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WhatsApp Communities is a powerful tool to drive social impact in India, says Nick Clegg

During his trip to India, Nick Clegg, President Global Affairs, Meta, participated in an exclusive Communities immersion with leaders from WhatsApp’s Community Builders Program in India to discuss how the recently launched feature, ‘Communities on WhatsApp’ is helping organizations stay better connected and organized, in their common goal of driving social impact at scale across the country.

Earlier this month, Mark Zuckerberg announced the global roll out of WhatsApp Communities, a major update to how people and close knit groups can connect on WhatsApp, making it easier for them to organize relevant group conversations under one umbrella, collaborate effectively, share information, and get things done efficiently. With Communities, WhatsApp also aims to raise the bar for how organizations communicate with a level of privacy and security not found anywhere else.

The roundtable discussion included participants from five Indian communities representing sectors across healthcare, mental health, digital literacy, education, and women empowerment, who spoke about the how Communities on WhatsApp is the perfect solution to making conversations between their groups easier, efficient and more impactful, with the transformational power to drive health and social impact at scale, especially at the grassroots level.

Nick Clegg, President Global Affairs, Meta, said, “WhatsApp is a way of life in India, with more than hundreds of millions of users, and is often the first digital gateway for millions. Over the years, we’ve seen organizations and local community groups using WhatsApp Groups to organize themselves and connect in meaningful ways. Our aim with WhatsApp Communities is to make these conversations easier, more efficient and more impactful, empowering people and helping them organize and stay connected. With WhatsApp’s simple, reliable and safe platform, communities can organize their group conversations under one umbrella, which will make it easier for them to get things done while working towards a common cause, without compromising on privacy and security – making it a powerful tool to drive social impact at scale.”

In India, WhatsApp has been working closely with ten organizations as part of WhatsApp’s Community Builders Program, offered to only 50 communities globally. These communities were provided early access to the feature and have been helping WhatsApp build Communities to meet their needs, including providing real time feedback as we continue to add features over the coming months.

The Community Leaders shared valuable insights about the impact and utility of WhatsApp Communities for their respective organizations.

Azeez Gupta, Founder Rocket Learning

“In rural India, WhatsApp is the only app that exists on 90% of parent’s phones in our community of young learners and therefore, was an obvious choice for us to use to help them on their learning journey. Communities has been a game changer for our organization, we can organize learners and teachers geographically and thematically, while identifying their learning levels and then customizing content for their specific learning needs. We can reach out to our members, parents and teachers with the Communities Announcement feature and see this as a significant step to building a deeper sense of  community, oneness and purpose into this otherwise disaggregated group. Communities also enables parents and guardians to house their children’s learning material in a more structured manner based on themes and grades and allows Rocket Learning to house different classes under one umbrella which helps recreate a formal school environment with all grades housed under one larger community banner.  We dream of a future in which 1 million teachers and 30 million parents and children in government schools in India are active and regular learners. So far, Communities on WhatsApp has really helped us organize our daily operations and we’re optimistic that it will continue to aid us as we work towards realizing our vision.

Raghavendra Prasad, Founder, Project Stepone

As an organization we rely mainly on WhatsApp for communication and coordination and have hundreds of WhatsApp groups with over 30,000 volunteers. ‘Communities on WhatsApp’ has been a great boon to us. It has enabled us to take ownership of the hundreds of groups we have and organize them in a manner that makes us much more nimble and efficient. One of the biggest challenges we faced internally was that ‘any escalation meant a lot of messages across multiple groups’, with Communities, we can simply publish a message on the announcement group for all our volunteers and have the right people respond to the right escalation. This saves us a lot of precious time and allows us to react a lot faster. Our vision is to create societies that are more resilient to health emergencies. We believe that StepOne has already demonstrated that technology, coupled with people coming together, can solve some of our societies’ greatest challenges.

Arun Gupta, Founder, Pinkishe Foundation  

From the time of inception, our volunteers have been using WhatsApp to communicate and coordinate with each other on multiple group chats. ‘Communities on WhatsApp’ is exactly what we needed to scale our operations and organize our Pinkishe community better. Bringing all our WhatsApp groups under one Community is helping build a greater sense of purpose, shared values and ease of operations. Talking about menstrual health is still considered a taboo, and most women do not open up on the topic unless they have a guarantee of privacy. It is critical for us to have these conversations on a private and secure platform. WhatsApp offers the assurance of that private and safe space. Our vision is to make a community of 100,000 menstrual educators who will train Millions of young adolescent girls on menstrual health and hygiene every year. We see communities on WhatsApp as a tool to scale and expand our reach further and utilise the tools and features to initiate conversations, build advocacy, disseminate education and end period poverty completely within the next decade.

Subha Ram, Director, GurgaonMoms

WhatsApp Communities has helped us reach out to members who are inactive on social media for various reasons, such as senior citizens. We are also able to organize ourselves into various task groups, making coordination and communication smoother. Communication has become more organized and effective. In a country like India, where WhatsApp penetration is very high, the community will be greatly helpful to reach out to people who are not active on other social media platforms.

To learn more about WhatsApp Communities, you can visit the Community Learning Centre on our website, which includes helpful information on how to start a community on WhatsApp, gives admins access to resources on building safe experiences, advanced community management, and tutorials.

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