Connecting and leveraging his contacts to start a volunteer network, is Shishir Joshi’s mantra to plugs into the core of Mumbai city – Kindness. “Oh, I know Shishir. He is a great guy”, says many an admirer, responding to the Lumiere event promo. He is the Founder and Chief Executive, of the not-for-profit Project Mumbai (www.projectmumbai.org). Structured as a registered public trust, it strives for social transformation through initiatives of scale —where People are the Purpose, and Positive Change the intended objective.
The Genesis of the Initiative – Kindness
Shishir’s worldview is shaped by his earlier work as a journalist. The purview of his work was vast, spanning across subjects, from urban, rural, crime, business to Naxals, Project Mumbai is a collective of like-minded individuals who came together to help solve challenges for the Mumbaikar. At the core is the helpful Mumbai mindset, where every Mumbaikar goes out of the way to help. Mumbai is a shorthand for expressing kindness, and ‘Project Mumbai’, reflects this ethos of Mumbai city.
The first step of Project Mumbai
Even before Project Mumbai was established, Shishir and a few like-minded individuals helped a hospital ease its navigation and signages. Thereafter, Project Mumbai unfolded in many ways to enable the connection of individuals & institutions, with NGOs and Government bodies. It helped connect those who needed help with those who could or wanted to help. Project Mumbai organically became a catalyst for change, with a broad intent to help those in need. It plugs into the emotion of altruism and being able to help.
Building a network of volunteers
Barely three years old, the pandemic gave fillip on the volunteering. One initiative was information on locating a hospital bed for non-covid emergencies. The team at Project Mumbai put together information on hospital availability with a virtual dashboard by location. The volunteering at Project Mumbai has grown across causes, viz., blood donation, beach clean up, plastic recycling, seniors, and children. The network is self-managed by a group of dedicated volunteers supported by need-based volunteers on specific projects.
A growing trend of Hyperlocal volunteering led Shishir and his team to launch Project Pincode. Here citizens can help within their own locality for their cause of choice. This enables higher engagement and ownership of initiatives. The painting of 41 Railway Stations is one such project. Technology & infrastructure support has developed ahead of the programs, which was due to the long-term thought process by the core team. Technology is leveraged well to increase the agility of access of Project Mumbai.
Any change would come about at the ground level only with public-private partnership with the complete involvement of citizens.– Shishir Joshi
Awards & Recognition
Project Mumbai is the recipient of multiple awards for the change that it has brought about with impactful social initiatives. Some of the awards are, The Nutrition Awards 2021 (Fighting the Hunger Pandemic) – WINNER – Urban Category, Ketto Awards 2020, Best Start-up NGO of the Year, Municipal Corporation Of Greater Mumbai – Covid Hero, Keshav Srushti Award to Corona Warriors, Rotary Club of Bombay – Award for Outstanding Social Service
Mission for next 3 years
Project Mumbai is not about geography. It is about the idea of creating a network of volunteers. Every city needs Volunteering activities with public-private partnerships. There is a need to build more such social organizations. There is a need to build a good model of public-private partnership, where Citizens join in and Corporates with an active CSR outlook can contribute.
Need to have citizens part of action.– Shishir Joshi
Call for Action
The Project Mumbai network is looking for individuals and organizations to partner with on shared causes. Here could be an opportunity to help or seek help. Project Mumbai is one of a KIND!