ACTforGOA | A platform helping people take informed action for the good of Goa!
In the epoch of new media, feeling overwhelmed by an overload of information is inevitable. Finding a platform that provides consistent fact-based resources you can trust, can help lighten the load & make informed decision making that much easier.
ActforGoa is an online & offline platform established to inspire and empower the people of Goa to actively participate in its growth.
The positive, collaborative, secular and action-oriented atmosphere of this organization is the reason it sees a spike in volunteers with every passing week. It provides a platform for people to acquaint themselves with practices, events and organizations who are actively working towards the betterment of the state, both in the immediate and long term.
In conversation with Jill Ferguson, the driving force & Principal Consultant for ActforGoa, we learnt of the organization's founding ethos, its day to day activities across Goa & the steps they've taken to reach where they are today.
"The idea for ActforGoa started in 2017, when more than 250 people came together, across over 20 different participatory gatherings facilitated by Circlewallas, in schools, colleges, NGOs and villages. In these civil society dialogues, people discussed how concerned citizens could contribute more effectively to Goa’s sustainable development."
ACT4GOA seeks to enable citizens to take informed action for Goa’s sustainable development, to provide simple accessible information, helps people know the facts, understand the issues, connect with others, & ultimately take action.
"Over the last three years we have been working to build tools to help people of Goa do just that. To take action. We try to be informed and evidence based in the information and resources we share. We are based and focussed on helping Goa.
We try to be positive in our approach & communications, and are always looking for ways to be as collaborative & action oriented as possible. Our aim is to be inclusive, apolitical, and secular.
Our website is designed to provide helpful resources to individuals looking to act as well as celebrate people from Goa acting for the good of the state. We are also working on an app which we hope to use to help villages in Goa collect necessary data across the state to create their own 'Village Development Plan'."
ActforGoa also makes optimal use of its website and social media handles to collaborate, collect and share real time information from NGOs, government, businesses, academia and individual active citizens working for a sustainable Green Goa to the masses.
Why is a platform such as ActforGoa.org instrumental in the success & betterment of the state? Because it:
Makes it easier for people to act through simple fact-based resources
Provides a “Sustainability Green Pages” for Goa
Provides an outreach channel and additional “window to the world” for activities for personal development and the good of the community
Prevents or at least alleviates working in silos and duplication of efforts
Offers opportunities to take action, volunteer, work, donate etc
Explains systems of governance that enable citizen participation in town/village planning
Captures inspiring stories of successful citizens actions.
Matches Asks with offers of support
Inspires and guides positive action
Connects NGOs, government, businesses, academia and individual active citizens working for a sustainable Green Goa
Fosters dialogue and collaboration between these actors on complex issues
Informs policy and public opinion
Builds efforts from collective experience
Search through ActforGoa's online resources, where you'll also find a full directory of experts & organizations based in Goa!
Stay informed with @actforgoa on Instagram
In regards to the current COVID-19 pandemic:
When asked what the ActforGoa team has been up to since the lockdown was announced, Jill explained the extent to which their work has reached.
From an initial patrol of all relevant Whatsapp groups in Goa to reaching out to their various contacts within the government and fellow grassroots organizations to collect valuable information, the small team behind ActforGoa is now supporting some of the largest & most active COVID-19 outreach schemes in the state.
"We then started collecting and sharing it all on our Instagram page, trying to make updates in real time as information was coming in. We put together a comprehensive list of grocery delivery options divided by taluka then further by Panchayat to help make it easier for people to find information for their community. We put this sheet in the bio of our Instagram Page and shared it on at least 25+groups on Facebook. We then shared our Instagram handle to hundreds of people over WhatsAPP and various Facebook groups."
In the last week, the @ActforGoa page has had over 5700 profile views, gained over 850 new followers, 173,207 impressions, and made 350 posts & counting.
"Whenever necessary we sourced information and gave it to graphic designers to make posters that were easier to share and understand. We have created hundreds of such posts always making sure to provide the locality the information is applicable for to make it easier for people to search. Its amazing to see these posters coming back to us through various Whatsapp groups we are on. We have also made an effort to figure out what everyone else is doing in the community in response to the lockdown, and are trying to pool resources and data so we can work in collaboration together."
ActforGoa is actively working with the Goa Humanitarian Helpline, Give for Goa, Forca Goa Foundation, Red Cross Society, Goa Outreach, Sangath, Owl House, Covid FRF Helpline, Video Volunteers and many many more individual volunteers and community driven initiatives across the state who are providing simple, important and accessible information to the people.
They have also partnered with Forca Goa and Video Volunteers to initiate a fundraising campaign to buy essential food supplies to support migrant communities across the state.
Would you like to volunteer with ActforGoa?
ActforGoa is looking for people willing to volunteer, ideally in each community across the state to help them to continue to source important information specific to every locality. They are also in need of daily ground support to help identify migrant & at risk communities so they can then provide the necessary aid & supplies.
If you would like to volunteer, you can sign up via the Goa Humanitarian Helpline's online form, by calling (+91 8047192600) or by registering with the Goa Help Map.
Would you like to donate to ActforGoa?
"We needs funds. We are trying to feed 1000s of Migrants all across the state everyday until the lockdown is done, and that is expensive. Every little bit helps."
ActforGoa needs your help! If you would like to donate, please email email@example.com and a member of their team will send you a letter with the bank details and 80G certificate of one of the various organizations they are working with.
ActforGoa accepts either monetary donations as well as in-kind donations of food supplies and/or safety items such as soaps, masks, hand sanitizers, etc. Just remember, even the smallest of contributions will make a world of difference to those in need.
Find all the information you need related to ActforGoa's fight against COVID-19 right here!
For additional daily updates, news & helpful tips or links related to the Covid-19 pandemic in Goa, be sure to follow ActforGoa on social media:
ActforGoa, a trusted source for upcoming events, rally’s, talks & workshops centred around positive development & change in Goa.
Thank you to Jill Ferguson for all of her time & energy to provide us this information during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, to the entire ActforGoa team for everything they do to uplift this state & its citizens, and to Jessica DeSouza for all of her research & written contributions to this article.
All photos credited to ActforGoa.org & the @actforgoa Instagram page.