Contact innovator

Rahul Adhikari
Ribbon HUNDRED 2022
ICO empowers children in schools to develop a changemaker mindset by enabling them to launch social initiatives & solve real-world problems

International Changemaker Olympiad (ICO)

location_on India
ICO provides a platform for children in schools to identify social/environmental problems around them and launch change initiatives to solve them. Students participate in teams of 2-4, identify a real-world problem, and develop & implement their solutions over 5 months. Each team is assigned a trained mentor who guides them remotely via audio/video calling throughout the period.
Rahul Adhikari, Founder & Director, ICO
The biggest problem we face as a society right now is the lack of empathy! ICO tackles this issue by helping children develop it from a young age.

Rahul Adhikari, Founder & Director, ICO


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2022

Key figures

Innovation Overview

Target Group
25 000
Updated on June 30th, 2022
about the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

The Indian education system focuses largely on rote learning & memorizing facts. There are no opportunities for children to become sensitized to the real-world problems around them and get encouraged to take action. Consequently, they leave schools with grades & certificates and get good jobs, but lack in becoming empathetic, responsible, and engaged citizens. ICO was born to tackle this problem.

How does your innovation work in practice?

The International Changemaker Olympiad (ICO) provides a platform for children in schools to launch their own social initiatives and solve a real-world problem. For instance, a team of 12-year olds saved 81,000 litres of water after installing water-saving devices (aerators) in taps in people's homes. Another team saved 800 Kg of food by taking the extra unused food from their hostel mess & donating to an orphanage regularly. The objective of ICO is to give a real-world problem-solving experience to the students, helping them develop an empathetic, action-oriented mindset from a young age. In ICO, students register in teams of 2-4, identify a real-world problem, develop a solution, & implement it over 5 months. Each team is assigned a mentor from our organization who guides them over our online platform via video/audio calling over this period. This ensures scalability of our program and our ability to impact any child anywhere in the world.

How has it been spreading?

In just over 3 years, 25,000+ students from 200 schools in 23+ cities across India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh have participated in ICO and launched their social ventures. Because of ICO's online, remote mentoring model, the program is highly scalable and allows us to empower any child, anywhere in the world.

ICO has also garnered the interest of many organizations. 6 national education organizations in India, such as Teach for India, have partnered with ICO to implement our program with their national network of schools, giving us a wider reach.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Any child/school can participate in ICO by registering here -

ICO has also developed an open-source toolkit for any organization to replicate our model. Please see the "Steps" section below to access the toolkit OR contact us at to know more and get access.


HundrED Academy Review

Open Education Resource tool kits is a positive step in making this initiative adaptable for varying contexts - geographic and cultural. Build student capacity to find problems, and then take steps to provide sustainable and innovative solutions is INSPIRING!

- HundrED Academy Member

This project allows young people to be directly involved in their communities. They can see the problems directly and provide solutions. It works on their leadership, their self-esteem and their commitment to their community.

- HundrED Academy Member
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process

See this innovation in action


Achievements & Awards

November 2021
HundrED 2022
March 2021
Young Social Entrepreneur Global Award, Singapore International Foundation
January 2020
UnLtd India Fellowship for High-Impact Social Ideas
December 2019
Oscars of Education 2020 Award, London
November 2019
Republic TV "I For India" National TV Campaign - Top Changemaking Idea
August 2019
Karmaveeer Global Fellowship by United Nations

Spread of the innovation

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Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

Download the ICO Initiative Planning Workbook
The ICO Initiative Planning Workbook is a toolkit for children, teachers, and parents containing an 8-step process to launch & implement a social initiative. Children can either directly use the workbook or teachers/parents can use it to guide their children to launch their social initiatives.
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Use the workbook to social launch initiatives
Whether you are a child, teacher, parent, or any other stakeholder, use the ICO Initiative Planning Workbook to launch a social initiative. Children can either directly use the workbook or teachers/parents can use it to guide their children to launch their social initiatives.
Read more