The Desh Apnayen Sahayog Foundation, a not-for-profit, social-impact and community-development initiative which, over the past four years, has been working with more than 800 schools in India to inspire and educate the youth about the benefits of citizenship education, has announced a major new initiative.
Vallabh Bhanshali, Founder & Chief Mentor of the Desh Apnayen S Foundation (and Co-Founder and Chairman of the Enam Group), said, “I am happy to announce the ACTIZEN Contest, which will roll out across thousands of schools in India with a single goal of national importance: To create alert, informed and active citizens. It will invite schools, principals, teachers and parents to encourage young students from the 7th, 8th and 9th grades to participate in a two-phase contest that will test their civic awareness and encourage them to conduct effective volunteer work for neighbourhood problems. This will be an annual feature.
“We have rolled out the ACTIZEN Contest nationwide to help teach students how to practice democracy as a value and thus usher in Democracy 2.0 – in which the young ACTIZENs will learn to empower themselves to work with the Govt to get optimum outcome for a better future,” Bhanshali said.
THE ACTIZEN CONTEST
The ACTIZEN (R) contest will reach out to the several thousand schools across India, inviting them to participate through a two-phase contest with themes that are aligned to some of the Sustainable Development Goals identified by the United Nations.
The contest will help students test not only their academic but practical skills as well.
All students will brainstorm and design scalable solutions to compete at national level before a grand jury.
- All the activities are easy, exciting, do not need any preparation, and have been designed based on research. And the contest is rewarding in more ways than one.
- The Top 3 winners of Grand Jury round become subject of films to be made under the eye of the movie directorial team of the Hindi Feature Film Dangal.
- Students will get recognised for their efforts and get a chance to win certificates and prizes.
- Teachers will be awarded ‘Young Actizen Mentor’ Awards.
- Schools will win trophies for outstanding participation
- And it will give School Principals the satisfaction of creating a future-ready generation, and their school a chance to shine at the national level by winning a rotating Actizen trophy.
ACTIZEN Website launched
The actizen website, is the gateway for participation in the contest. It was launched by Dr Mrs C K Pathak, Vallabh Bhanshali, Dr Parth J Shah and Kiran Khalap.
Eminent sports icon and Padmashree award winner Gagan Narang, who won India an Olympic Medal in 2012 with a bronze for shooting, said, “The Actizen contest for school students planned by Desh Apnayen Foundation will help them to truly experience democracy and learn to be alert, informed and active citizens from a young age. I am very excited about it and support it fully.
Narang said, “My own experience has been that the young can do a lot if they are given a structure and support. If our teenagers are getting it through the Actizen Contest, they should whole-heartedly participate in it. It will be very rewarding and will help our country too. These values alone can make the world a better place. Jai Hind.”
Dr Parth J Shah, Founder and President of the Centre for Civil Society and Director of Indian School of Public Policy, “Good policies and governance can impact a nation dramatically when combined with citizenship education, volunteering and community action. As an educationist and a policy activist for the last 25 years, I can say with confidence that on-boarding students across thousands of schools in India, the Actizen® Contest can be game-changing mission to create and unite alert, informed and active young citizens for a better India.”
Dr Ms Pathak, Principal of HVB Global Academy, said, “As a principal I look forward to exposing my students to the most practical and exciting way of inculcating such values, namely, contests, problem solving and hands-on activity in a collaborative way with outsiders.”