″No one can change the world alone, collaboration is vital″

″No one can change the world alone, collaboration is vital″

Co-founder and CEO of the MASH Project Foundation, a community for social entrepreneurs that was awarded the GoalKeepers Global Goals award by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2020, Aashish Beergi is also one of the Young Ambassadors of the Estoril Conferences (India). He is one of more than 70 speakers at the conference this year and will be in Lisbon, at Nova SBE, on the 1st and 2nd of September, to talk about his experience and help answer the question “What to do now that we have the power to reach anyone, at any time and in any part of the world?”.

The MASH Project Foundation is nearly 10 years old. How has it helped change the Indian economy?
India is one of the countries with the highest percentage of young population and one of the fastest growing economies in the world. But economic disparities are also growing, namely with regard to issues such as access to education and resources, and the pandemic has worsened the situation. We created MASH with the intention of developing an ecosystem that allows all young people, who are committed to wanting to solve some of these socio-economic problems, to not only find the right community to do so, but also to develop their capacities, at the level of knowledge and skills. All of this is made available to them through a platform that allows them to amplify their voices, so that their work is seen and heard. Having one of the largest youth populations in the world is one of India’s greatest assets, but the truth is that if it is not properly used and channeled, it will also be a huge missed opportunity.

How many young people has MASH already impacted?
Directly, about 10 thousand. We’re talking about those who participated in our training programs and our community building initiatives, or where we really influence their work. If we include everyone we involve in our digital campaigns and other initiatives that we develop, I would say half a million young people. And by 2030, we will have reached at least 100,000 young agents of change who, in turn, will be taking initiatives in various areas of sustainable development goals. Assuming that each of them impacts at least 100 people, we are talking about 10 million. There are several programs and initiatives that are being carried out that will contribute to these numbers.

How has the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation award influenced the way the project is seen around the world?
The awards are great ways to celebrate what we have been doing and coming from a recognized organization like this, it has brought great recognition to our work and that has helped us a lot. It also gave us greater credibility, which helps the project to expand.

Has the pandemic affected the development of MASH projects?
The first few months were very challenging, because a lot of our work was in the field and we had to interrupt it. But when you want to change the world, you don’t see problems, you see opportunities to do better and help solve problems. And that’s what we tried to do, with the help of volunteers. And it was this experience that led us to focus on the development of digital initiatives. It was a roller coaster ride, but it allowed us to think differently, change the direction and change our marketing, which today is helping us a lot to grow, to have a much greater impact and to scale much faster. . The pandemic was a good learning experience.

Will be in Portugal in September. What message does it bring to Portuguese youth?
Portugal and India have always shared excellent relations, there is a great historical connection, and I am very excited to be able to go to Portugal where I have good friends, some of the most fantastic agents of change I have met over the years at various conferences around the world. I look forward to learning from Portuguese youth and sharing some of our work. Most importantly, I hope to find more opportunities for collaboration and partnerships, because we all need to collaborate with each other to create a better world. Nobody can do it alone.

You will participate in the debate about the new digital world and the ability to reach anyone anywhere in the world. How has the internet helped change entrepreneurship?
It helped a lot, as I believe that the new digital means of social media, such as Instagram or Tik Tok and other digital platforms are vital to get information across the world.

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