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Now showing, social causes on YouTube

NGOs in India are catching on to the YouTube phenomenon by uploading videos about themselves and causes they propagate, reports Pallavi Polanki.

india Updated: Jan 19, 2008 00:52 IST
Pallavi Polanki

A powerful 30 second film on domestic violence by Jagori, a Delhi-based voluntary group; a fun-filled video of kids at Ashraya, an NGO for street children in Pune; a black white video on loneliness of the elderly by Helpage India – all showing now on youtube.com.

NGOs in India are catching on to the YouTube phenomenon by uploading videos about themselves and causes they propagate, on the site.
According to Nidhi Raj Kapoor, director, communications, the overwhelming response from uploading videos on youtube has encouraged them start a blog. “Online communities, especially the youth, can be mobilised this way. Our online donations have quadrupled over the past year, which is around the same time we put ourselves on youtube,” said Kapoor.

Metro Girl, the title of the video, put by Jagori, on wife-beating, has 18,527 hits – not a bad record for an NGO. “NGOs are always tight on funds. The economics of creating awareness is a challenge. But on YouTube, it’s free,” said Shilpa Dalmia of Jagori.

The National Association for the Blind, Child Relief and You, Sankara Nethralaya, the well-known specialty institution for ophthalmic care based in Chennai, the Naz India Foundation, the Delhi-based NGO that creates awareness on HIV/AIDS, environment groups like Kalpavriksh, are among the many NGOs that have a presence on YouTube.

Grasping the potential of this space for NGOs, the site, launched youtube.com/nonprofits in September to make it easier for users to find and watch non-profit content on the site. “The non-profit programme recognises the power YouTube has to help people enact social change.

Non-profits in countries other than the US will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis,” said Sarah Gideon, spokesperson for YouTube in India.