Rahul Adhikari, Founder & Director, ICO
International Changemaker Olympiad (ICO)
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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 - https://ico-official.org/.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to know more and get access.
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