voices are heard?

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What are the incentives for the intended recipient to act on the feedback?

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How does the feedback mechanism close the loop with those who provided feedback in the first place?

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How is feedback published/transparent?

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Give two concrete examples of how feedback loops have brought a program or policy more in line with citizens’ desires.
If there was one thing you could change to increase the impact of your feedback loop, what would it be?
What are your biggest challenges or barriers in “closing the feedback loop”?

If other, please specify
Are you aware of The Feedback Store?

What are the main uses you can envision for the Feedback Store?
What is the one thing you would most like to see changed to improve the competition process?
What are you doing to make sure that feedback providers know that they are empowered by the information they can give and that they know exactly what the information they are providing?