Monday, November 23, 2009

Karmayog: unique free platform for concerned citizens (social and civic issues)


Vision

A world where every person can and does contribute to it’s constant improvement.

Mission

To improve our world by connecting citizens, civil society organisations, media, corporates, and government officials and organisations by online and offline methods


A desire to understand the concept of Karmayog as per the Bhagavad Gita led Vinay Somani to begin www.karmayog.com on 25th June 2004. Karmayog is, however, not a site on spirituality.

All of us have the ability and desire to help others. The problem is how to find who we can support or how to enable them to find us.

Nonprofits are doing fantastic work and even a little support can multiply their effectiveness. The problem for them too is how to find those who can help.

All these led to the idea of this website in which we could use our experience on the internet gained from our main activity - www.findstone.com - a building stone industry site.

www.karmayog.org / karmayog.com are free platforms for the Indian nonprofit sector, & for addressing civic issues in Mumbai.

Nonprofits can provide information about themselves & their needs through an individual, free 'website' that is formed on registration. Through this, NGOs can display their profiles, events & job vacancies & ask for volunteers, materials, services and funds.

Citizens & corporates can list the availability of their time, talent, materials, services, money, & indicate their interest in supporting particular types of projects & nonprofits. Karmayog lists 1000+ nonprofits in Mumbai & 3000+ in the rest of India.

Karmayog also provides a platform for you to share your work, ideas and concerns via a discussion group of 5500+ members, and a 28000 email group.

Since January 2005, Karmayog also carefully selects a "Nonprofit of the Month". The idea is to facilitate people to make small donations to good NGOs identified by a credible, neutral, third-party. This also helps small NGOs in finding new supporters.

Karmayog has also begun a sector-mapping exercise. The idea is to map the capacity and capability of each sector in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai with a brief note on their capacity, activities and services. We will also put together a Resource list for each sector. We hope this would help beneficiaries and their families, volunteers, funding agencies, policy makers, and NGOs themselves to use Karmayog as a starting base for their various initiatives.

Karmayog began with the hearing-challenged sector. It's people visited most of the deaf schools and connected NGOs to profile them and put their data on the website for free access by parents, beneficiaries, donors, etc. Lists of material providers e.g. hearing aid suppliers, and of service providers e.g. ENT hospitals, surgeons & doctors, were also compiled and posted on the website. A well-attended meeting was organised for everyone connected with the sector. Many interacted for the first time!

Karmayog also holds networking meetings of NGOs and supporters in various areas. Meetings have been held at Byculla and Fort.

When the tremendous rains hit Mumbai on 26th July, Karmayog played a very valuable role in helping relief and rehabilitation efforts. On 27th July itself, Karmayog set up a flood resource website which included needs and offers of materials, services, volunteers and money. The flooding crisis in Mumbai showed that there is no established way for the Government authorities (or for anyone else, including NGOs themselves,) to interact easily with a group through which information to and from NGOs could be conveyed.

Karmayog took the lead in forming an NGO-coordination committee duly recognised by and working with the BMC. And the website became the nodal point for flood reports and feedback from & to NGOs.

Karmayog then took the initiative to set up a formal NGO Council comprising more than 60 leading NGOs representing the breadth and depth of the NGO sector. The objective is for NGOs to be included in Government program and policy planning, as well as implementation and delivery of Government services to the public. This initiative is being well-recieved. Karmayog is the Convening NGO of the NGO Council, that has entered into an MoU with the MCGM to collaborate on civic issues.

Karmayog.com is thus evolving into two broad directions:
a) an internet platform for nonprofits and supporters to inform about themselves and their needs / offers
b) a ngo - citizen - government interface which can enable a holistic view of the various problems that society faces


Karmayog.com is an initiative of the Shri R. O. Somani Charitable Trust which is a trust duly registered with the Charities Commissioner, having 80 G registration.

It is currently funded by Vinay's personal resources.



Services by Karmayog:


- seek advice on personal or consumer problems
- donate or receive books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, toys, etc.
- share views & news with a 44,000+ discussion group & media
- learn via 80,000+ pages in 350+ resource sections
- donate to 18,000+ NGOs listed by cause, location & rating
- comment on CSR ratings of 1000+ companies
- contact 2000+ volunteers, 700 service providers, 500 donors
- get free website with templates
- manage websections or forums
- announce events to 2,00,000+ people
- complain about corruption & to BMC
- find emergency & government contacts
- volunteer or offer services, materials, jobs
- see all Government acts & schemes


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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