The One Degree Initiative Foundation (also known as 1° Initiative) is a nonprofit youth organization that empowers groups through mentorship and social innovation to become changemakers, engaging them in active citizenship and inspiring entrepreneurship. It is registered, internationally registered and addresses issues concerning education, civic engagement and leadership.
1° Initiative was founded in 2006 by a group of teenagers who took small initiatives to craft social changes in their community. During a flood, they decided they wanted to contribute to the relief work. Upon realizing that clean water is a major scarcity in post-flood conditions, they built deep tube wells, on elevated ground to protect from future natural disasters. With the success of that first project, 1° Initiative was launched.
The organization’s mission is to provide the youth from all socio-economic backgrounds with a platform to make their voice heard and help fulfill their vision for a better world. In Bangladesh, where over 70% of the population is below 40, such a platform is vital to motivate and empower the next generation of leaders to become active citizens and community change makers.
1° Initiative specializes in creating community changemakers by providing mentorship to translate the ideas of young people to sustainable actions, empowering them to take ownership of their vision and inspiring social innovations. It addresses empowerment in two ways: Firstly, it unites youth and children from all backgrounds through a distinctive pairing system to serve the community. It catalyses mutual respect and allows everyone to be equally engaged. Secondly, our members are motivated to take initiatives based upon ownership of their ideas. It prepares them for future ventures and builds rapport between the younger generations so they work together to build more tolerant and peaceful communities.
1° Initiative does this by engaging its members in a unique mentorship model that instils the spirit of ownership that inspires social innovations and develops communities around them. Projects such as Haate Khori, Shorey Aw and 1° of Learning provide both the direct and indirect beneficiaries (the children and members involved respectively) with a rich experience and insight into the current condition of the education sector in Bangladesh, while campaigns like Degrees on Wheels and Training on Wheels empowers young people to take charge of problems like health, traffic and pollution themselves.
To date, it has implemented over 70 projects globally, engaged 3000 volunteers in its activities and reached out to over 25,000 children.
1° Initiative was named so because the smallest change can eventually make a large impact. 1° is all it takes to turn ice into water; 1° is all it takes to revolutionize one’s mind – so a 1° change can indeed be the most significant change.