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5 Ways Crowdsourced Businesses Are Changing Life For Millennials

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By Shambhavi Saxena:

A little over a decade ago, getting around the city was pretty hard. For families that didn’t own cars, the choice was between cramped and constantly lunging DTC buses, or haggling endlessly with autowallahs. In the newly built Gurgaon, the main mode of transport was cycle-rickshaws. Since then, things have improved a lot. However, even today, while the Metro facilitates interstate travel, it’s last-mile connectivity that’s still a pain. In this scenario, apps like Ola or Jugnoo mean a great deal.

For one, you have an assured ride on a metered fare. But that’s not all. These apps connect people in both the organised and unorganised sectors, thus tapping into the concept of the ‘shared’ or ‘crowd’ economy. While a standard criticism, levied against these very apps, is that millennial-run businesses and a millennial-majority user-base have made the world a lazier place, in so many ways, they have also opened doors.

For instance, the convenience of a GPS-tracked cab service at any hour has encouraged more women to push the boundaries of self-imposed curfews. Today, there’s a shared-economy for food, health, housing, education, finance, travel, and tons more. And with the right pushes and ideas, it might even rewrite some of our social spaces to be more accessible, across the board.

Here are some interesting developments.

Creating Conditions For Better Mobility:

Apps like Ola and Uber offer passenger and carpool services (which can help reduce your carbon footprint), but you’ve also got TruckSumo, BlowHorn and Maalgadi, who are making packing-and-moving more convenient. If you’re moving cities with only a few belongings, it may seem like a huge waste to hire one of those big ‘ol trucks, which is why many of these services allow you to choose the size of your transport vehicle – from a small car to a large truck. Oh, and with GPS tracking features, you can avoid the bad experience of your truck not showing up or being super delayed.

Healthcare, A Click Away:

Apps like Practo hasten the process of medical appointments, and services like Netmeds deliver healthcare supplies right to your door. Sure ‘delivery’ services may not be all that new, but back in the day they were limited to just groceries. A similar system for medical needs definitely eases the process for a person who may be, temporarily or permanently, unable to leave the house. Also, you avoid the risk of missing a prescription because you couldn’t go out and stock up!

Accommodation, Anywhere At Any Time:

The artifice of highly priced hotels is being upstaged by several contenders like San Francisco based company Airbnb, which launched in India this year. The service matches travelers with homes and families ‘letting out’ rooms for a period. Like transport apps, the company earns a service fee, while homeowners have a source of income. And it’s not just for humans alone. For folks who don’t want to leave their furry family members at kennels, and can’t find dog-sitters while they’re out of town, British grooming and care company Dogtastic arranges boarding for pets with other dog-happy families. So basically, Couchsurfing for dogs! What’s also interesting about this model is that it takes the strain off of land itself – identifying existing spaces in homestays is a far more appealing idea than creating them on new land, or in already congested urban areas.

Social Learning:

Coursera, TedEd, Open Yale Courses and OpenCulture, have pretty much revolutionised the way we learn. Users can benefit from e-classes on an ever-expanding range of subjects, taught by some pretty reputed educators, via video and other electronic means. Some of these courses are paid and some free, but all of them enable learners who are unable to sit in a physical classroom, for whatever reason. Peer-to-peer learning is encouraged people around the world. What’s not to love about sharing ideas and research across geopolitical boundaries.

Social Investing:

Certain projects are taking investment to a new level, like Rang De. This microcredit non-profit organization allows people to invest in grassroots-level entrepreneurs in underserved communities. It’s a little thing called social investing – all the stuff that usual schemes do for the investor, with the added advantage of contributing to business, health, education and more in a community that can benefit from it.

What’s obvious is that the shared economy model offers a variety of alternatives, and is already influencing our lifestyles in multiples ways. The pressure to have staid status symbols – like the newest car, or a ‘classy’ hotel room – is lessened when affordable and less wasteful alternatives (perceived to be cool, too) are available. Millennials are among its biggest user base, and their concerns – over a company’s social relevance, or their impact on the environment – is also reflected in how these businesses function.

According to this report by EY, the global sharing economy is forecasted to grow from US$3.5 billion in 2012 to US$115 billion by 2016; while there’s already a big market for these services, it is expected to expand and evolve, adding more to the roster. And with an increase in users for every kind of convenience needed and guaranteed, entrepreneurs will certainly benefit from tapping into the crowd economy.



Image source: The India Today Group/ Contributor/ Getty Images
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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