In the earliest human civilisations, way before the dawn of empires and huge kingdoms, inhabitants of a region collectively made all decisions for a community. Decisions like building bridges, making pavements, building wells and walls, were initiated and conducted collectively by the inhabitants. Then with the beginnings of dynasties and empires, all the responsibilities for building these infrastructures began to be assigned to individuals by the rulers. Fast forward to our modern world, citizens are way far from being a part of decisions whose consequences affect them on a day-to-day basis. This has resulted in an unprecedented dissatisfaction in citizens from most parts of the world. Basic infrastructural necessities like access to electricity, clean drinking water and sanitation etc are not in the hands of citizens. Add to it, the ever rising levels of corruption despite changing governments and public outcry often drive citizens to take matters in their own hands.
Change- By the people, for the people
People have united in various parts of the world to build roads and ensure proper sanitation for themselves. Historically people have united to make monuments which have remained culturally significant throughout civilisations. Statue of Liberty is one such example where the citizens of America and France united to build a statue signifying freedom. The major constraint in such a situation is the decreased ability for people from low income backgrounds to pool funds for their cause. Another constraint is attracting sufficient media attention for the project. But the most important constraint is to ensure that the determination of all those who are driving these initiatives don’t leach away.
Crowdfunding for development
There is one solution that collectively addresses all these qualms. The answer is crowdfunding. Crowdfunding leverages the power of the collective to raise funds online through small donations from people all over the Internet.Crowdfunding also ensures that there is a buzz generated about the initiative which can receive traction from both Governmental and Non-Governmental agencies. With media attention and funding, crowdfunding ensures that the fire to change lives does not die in its infancy. Across the globe, crowdfunding projects are empowering communities deprived of basic amenities to live better lives regardless of the existing socio-political situation in the country. In Ghana, Old Fadama is a crowdfunding initiative to provide solar energy to slum dwellers. Another crowdfunding project is Floating Doctors, which aims to provide medical care to isolated pockets of population in Central America. Closer home, crowdfunding can be used for revolutionize the lives of millions and many crowd funding sites in India are flag bearers to initiate development and improve lives.