Young Changemakers in Justice

Ashoka’s Law For All Initiative is committed to advancing the potential of young changemakers to create justice solutions for themselves, their communities and society. We believe that in order to do that, we need to build a movement that advances the idea that young changemakers can create justice solutions, develop a community of such young changemakers, and build an ecosystem that enables them to realize their potential.

We believe that we are in the middle of a historic inflexion point where the agency of young people to work on justice issues is evolving. The pandemic saw young leaders step up with creativity and abundant energy to bridge the gaps in the formal systems where needed and serve their communities. They know how to understand the needs of people, mobilise communities, work with local authorities and processes, deal with imperfect information, create awareness, find solutions and take action.

Our Strategy

Ashoka is committed to advancing this objective in the following four ways:

  • Working with Ashoka Fellow's Organizations that already best engage and equip young people to develop changemaking skills to strengthen their ability to identify and empower young justice changemakers.
  • Working with ecosystem players, such as Agami, that have developed strong networks in law and justice to create opportunities and connections for young changemakers to create justice solutions.
  • Advancing the idea that young changemakers everywhere can solve justice problems by capturing and sharing stories, particularly from the Fellow organizations mentioned above.
  • Measuring the advancement of the quality and quantity of justice changemakers, as well as the underlying idea.

Youth changemaking in justice can take many shapes and forms: last year, over 100 young case managers were at the forefront of making Online Lok Adalats a reality, resolving 50,000 cases - amounting to 400 crores of total settlement in days. In UP and Jharkhand, young women community leaders are working with local lawyers and AALI's network to identify local gender violence and abuse cases and support legal interventions. Or in Shivpuri, MP, young students worked with community leaders from tribal villages to use the best legal tools to solve environmental and livelihood issues.

What if we could exponentially increase the number and quality of young changemakers and bring about a profound change in widespread access to justice?

The idea that citizens have a role to play in creating solutions for themselves and their communities is what brings us together. Each of us has been working to realise the agency and possibility of young people to step forward with creativity and confidence to play an active changemaking role. We hope that by bringing this same belief and energy to widespread access to justice, thousands of young people have an opportunity to participate in transforming a system that has historically been seen outside the scope of youth intervention.

Young Changemakers Showcase

Ashoka’s Law For All Initiative collaborated with three organisations that were founded by Ashoka Fellows and are advancing the potential of young changemakers to create justice solutions: Justice Jagrik Initiative by Commutiny (founded by Ashraf Patel), Solve Ninja Leadership Accelerator by Reap Benefit (founded by Kuldeep Dantewadia), and Justicemakers Writer Training Program by Youth ki Awaaz (founded by Anshul Tewari).

As the project’s first iteration ends, we invited over a virtual showcase of the programme leaders, their partners and coordinators who led this initiative on the ground. Agami, a movement of people and ideas intent on transforming the justice experience in India, is our network collaborator. The showcase allowed leaders to exchange ideas and detail how their cohorts helped build a movement for young changemakers.

Justice Jagrik Initiative, Commutiny

The availability of information about social justice programmes and rights can be hampered by many barriers, including linguistic fluency, literacy, and the cost of education.  The Justice Jagrik Initiative at Commutiny trained a cohort of Justice Jagriks, a group of young social entrepreneurs, who undertook ten social action programmes. These programmes identified and addressed gaps around social justice issues and enabled positive reinforcement to this system by allowing access to justice and creating a ripple effect. Commutiny worked closely with SHEDO, a grassroots youth-led collective, to engage the Justice Jagriks of Harda in rural Madhya Pradesh. The cohort projected a strategy to shift norms and narratives within the local communities of Harda to further constitutional values across citizens.

Presenters: Ritesh Gohiya, SHEDO; Kanika Sinha, Commutiny
Fellows: Jitendra and Monika, a pair of Jagriks working on school compound wall construction issues; Harsha and Himanshu, a pair of Jagriks working on a playground initiative for players.

View ReportInitiative Showcase on YouTube

Solve Ninja Leadership Accelerator, Reap Benefit

Young Changemakers are often at the cusp of taking their problem statements/solutions a notch higher but lack specific guidance. Being a leader in accelerating social innovations for environmental justice, Reap Benefit has been observing a need to activate young Changemakers in this field who are very early in their journey and help them shape their idea for building scalable solutions. The Solve Ninja Leadership Accelerator provided a flagship six-month accelerator program to nurture young individuals to enable civic and environmental impact in local communities through local data and solutions.

Presenters: Pooja Pawar, Roshan D’Souza, Vimalprabhu P, Reap Benefit
Fellows: Manav Sony, a Solve Ninja Fellow working on social change and awareness campaigns.

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Justicemakers Writer Training Program, Youth ki Awaaz

Justicemaking uses creativity and collaborative action to create solutions that have justice outcomes for a community. Being a leader in transforming youth-led citizen journalism in India, Youth Ki Awaaz identified, trained, and supported a cohort of Young Justicemakers. This youth worked across pressing issues and developed their storytelling, narrative building and campaigning skills to engender systemic change using digital media.

Presenters: Anshul Tewari, Kirrat Sachdeva and Ritika Bhatia from Youth Ki Awaaz.

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