United 4 Social Change is a project to bring together social activists from all different sectors of social change movements and to train new activists to join the movements. We work primarily by training people to advocate for social issues through both spoken and written forms of communication. We teach high-level argumentation and persuasion to create social advocates.
United 4 Social Change is a project to bring together social activists from all different sectors of social change movements and to train new activists to join them. We work primarily by training people to advocate for social issues through both spoken and written forms of communication. We teach high-level argumentation and persuasion to create social advocates.
We work with writers online to develop their writing skills through editorial journalism. We encourage writers to share their diverse experiences and train them to discuss issues with effectiveness. We also work in-person with students on public speaking and journalism to provide hands-on and interactive training for social advocacy.
Both these tactics are unique in that instead of working primarily with those who have the skills to be effective advocates for social issues, we work with those who face the social issues to better advocate for themselves. We believe that it is one thing to advocate for someone, and another thing altogether to teach someone to advocate for themselves. We want to provide people with both the skills to advocate and a platform to advocate on.
We train editors as well as writers, so that as we grow, our strongest students can work with our new students. This allows us to expand at a rapid rate without facing the problems of expansion that would come with a project that relies so heavily on individual work. We are also working on making our workshops sustainable by finding locals to conduct the workshops based on our curriculum. We have conducted our workshop in two languages (Hindi and English), and will be adding Gujarati within the next year for our work in India. We hope to be able to reach the largest number of people possible, rather than solely those who have English proficiency.
Often changemakers focus on advocating for others rather than listening to those who face various social ills. Social problems would be better solved if the discussions and solutions are led by those who are affected, rather than those who are observers of the issues. Changemakers more often than not go into a localized situation assuming that their external knowledge is the best source of perspective and solution for the problem. Current models of international development focus on a singular process being applied in various locations rather than listening to the local population before implementing programs. We hope to provide the skills to the local population to be able to communicate with the various changemakers about their needs to create more effective strategies.
In the next few years, we will build on and replicate the success we have had with our Indians 4 Social Change sub-site to other regions. We have built a social media following of over 115,000, and are training over 500 people to write about social issues in India. We want to continue to develop our training course in various languages, and model that success for other countries where there is a lack of an open platform. In particular, we plan to focus our efforts on creating print magazines of articles published by local writers to increase accessibility, while maintaining translations on our online platform to allow proliferation of the ideas and voices.
In the next decade, we hope our work will be conducted in various different countries creating a global conversation through a worldwide network of advocates. Country coordinators will live in the countries of operation and work directly on the ground with teachers and volunteers to create localized training programs in local languages.
For us, teaching written and spoken advocacy are the most effective tools for social change, as it provides the necessary tools to fight any and every problem that someone faces. Effective social advocacy allows people to campaign against institutions and society, but also campaign for change that meets the criteria that affected populations set. We strongly believe that advocacy has the largest spillover effect of any social action, not only in creating more advocates, but also in solving various problems. Empowering marginalized populations to work with nonprofit organizations and institutions seeking to help rather than be “worked on” is the biggest goal for the organization.
Chief Executive Officer
Priten H. Shah is a student at Harvard College in the Class of 2019. Priten founded and runs United 4 Social Change Inc., a platform for a global community that works to spur social change by training young activists. He is the owner of Suddha.Marketing LLC, a small business marketing and web development firm. He is working on some other projects as well, and loves to chat about non-profits, South Asia, and technology with others!
Chief Operations Officer
Chandani Shah is an incoming freshman at Boston University in the Class of 2021. She participated on her high school debate team at Walter Panas High School for four years, where she developed a more intense passion for raising social awareness in society. Chandani loves writing about a variety of topics, but has mostly written about issues concerning women in India for I4SC. At I4Sc, she is responsible for guiding interns in the Regular Internship and the Elite Internship through the writing process and training them to develop their argumentative writing skills. She enjoys discussing mental health, women’s rights, writing, and social activism.
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