www.humancapitalonline.com 52 November 2015
HC: What is YES! i am the CHANGE initiative all about?PL: YES! i am the CHANGE (YIAC) is a nationwide movementto inspire, engage and empower youth to participate in India'ssocial transformation through the impactful medium of films.The program inculcates the spirit of responsible citizenshipamongst youth through participation in the 101-Hour SocialFilmmaking Challenge where they make short films of up to 3minutes duration on social causes thereby leading to inner andouter change. These social films are then shown in schools/colleges to initiate dialogue and impact action. The program hasthree objectives : To create inner transformation of the youth throughexposure to social causes enabling youth engagement with socialissues and in the process develop responsible citizenship.According to a UN survey, more than food, clothing and shelter,the most basic human need is to express ourselves. This projectis an initiative to help the youth express themselves and bringexternal change through inner transformation Inspire filmmakers to make films for social change therebylending strength to voices less heard Facilitate creation of high quality, informative short films onsocial issues, which form an open repository enabling Not-for-Profits to use them to further social causes
This year, over 1.25 lakh teams (approx. 5 lakh people) aretaking part in the various categories of YIAC 101-Hour SocialFilmmaking Challenge, enabling YES! i am the CHANGE toemerge as the World's Largest Social Film Movement. Thisnumber is expected to substantially increase as the registrationsfor Open category are underway. In 2014, YES! i am the CHANGEemerged as the India's Largest Social Film Movement with over1900 films and participation of about 50,000 youth across 1,000cities and towns pan-India.
Human Capital in conversation
with Prerana Langa, CEO, YES
FOUNDATION on how the
initiative YES! i am the
CHANGE became a movement
to inspire, engage and
empower youth to participate
in India's social
transformation through the
impactful medium of films.
- by Sannita Chakraborty Saha
www.humancapitalonline.com November 2015 53
Lisa SraoChairman & M.D. - I Brands Beverages Ltd.
HC: How and when was itconceptualized?PL: With 64% of the populationunder 34 years of age (Census ofIndia, 2010), we realised that thereis tremendous potential for socialtransformation if the youth areengaged positively in nation buildingactivities. In recent times, the youthhave been proactively voicing theirconcerns about social issues,contrary to the popular belief thatthey are self centred and notconcerned about the country'sdevelopment.
On the other hand, Not-for-Profits have been playing a pivotalrole in addressing social issues buttheir efforts require a multipliereffect, addressing scale and impactwithin India. Media serves as anamplifier and has become critical toeffect social transformation withfilms emerging as a powerful tool ofinspiring greater social change. Not-for-Profits, especially those workingat the grassroots to address socialissues are hampered in their abilityto create impact and scale due tolimited access to modern media toolsand volunteers. Access to audiovisual content and committedvolunteers increases manifold theawareness generation and resourcemobilisation capacity of Not-for-Profits.
Taking the above into account,in 2013, YES FOUNDATIONconceptualised and launched YES! iam the CHANGE - "Make a SocialFilm, Make a National Difference"which serves as a platform tofacilitate a connection betweenyouth and social causes, connectingtheir untapped energy to voices lessheard through the impactfulmedium of films. YES! i am theCHANGE harnesses the untappedpower of the youth throughfilmmaking and in the process,invaluable communication resourcesand committed volunteers aredeveloped for use of Not-for-Profits.
HC: What are the special featuresof the program?PL: The program has the followingcomponents: 101-Hour Filmmaking challenge As part of the filmmaking
www.humancapitalonline.com 54 November 2015
challenge, youth participants makeshort films of up to 3 minutesduration on social causes in 101-Hours Participants find the time boundnature of the filmmaking challengean exciting and challenging teamexercise The choices of topics whichinclude social causes, random actsof kindness and everyday communityheroes who are great examples ofselfless social commitment, ensurethat participants have an enrichingexperience which is eye-opening,humbling and life-changing. In theprocess, advocates and volunteers
are created for causes and Not-for-Profits Films form an open repositoryof invaluable communicationresources for the use of Not-for-Profits across the country In 2015, the 3rd edition of 101-hour Social Filmmaking Challengefollows a segmented approach withfilmmaking challenges targeted atspecific categories of youth : A jury composed of eminentpersonalities including film, mediaand academia including Anu Aga,Prasoon Joshi, Vikas Bahl amongstothers judge the films Popular Choice voting campaign
on YouTube to select the top films ofthe program as voted by viewers.The aim was widespreaddissemination of the films online.Over 15 million impressions wereachieved last year Social film festivals and filmscreenings across the country tosensitise people on social causes YES! i am the CHANGE PanelDiscussion Series where eminentindividuals from the fields ofdevelopment, media and films,discuss issues related to harnessingmedia for social change. The aim isto sensitise people and contribute tothe national discourse on the
July 23 - 27
July 23 - 27
August 15 - 19
October 2 - 6
S. No Categories Target Audience Last Date of Date of ChallengeRegistration
Professionals working incorporate
Individuals working in /membersof Not-for-Profit organisations(includes NGOs, educationaltrusts etc)
Students from schools andcolleges (13 years and above)
www.humancapitalonline.com November 2015 55
transformative power of media Positive Action Pledge Campaign: As part of this, youth across thecountry pledge to undertake sociallyresponsible activities To celebrate the inherentgoodness in each individual as wellas inspire others, the youth are thenphotographed individually with theirpledges Outreach to over 3,000 schooland colleges pan-India: On ground activities at over 900colleges/schools includingworkshops, screenings, etc. atprestigious institutes such as SRCC,NMIMS, NITIE etc conducted thisyear In 2014, YIAC had an outreach ofover 85 million through a judiciouscombination of on-ground activitiesand use of digital and traditionalmedia Strategic partnerships have beenforged with : film & media institutes (MICA,SRFTI) and industry associations(International Advertising AssociationIndia Chapter, Film and TelevisionProducers Guild) for targetedoutreach to professional & amateurfilmmakers Pro-bono tie up with India'sleading Not-for-Profits (HelpAge,Rotary, Resource Alliance etc) foroutreach and maximising impact Media tie ups with CNN-IBNCitizen Journalist (included 120minutes pro bono screening of YIACfilms), HT Media and Iamin (India'slargest hyper-local digital newsplatform) to reach the youth pan-India Active social media presence withinitiatives such as Twitter chats withmaverick award winning filmmakers- Vikramaditya Motwane, GuneetMonga & Dylan Gray
HC: What were some of thechallenges?PL: There were two major challenges: Nationwide outreach : While,YIAC 2015 has received participationof 5 lakh youth across all IndianStates and Union Territories, butensuring this was a herculean task.No other film movement in theworld has achieved this feat. It
FROM PARTICIPANTS "We realised how stories really
can change the world - we feelquite confident about fi lmmaking after the YES! i am theCHANGE program. We are nowalso working on otherinteresting film projects such astracing the history and presentstatus of traditional musiciansin Ladakh, as well as another onthe current status of Old Town,Leh" shares Monisha Ahmed,participant YES! i am theCHANGE 2013
"I am a PhD student in one ofthe IITs and my life was prettyregular and boring with excelsheets, statistical analysis etc.One fine day, while I was doingmy regular email follow ups, Icame across a mail that I hadno idea, will be transforming mylife. Although, I had a litt lecreative background being anarchitect, I had absolutely noknowledge in film making. Iconvinced two of my friends,Tapas Kundu and KoelChowdhury to take part in this.It was through this project thatwe learnt the basics indocumentary film making andalso had our first ever hands onexperience with Movie Maker.But the most importantexperience was with the peoplewhom we documented. Whileworking on this project, wevisited a number of slums inKolkata and experienced thereal l ife (and not reel l ife)situation of the underprivileged.We realised whatcommendable work theseNGOs are doing. We aregrateful to the organisers of thisproject for this opportunity andexperience. Thanks forchanging our perception, fortriggering a new passion withinus and for transforming our lives"says Shreya Das, participantYES! i am the CHANGE 2013
required a combination of collegecontact program with 3000educational institutes pan-India,digital marketing and leveragingpartnerships with a wide range oforganisations, including mediainstitutes, industry associations, Not-for-Profits, corporate connects ofYES BANK, media tie ups and soforth. Now, the aim is to take YIACto every nook and corner of thecountry, including rural areas whichwould involve large-scaleamplification of outreach efforts Identifying partners to managevarious aspects of the program: YESFOUNDATION had to invest incapacity building of partners toenable them to manage activities atthis unprecedented scale
HC: Tell us about theimplementation process?PL: To participate in the YES! i amthe CHANGE Challenge, one canregister online atwww.yesfoundation.in. Website alsohas many resources related tofilmmaking for the participants
On the day of the challenge,participants receive their topic at 6a.m. and they have the next 101-Hours to make and upload a 3minutes film
After submission, the top films ineach category is selected by a jury ofeminent personalities from themedia, corporate, education anddevelopment sectors including: Ms. Anu Aga, Member ofParliament and Former Chairperson,Thermax Mr. Shigeru Aoyagi, Director,UNESCO Mr. Vikas Behl, Director, Queen Ms. Bruni Burres, SundanceInstitute, USA Mr. Jaco Cilliers, CountryDirector, UNDP-India Mr. Prasoon Joshi, Advertisingguru, poet & lyricist Ms. Guneet Monga, Producer, TheLunch Box and Gangs of Wasseypur Mr. Pritish Nandy, veteranjournalist, poet and film producer Dr. Nagesh Rao, President andDirector, MICA amongst others.
A total grant of INR 45 (forty-five) lakhs would be awarded to the
www.humancapitalonline.com 56 November 2015
winners and the best films would bescreened across national andinternational platforms to sensitiseyouth on social issues. The filmsform an open repository ofinvaluable communication resourcesfor the use of Not-for-Profits acrossthe country.
HC: How has this initiativenurtured and harnessed the 'youthpower', synergized with theamplifying nature of media, toenable inclusive development?PL: The objective of YIAC is to triggerinner transformation in youthparticipants by giving them first-handexperience with social causes throughthe filmmaking challenge. Theoutcomes of this have beenincredible. From becomingdedicated volunteers with NGOs tolaunching new social initiatives andusing the medium of films togenerate social awareness,participants of YIAC have upheld theidea of Responsible Citizenship innumerous ways.
For example, Samir Karnik, anex-Banker and Sustainabilityprofessional and his team were giventhe topic of HIV-AIDS and he madea film on St Catherine's Home, anNGO in Mumbai dedicated to thecare of orphan children born withHIV. Post the filmmaking challengehe has become a regular volunteerfor the organisation. He has alsomade a longer version of his filmwhich the NGO now uses for theirawareness generation and resourcemobilisation purposes. The ripples
of transformation are spreading withhis family and friends also gettingconnected with the NGO.
Kuljeet, an IT professional fromDelhi, made a film on rehabilitationof abused animals. This triggered thesocial changemaker in him andwithin 3 months of the Challenge, hehad personally rescued over 67animals in distress. He has foundedSamarpan, an online animal rescuegroup in Noida with over 800members who actively work foranimal welfare.
Sudeshna Guha Roy, Film andTelevision Institute of India (FTII)graduate and a freelance filmmakermade a film which showcased thestory of Pratima, a rag-picker whoused her meager income to feed andlook after 300 stray dogs. She was somoved by the efforts of Pratima thatshe extensively used thedocumentary to generate funds forPratimadevi and contributed inchanging the perception of rag-pickers in the minds of today's youth.
HC: What was the role of employeesin the program?PL: YES BANK employees alsoenthusiastically participate in theYIAC 101-Hour Social FilmmakingChallenge. In 2014, over 60% of YESBANKers participated resulting inimproved team cohesiveness andeffectiveness. A number ofemployees have also actively startedtaking part in/volunteering for socialcauses. Sumitra Kumari from YES BANK,Mumbai participated in YES! i amthe CHANGE 2014 and created astop-motion animation film onrecycling using her mobile phoneand Moviemaker, a free editingsoftware on her laptop. "Life haschanged because now all the topmanagement know me, that too notjust as an employee but as a person."Many Not-for-Profits contacted herand her film has been showcased tosensitise school children. "Thisexperience has made me realise thatsmall steps make a big differenceand I'm working towards change."Sumitra feels the experience hashelped her find balance in her life. "Inow feel that I am not stuck in a
particular box; I can have parallelinterests outside of work and that isa wonderful feeling." A YES BANK team fromCoimbatore, composed of first timefilmmakers made a short film onwomen's safety and the experienceelectrified the office atmosphere,initiating dialogue and action onsocial causes. "When we startedlooking into writing the script, westarted thinking more about what ishappening around us and we cameto know more about social issues"shared Arun Kumar, one of thefilmmakers. All the team memberswork in different departments withinthe bank, and the experience helpedthem become a cohesive group thatnow participates in a number ofphilanthropic activities, ranging froma charity walk to raise money for anold age home to re-forestation drivesorganised by the forest department. In 2015, close to 90% of YESBANKers are expected to take partalong with their family and friends.
HC: What is the road ahead?PL: The focus is on taking YIAC tonewer geographies, engagingmaximum number of individuals anddeepening the social impact. YIACfilms are being leveraged throughworkshops, school and collegecontact programs, panel discussionseries etc to spark dialogue leadingto social action. HC
Samir Karnik, an ex-Banker and
Sustainability professional and
his team were given the topic of
HIV-AIDS and he made a film on
St Catherines Home, an NGO in
Mumbai dedicated to the care
of orphan children born with HIV.
Post the filmmaking challenge he
has become a regular volunteer
for the organisation. He has also
made a longer version of his film
which the NGO now uses for their
awareness generation and
resource mobilisation purposes.
The ripples of transformation are
spreading with his family and
friends also getting connected
with the NGO.
Sudeshna Guha Roy, Film and
Television Institute of India (FTII)
graduate and a freelance
filmmaker made a film which
showcased the story of Pratima,
a rag-picker who used her
meager income to feed and look
after 300 stray dogs. She was so
moved by the efforts of Pratima
that she extensively used the
documentary to generate funds
for Pratimadevi and contributed
in changing the perception of
rag-pickers in the minds of