Social entrepreneur Pratik Shetty feels keeping India clean is not a tough task. If all the citizens of the country take individual efforts to keep their surroundings clean then India would become a better place to live in. With an objectice to maintain cleanliness, Pratik started Keep India Clean in April this year. Today, on this auspicious day when entire India is celebrating its Independence day, Pratik joins us in this session to share the story of Keep India Clean.
We believe such small steps can help us achieve larger goals!
Hi Pratik, welcome to conflatingVisions. To start with we would like you to say a few lines about yourself.
I am a social entrepreneur. My main focus is on edu-tech, however seeing the condition of the streets in India, I wanted to do something about it, so I started off with Keep India Clean.
Tell us about Keep India Clean. What made you start Keep India Clean?
An entrepreneur is busy being concerned about the profits, an employee or a professional is busy being concerned with the next promotion and raise and the students (youth) are busy worrying about their exams. Everyone is busy with their own lives. That’s where the problem lies in. Cleaning your surroundings, Cleaning India is actually a simple task but for that, people have to put a conscious effort to it. So, I started Keep India Clean.
To tackle the issue of “Non-availability of Dustbins” in India, I had a simple idea:
“What if, every local café, every local restaurant in India maintained just 1 Dustbin outside their place, wouldn’t India have enough dustbins?”
To pen down ideas is comparatively easy than executing them. How difficult is it for you to execute the ideas as per plans?
“An idea isn’t worth much, the value is found in it’s execution”
We have followed a very unconventional model for our NGO. Unlike tradition NGOs, we don’t have registration forms, we don’t conduct interviews, anyone can become a volunteer of Keep India Clean, if they are able to convince 5 restaurants in their area to maintain a dustbin outside their premises. Our Motto is “Membership by Action”. There are 5 steps mentioned in the Keep India Clean website, if you are able to complete the 5 steps, you become a member of the movement. This Decentralized Approach has been the key to our success.
How is the journey so far for Keep India Clean? Narrate some of your success stories.
Keep India Clean started with a simple idea in April 2016, and within 4 months of its launch, it has spread across to 25 cities all across India, making it one of the fastest growing NGOs in the world. We have over 100 volunteers who have participated in the Keep India Clean Movement.
Keep India Clean also partners up with MNCs, the biggest of them being McDonalds, who have agreed to maintain 1 Dustbin outside their stores, all across India.
How do go about managing the operating costs of Keep India Clean?
We use Facebook as our Platform and since we follow a Decentralized approach, the operational cost are minimal.
What are the challenges you are facing at present? How do you plan to overcome them?
Raising awareness of the movement is definitely one of the biggest challenges at present. Our growth to 25 cities has been completely organic, without any advertising, without any press coverage. To raise, more awareness of the movement, we are now contacting media entities.
We are coming up with an initiative called “Ghandhigiri Blogs” where we collect and share stories of people who go beyond their responsibility to maintain their surroundings clean. People have a misconception that all Indians love make places dirty. However, that is far from the truth. We want to bring out the good stories out to the public and raise awareness about it.
What are your future plans?
We have many initiatives lined up, one such example is:
Donation Drive for Rag-pickers: In India, Ragpickers are the people who pick bottles and other recyclable materials from waste. However, they do not use any gloves or masks. They are uneducated and aren’t aware of the long-term impact of such practices. They are concerned about surviving, on a day to day basis. We call ourselves educated, civilized, so the least we can do is provide the basic facilities for these hard working people.