Every great movement must experience three stages: ridicule, discussion, adoption - John Stuart

Dear friends,

Movement leaders from the past have always believed and maintained that “campaigns become movements when others start following the path we have set and determined for others to adopt and thus the message reaches FAR AND WIDE to get more and more people to join up and BE THE CHANGE and this has been the bedrock of the RIGHT every WRONG movement from the time we created it to involve people for citizen action and social justice. Thus over the years we have shared all our concepts, campaigns and plans for people to adopt and even put it on our websites as open space for people to adapt from if it helps to address social issues.

Over the past few years the movement has taken off slowly but surely and various people, orgnisations and government bodies have aligned with us to promote the movement. Some who initially thought that the concept was utopian to fight against the apathy of people (and pray how can an organisation that does not raise funds or take grants or donations to sustain itself is what we were asked when we discussed our guiding principles with people) and build citizen action for social justice have now joined us. Most have even adopted our ideas and our writings and thoughts for their own literature and campaigns and that has been a very encouraging sign that the movement to build citizen action with involvement and understanding has now taken off with various people and organisations adopting our various ideas built into the RIGHT every WRONG campaign.

Campaigns like “India Poised, Lead India & Teach India” or with CNN IBN’s “Indian of the year” or with other organisations like iWatch, iGovernance, and various others (the very philosophy of what I stands for as written by us in our first note years ago has now become the bedrock of all these campaigns by these giant media houses and other fledgling NGO start ups)   have all borrowed ideas and thoughts from the RIGHT every WRONG campaign. Thus we are happy that people are adopting our ideas and our campaign that we started with no money but just personal enthusiasm and beliefs in volunteer action has on its own steam become a movement and a force to reckon with.  Thus proving that WE THE PEOPLE are WE THE POWER if we put our minds to it and decide to responsibly exercise our rights. Of course for us at iCONGO the movement is to build sustainability by getting more and more supporters for SOCIAL JUSTICE through CITIZEN ACTION and not about promoting circulation or viewership and thus we continue sustaining our movement based on our guiding principles and volunteer enthusiasm and over the years various people have joined up and become friends and supporters of the movement.

Having had no money to promote the mission we embarked on, we at iCONGO have been doing our little promotion for the movement by speaking in various forums in India and globally where we get invited to talk about citizen action or NGO governance, CSR, good governance etc by organisations and institutions like Rotary, US Consulate, Indo American Chambers, WSF, World Economic Forum, Amnesty,  ISB, AIMA, IIM, Resource Alliance, Career Launcher, CII, FICCI, NASSCOM, TiE, Art of living, UNMC, LSE and other such organisations. Last year the RIGHT every WRONG movement also inspired the CIVIL SOCIET SUMMIT- Swaraj at 60 – in quest of Independence where we had various grassroots NGOs and CBOs as organizing partners (community based organisations) discussing issues of international aid, NGO governance and they all came together and endorsed iCONGO’s Omega Ratings initiative to reclaim and preserve public trust in the people sector (which is what NGOs should be and live up to the values of our pledge).

Over the years various people and companies who now see us as the philanthropy hallmark and gateway have started asking for our advice on whom to support and for their CSR strategy and cause related marketing ideas and thus we have achieved the first phase of our mission successfully to make people understand that they need to go beyond JUST GIVING MONEY and need to ask for accountability and transparency and BE THE CHANGE by getting involved with the cause to learn and understand social issues. Over the years various media houses like Business World, NDTV, HT, Times of India, Indiatimes, Star, Zee, Outlook, Business Standard, MiNT,  Asian Age, Cyber Media, Big FM, and others and that has also given impetus to the movement. In 2007 we also launched the first People sector & Citizen reporting news portal www.dishoooom.com which now has over 500,000 subscribers and gets over 1,25,000 hits every month.

After the first curtain raiser RIGHT every WRONG – CITIZEN ACTION & SOCIAL JUSTICE CONCLAVE (2006-07) that we held in March 2007  that was telecast on NDTV, We also noticed that various government campaigns used the RIGHT every WRONG slogan in their ads for consumer awareness and social justice public service campaigns. This again proved to us that we are on the right path and need to keep going to fight apathy and build citizen action by asking for transparency and accountability from various sectors including our government to whom we pay taxes. Coincidentally the movement actually took off in the 60th year of Independence and a NEW AGE FREEDOM movement was commenced at the Satyagraha Mandap- Gandhi Darshan where we host the ceremony every year now on 25th & 26th November that we promote as the National Social Justice & Citizen Action day to commemorate the day we adopted our constitutional pledge and preamble. Rightly so as WE THE PEOPLE have a responsibility to exercise our rights and do not deserve our rights if we do not exercise them responsibly. Whenever things are wrong the citizens who have the ability to take action have a responsibility to take action. That is good citizenship failing which we do not deserve the freedom we have been given to us by all our freedom fighters who laid down their lives for the dream of a truly free India where the government is of the people, for the people and by the people and not where the people are the slaves of people in Government. So let us all practice responsible democracy without apathy.

We were to launch our RIGH every WRONG public diplomacy campaign last year but backed off from a sponsorship arrangement as we felt there was a conflict of ideologies with the sponsoring company and we choose to work purely with responsible companies who practice good corporate governance and have over the years refused sponsorships from some companies who are harming communities and environment with irresponsible business practices.

Our inherent philosophy for iCONGO and RIGHT every WRONG is based on Mother Theresa’s loving quote that each of us can do small small things with great love and passion to make a difference and that is exactly what we believe in. Read the iCONGO milestones and achievement also on www.icongo.in And to conclude we cite a quote “I do not believe in political movements. I believe in personal movement, that movement of the soul when a man who looks at himself is so ashamed that he tries to make some sort of change - within himself, not on the outside.” So lets us BE THE CHANGE and come together as ONE to RIGHT every WRONG.

Thanking you with warm regards- Founding volunteers of iCONGO- the citizen movement for social justice.

REW/ KVP fact file and impact over the years

“Every great and commanding movement in the annals of the world is a triumph of the enthusiasm of all volunteers and supporters who make it happen despite all odds, ridicule and lack of understanding”

  1. In mid 2005 the founders of iCONGO conceived and created a concept note of the RIGHT every WRONG movement that consisted of 4 parts a social justice & citizen action conclave to create a platform for Citizen Change Leaders to share thoughts and ideas for bring in change and thus bringing people together to RIGHT every WRONG (REW). The 2nd part of the movement is the awards that were titled the KARMAVEER PURASKAAR (KVP) to recognise citizens who have gone beyond their business as usual to BE THE CHANGE and inspire other citizens to do so too. The 3rd part is the public advocacy campaign and long term initiative to create a people movement to ask for accountability and transparency from all sectors. The 4th part is THE OMEGA RATINGS to screen NGOs who follow certain norms and criteria as endorsed by CITIZEN supporters and thus reclaim, rebuild and preserve the public trust in the people sector i.e. the NGOs.
  2. The overall objective was to involve CITIZEN ACTION for SOCIAL JUSTICE and educate and sensitise people not to JUST GIVE MONEY but practice Philanthropy for social justice i.e. to give themselves wholly with mind, body and heart, give a little time and effort, get involved with the cause, understand by learning about  the social issues and get going ahead to advocate for the cause they are passionate about and want to support as only then  is change possible by making a social investment where they can impact change. After all giving some money to a child’s face without knowing how the money is used and monitoring the progress of the child is as apathetic as giving 5 or 10 rupees to an urchin at a traffic light and forgetting about it at the next traffic light. If we really want to make a change in the child’s life or any cause that we hold dear to our heart, we need to go beyond just giving some money and feeling good for ourselves and get into the BE THE CHANGE mode where we give little time and involvement to learn and understand what is happening around the issue, which we term as SOCIAL INVSETMENT and public advocacy. We wove this entire philosophy into the REW public advocacy campaign to involve people who had never supported social causes in their life ever and thus created an idea to mainstream the cause in a hip and happening fashion to get people involved.
  3. In mid 2005 the founders of iCONGO met Prannoy Roy and discussed the idea of the conclave and awards with him who immediately agreed to support the idea and asked his programming team to take the idea further and thus we got NDTV support first to build up the idea. Also Uday Khemka who had approached iCONGO for a holistic association (as he liked the overall concept of what iCONGO was planning to do) agreed to fund the REW conclave and KVP awards for 5 years and based on the success may also in the future create an endowment corpus for the conclave and awards. However we at iCONGO wanted to create a process of involving citizens and people from various sectors and thus did not launch the conclave and awards in 2005 but kept meeting various chambers and the Ministry of Social Justice & empowerment to get them involved and everyone liked the idea of PUBLIC ADVOCACY and building CITIZEN ACTION FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE and thus we kept gathering support and blessings and decided to have the first conclave and awards on 25th & 26th November 2006. The 26th was the day chosen for the awards as this is the day we had adopted the constitutional pledge and the preamble as citizens and the long term idea is to make this the National social justice & citizen action day with the support of the people of India thus rekindling and embodying the spirit, values and essence of our constitutional pledge that teaches us not only to be good human beings but also be GOOD CITIZENS to uphold our rights and values of a truly largest and most progressive democracy. WE THE PEOPLE are WE THE POWER and are capable of being and leading the change by addressing socio-political issues as common citizens. That’s the spirit of or pledge and democracy overall.
  4. From late 2005 through 2006 the founders of iCONGO after having planned the entire strategy for the RIGHT every WRONG PUBLIC ADVOCACY campaign met with various media houses like Times of India, ZEE, CNN,  and others to gather support for the initiative as we wanted various media partners for the campaign to build it up into a movement. We shared our ideas and overall strategy with the top Executives and editors at the media houses and asked them to support the initiative as we wanted to launch the campaign after the first conclave and awards in November 2006 to get people involved with social causes they hold dear to their heart.
  5. In late 2005 ZEE group agreed to support the campaign by investing up to 50 million rupees as the main sponsors and we starting our dialogue to understand the pros and cons of the partnership. ZEE wanted us to do the campaign under their PLAYWIN umbrella and they asked their agency OGILVY to speak with us , get briefed and prepare a communication strategy for the campaign.
  6. In 2006 we began consultations with various citizens from all sectors and formed a managing committee to develop the RIGHT every WRONG movement plan to make it’s a true people movement for social justice & citizen action. We reached out to over 200 people and got their feedback and views on our mission and incorporated the ideas into the plan to make it better and more inclusive.
  7. In mid 2006 we appointed the first paid volunteers Meenu Chopra and Yashu Chaudhary (who are also the iCONGO founding directors now) for a paltry honorarium to put together the plan and start working towards organizing the first REW conclave and KVP awards in November 2006.
  8. From June 2006 till October 2006 we all worked relentlessly to tie up media partners and arrange the right mentors i.e. citizens who are actually change leaders and do actual work beyond business as usual to BE THE CHANGE. However due to a project we were involved with to put together a concept to train marginalised youth for employment we could not host our first event in November 2006 as we felt that training and creating employment for young marginalized citizens without an opportunity in life was more important and we could thus defer our conclave a little. We explained this to all our supporters and mentors and they all agreed with us and we thus had our first curtain raiser conclave (2006-07)  in March 2007 with very eminent speakers and mentors from Government, India Inc, Media , NGOs, international funding agencies and bilateral/ multilateral agencies like UN bodies. Thus began the journey in the 60th year of Independence. The first curtain raiser conclave discussed almost every issue under the sun from child rights to animal rights, Corporate social responsibility to Responsible media, Climate change to issues of the disabled and positive people and so on.
  9. The conclave was very successful in achieving the objectives set out for the mission and was  telecast on NDTV in April 2007 and from there we received overwhelming response from citizens who appreciated our ground breaking work and the response was overwhelming as various government, corporate and media campaigns also adopted the RIGH every WRONG processes and thoughts in their campaigns like Indian of the year, India Poised, Lead India, Teach India, consumer campaigns by the ministry and government consumer bodies and even the latest campaign by a sports company which has actual used our TOGETHER as ONE as their slogan.
  10. Without resting all the iCONGO volunteers relentlessly worked towards arranging the 2nd RIGHT every WRONG conclave (2007-08) and Karma veer Puraskaar and we hosted the same on November 25th & 26th, 2008. The theme was climate change in this year and again we had the best of speakers and mentors from India and overseas who were gurus on this issue and actually worked towards addressing the perils around this issue. Thus in the Independence year we delivered 2 power packed knowledge forums and churned valuable knowledge for social justice through citizen action. For the 2nd conclave GTZ and the Swiss Development Corporation reached out to support us.
  11. We formally test launched www.idishoom.com the one of its kind online news portal where citizens and NGOs report to RIGHT every WRONG. Primarily run by volunteers and Citizen reporters , the portal was launched and introduced to the audience on 26th November,  2008 by Shashank Khattar our student volunteers and editor. The portal was announced and uploaded first with a basic introduction on August 15th, 2008 and even currently is being tested as we improve systems and the backend operations to make it interactive with citizens. Today the portal has an outreach to over 5, 00,000 subscribers and receives an average 1.5 million hits every month. Dishoooom now has over 15 founder subscribers and we are looking at around 100 founder subscribers by December 2009.
  12. In March 2008 we formalized THE OMEGA RATINGS process and sensitized citizens at large about the same with our 1st April advertisement. We organised the premiere of Shaurya to raise funds for a small NGO at Delhi and with this also announced THE OMEGA RATINGs in the public domain.
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