Our local communities are in crisis: off the charts air pollution levels, lakes that foam and catch fire, garbage dumps that could have their own pin code and killer potholes. And those are just the tip of the iceberg. But even with all these problems staring us in the face, less than 1% of citizens in India are engaged in making a difference in their communities.
At Reap Benefit we strongly believe that solving complex problems like the ones listed above, cannot be done by any one organisation or body.
The need of the hour is all hands on deck.
Which is why we’ve spent the last seven years activating young people (who we call Solve Ninjas) in civic and environmental problem solving, training them to become problem solving leaders in their communities.
How do we do this?
We take Solve Ninjas through our unique problem solving technique called DISS.
We believe that young people are naturally inclined to certain behaviours based on their personality. We’ve created Solve Ninja personas and have found that the problems solvers we activate display either one or more of these traits!
Today we’d like to introduce you to four Reporting Rhinos who solved small and dented big in their communities.
Road sense starts young!
Metro construction on two busy thoroughfares in Chennai resulted in road closures. However when the roads reopened the municipality had not put up proper signage indicating whether the roads were one way or two way. This resulted in a number of minor accidents.
Keerthana, a 6th grade student from DAV Girls’ School Gopalapuram reported this issue to the Assistant Engineer PWD, Chennai and got sign boards installed at important junctions, thereby averting multiple accidents on the traffic-heavy roads.
Her action as a Reporting Rhino saved lives!
Is there a road safety issue in your area that you can report to the local authority?
Open drains and damaged roads
Amizhdiniy R.S, a Solve Ninja in 8th grade at TVS Hosur was disturbed by the open drainage and damaged roads in her layout.
Open drains when left unchecked, can become a public health hazard especially during the monsoons when they can rapidly spread water-borne diseases and infections. Poorly constructed and badly maintained roads caused 465 accidents and 82 deaths in Karnataka in 2015. 248 accidents occurred because of ‘loose surface’, resulting in 55 deaths. Another 182 accidents were caused by potholes.
One has to agree, that both these problems are not only unsightly but also pose a grave risk to human life. Amizhdiniy’s decision to take action against these two public infrastructural blights is significant.
Amizhdiniy conducted a signature campaign with 50 houses and met with the Commissioner of Hosur Municipality with the signed petition. Her complaint was answered within 24 hours and an engineer was assigned to get the work done in 2 months.
The Commissioner inaugurated the new road along with Amizhdiniy and her work was featured in the The Hindu newspaper.
Are their potholes and open drains in your community? Will you be like Amizhdiniy and report the problem to your local representative?
Making public playgrounds safer for the public
The public ground behind DAV Boys School Gopalapuram is a common playground for nearly five schools in the vicinity and the local residents of the neighbourhood.
Gokula, a Solve Ninja and student of DAV Boys School Gopalapuram was upset by the amount of garbage and filth that was strewn across the ground. Plus, every time he and his friends played at the ground, at least one of them got hurt by the broken liquor bottles dumped there.
Gokula was determined to do something about it, and made several visits to the ground office to find out who could register his complaint. Despite a number of unsuccessful attempts he was not deterred and kept at it until one fine day he managed to meet the right person in charge and report the problem. As a result of his efforts the broken compound wall around the ground was repaired and elevated. This restricted vandals who were entering the ground at night and misusing the space.
His proactiveness made the ground safer for more than 500 people who use the space everyday.
What is the state of your local ground? Is it usable? Is it clean? Is it well-maintained? Can you be like Gokula and report it?
Tinkle without the plastic crinkle
Covid-19 has halted the war against single-use plastics, with the demand for PPE suits, masks and gloves on the rise. The WHO estimates that every month the world needs 89 million plastic medical masks, 76 million plastic examination masks and 1.6 million plastic protective goggles. Take a minute to try to wrap your head around those numbers.
Now more than ever we need to find ways in which we can curb the proliferate use of single use plastics in other parts of our lives. Which is we’re sharing Deepta Bharadwaj’s story to nudge you into thinking like a Reporting Rhino.
In 2018, the Solve Ninja from Sri Kumaran’s Children’s Home, Bangalore, realised that she was receiving a lot of single use plastic along with the national children’s publication Tinkle Comics.
She wrote to ACK Media Pvt. Ltd. regarding the generation of single use plastic and why it was important to avoid it, and got them to stop sending Tinkle merchandise in plastic!
Her single action was all it took for a giant media house to change its ways.
Is there a local or national business you could write to about their use of single use plastics?
Are you curious about which Solve Ninja persona you are? Head to our website and take the quiz at the bottom of this page to find out! If you’re a Reporting Rhino, head to our Web App, enter your location and click on ‘Report’ to start marking civic issues and facilities in your community today.
Once you’ve reported an issue on our Web App, the concerned local authority will be notified and the problem will be assigned a complaint ID.
Although we cannot promise that all the issues will be resolved, the web app enables citizens to engage in civic issues, ensures transparency with geo-tagging and keeps government representatives accountable.