Singapore International Foundation’s 'Our Better World' inspires 1.2 million acts to drive positive change

Singapore International Foundation’s 'Our Better World' inspires 1.2 million acts to drive positive change

Our Better World (OBW), the digital storytelling platform of the Singapore International Foundation (SIF), has launched an impact report to mark its 10th anniversary.  

The report illustrates the impact that OBW has made on the online community – how people have been inspired to act as a result of the platform’s stories.

A key finding in the report was that OBW stories resulted in more than 1.2 million viewer actions from 2012 to 2022. These included shares, comments, visits to related websites, volunteering and donations to social causes.

Mr Jeremy Heng, Head of OBW, SIF, said: “In 2012, the Singapore International Foundation launched Our Better World to tell compelling stories about people doing good all over Asia, to inspire action and to power movements for change. Today, OBW has told more than 350 stories from nine Asian countries and has grown an online community that is 778,000 strong.

“We are pleased that the stories have galvanised people to act and help others. This is in line with the SIF’s mission of bringing world communities together to do good; our digital initiative complements the Foundation’s analogue programmes in volunteer cooperation and cultural exchange. We look forward to many more collaborations with other non-profit organisations, media platforms, and potential partners which share our vision to leverage digital storytelling for positive social change.”  

OBW stories have featured more than 400 people across Asia and supported many social causes including: Animal Welfare, Arts and Culture, Children and Youth, Diversity and Inclusion, Education, The Elderly, Environment, Health, and Women and Girls. The stories have altogether garnered more than 229 million online views over 10 years.

Apart from storytelling, OBW organises community events for the public to meet and discuss issues with the people featured in the stories. These events have been held virtually as well as in person in Singapore, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

As a testament to the positive impact its stories have sparked in various communities, OBW has over the years won 14 international awards. In November 2022, it clinched two prizes at the Shorty Impact Awards. One was for OBW’s efforts to raise awareness and support for entrapped sex workers and the other was for tackling issues surrounding mental health. The stories and awards are:

  1. Dream Village: A Refuge for India’s Former Sex Workers (Winner – Best in Storytelling category)

The award recognises the most compelling and shareable social good campaigns, projects and initiatives that use effective storytelling to reach a certain goal or objective.

  1. Silent No More - Giving Voice to Mental Health (Silver Honour - Best in the Mental Health category)

The award recognises a programme, project or initiative related to the promotion of emotional, psychological, and social well-being.

Dream Village: A Refuge for India’s Former Sex Workers

This OBW video raised awareness about women forced into sex work in Delhi, India. It documented the work of Kat-Katha, a non-profit organisation that empowers former women sex workers with skills and education so that they can live independently. It also told the story of how Kat-Katha built a safe space called “Dream Village” for the women to live in and raise their children.

To boost awareness, OBW launched a two-week social media campaign in which the video was featured on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The video garnered 1.7 million views and 1,244 shares.

The founder of Kat-Katha, Ms Gitanjali Babbar, said: “Kat-Katha was launched in 2012 and our story has been featured on many platforms over the years. However, the response to the story told by OBW has been mind-blowing. Since then, we have found experienced volunteers and the right employees for our organisation. We have a team now to help achieve our mission to bring respect and dignity back to women sex workers.”

Silent No More - Giving Voice to Mental Health 

OBW launched this mental health content series in 2021. It included a series of stories about suicide in Asia. These aimed to help viewers to understand suicide better. Three stories were produced:

  1. Living with Suicide– A multimedia production about the journeys of five people who attempted suicide and how they continued to grapple with their daily struggles.
  2. Impart-ing a Life Worth Living– A video about Ms Jasthina Jamaludin, a youth volunteer at Impart, a non-profit organisation in Singapore that equips youth volunteers with stress management strategies and provides peer support to deal with mental issues.
  3. To Those Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide - We Hear You– A video about We Hear You, a support group in India for people who are dealing with suicide loss.

In addition, OBW organised a virtual community event on 18 November 2021 – when the series was launched – to encourage conversations about mental health. Four people featured in the series shared their personal stories and experiences. They also answered questions from an audience of more than 160 people who tuned in from across Asia.

The series garnered a total of 3.2 million views across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and the OBW website. The stories led to more than 3,600 viewer actions including shares, comments, and donations to the cause. OBW also received close to 250 enquiries and 130 volunteer sign-ups. In a survey with 362 respondents who viewed the stories, about 70 per cent said that they understood the issues around suicide better.

Ms Nyana Sabharwal, co-founder of We Hear You, said: “OBW has created an incredible platform that shares the stories of people struggling with mental health issues and those who are supporting them. These stories have encouraged more people in Asia to talk openly about mental health and this helps to reduce misconceptions about suicide. Thank you, OBW, for bringing people together to better support those who are vulnerable.”

To learn more about Our Better World’s reach and impact, visit the 2022 Impact Report: https://www.ourbetterworld.org/impact/2022

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