Preethi Her­man

Business Today - - CONTENTS -

Right af­ter Fi­nance Min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley an­nounced a pro­posal in the 2016 Union Bud­get to tax with­drawals be­yond 40 per cent from the Em­ployee Prov­i­dent Fund, for ex­am­ple, a char­tered fi­nan­cial an­a­lyst, Vaib­hav Aggarwal, started a pe­ti­tion on Change.org ask­ing the govern­ment to with­draw the de­ci­sion. He ex­plained in de­tail why it was a dra­co­nian act. The pe­ti­tion gath­ered the sup­port of 237,015 peo­ple. The govern­ment ul­ti­mately with­drew the pro­posal.

“The govern­ment did not say it was due to Change.org but when a lot of peo­ple get to­gether and make a noise, the chances that their voices will reach de­ci­sion-mak­ers is a lot stronger,” says Her­man.

Change.org does a lot of off­line work as well, or­gan­is­ing meet­ings and run­ning the Change Academy pro­gramme: 10-day-long train­ing ses­sions spread across one year to teach pe­ti­tion­ers how to run cam­paigns ef­fec­tively. A new ini­tia­tive called ‘Be the Change’ will start from Novem­ber, a course help­ing women tran­si­tion from pe­ti­tion­ers to is­sue lead­ers. It has also made a con­scious ef­fort to draw in peo­ple from be­yond the ur­ban elite. It launched a Hindi ver­sion in Oc­to­ber 2015. It has tied up with CGNetSwara, a voice-based on­line por­tal run from Cen­tral In­dia, where trib­als pre­dom­i­nate, which al­lows peo­ple to phone in lo­cal news and also trains them to start pe­ti­tions.

For Her­man, the chal­lenge was ac­com­mo­dat­ing di­verse ide­olo­gies. At times, there have been con­flict­ing pe­ti­tions on the plat­form, for in­stance, pro and anti-beef ban or pro and anti-reser­va­tion. “The biggest chal­lenge is to ac­cept dif­fer­ent ide­olo­gies and build tol­er­ance for this kind of diver­sity,” she says. ~

PREETHI HER­MAN Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor ( In­dia), Change. org

WHY SHE MAT­TERS She has trans­formed Change.org into a pow­er­ful com­mu­nity voice in In­dia.

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