Arjun Venkatraman

Ashoka Fellow
India,
Fellow Since 2014

Citation

This profile was prepared when Arjun Venkatraman was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2014.
The New Idea
Arjun Venkatraman is building platforms that democratize access to media and information in remote conflict areas while empowering communities to respond to their own problems. To give ‘voices’ to communities in areas with limited to no access to news and media, Arjun has helped scale a simple mobile phone-based voice interface that allows communities to share information and reports, within the community and on larger media platforms. However, Arjun recognizes that broadcasting alone will not do justice to the voices and that it will likely not be sufficient to motivate communities to engage, take action and create change. To close the loop on grievance reports or human rights violations, Arjun has built a powerful community of freelance volunteer professionals from across India – including lawyers, doctors, conservationists, journalists and students who bring in their skills and knowledge to work closely with communities to shape solutions to problems they are reporting. Arjun is creating an action system that empowers both the rural as well as urban professional individuals to participate in bringing about positive change on the ground.

Arjun spreads the installation of the mobile voice response system and trains CSOs and local village governments who work in remote villages to use, run and moderate content reported by the communities. The content is then pushed on to community of 50 moderators who link the reports to audiences who are prepared to take action on them.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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