social change | January 27, 2013

In India, Petition Sites Grow: Social Change Speaker Ben Rattray

When social change speaker Ben Rattray started, he knew he was on to something. As The Times of India reports, online petitions are rapidly emerging as one of the most influential agents for social change in India (where the site is becoming increasingly popular). The site allows members to draft or add to a petition online with the goal of pushing the will of the people to the decisionmakers. Also, it brings the topic into public discussion and keeps it in people's minds. And, as is being proven in India (the world's biggest democracy), the site is meeting and exceeding expectations.

The website is relatively new in India and just started to become popular in the country in 2011, according to The Times. It allows ordinary citizens to cut through the bureaucratic red tape and have their voice heard by the person with the power to enact change. Every time a petition gets a signature, an email is directed to the campaign's point person alerting them of the newest addition. That can really add up if several hundred, or even thousand, people sign on—and it makes it difficult for government agencies to ignore people's voices. The website is the largest online petition platform in the world and has 25 million users globally who start around 15,000 petitions a month. India is an admittedly small part of that pie with 450,000 users who start about 200-300 petitions a week, The Times notes, but judging by the successful campaigns listed in the article to date, it is quickly becoming a invaluable tool for social change in the country.

Named as one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World, Rattray has created a social change forum with the ability to harness people power in a way no one has seen before. While its role in India is just beginning, the tremendous success it has seen thus far is extremely promising. The platform has proven successful at mobilizing citizens in both small communities and massive countries like India. The founder of, Rattray is now responsible for the platform's strategic vision and product development. He is a frequent public speaker, discussing the intersection of technology and social good and the way that digital tools are helping to make the world a better place.

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