The last 10 days were an edge-of-the-seat ride as Empower Generation NEXT – Isha’s Government School Adoption Program (GSAP) project – competed with 18 other finalists in Mahindra’s Spark the Rise contest, and came out on top in the public voting round.

Spark the Rise is an initiative which lets people submit a “Spark” – a Project or Idea that aims to drive positive change – and work to make it a reality! Sparks are evaluated both by the public and by the Spark the Rise expert jury, and winners receive grants from Mahindra.

Most of the contest saw us steadily moving along in second place, until Day 6 when we suddenly slipped into the third spot. One of the other projects suddenly managed to gain a large amount of votes in a few days. However, we made a mass appeal to our well-wishers via email, SMS, Facebook, on our websites, and through public interaction to spread the word.

Slowly but surely, we started to see our numbers creep up. By March 18th, just two days before the close of the contest, we were less than 1000 votes from the top spot. After that, the votes just started to sky-rocket. By the end of the day, we were in the lead, and by quite a large number.

The Public Has Its Say!

Our grassroots approach really brought in the majority of votes in the end. In the last few days of the contest, volunteers raised awareness about GSAP among the public by interacting with them in busy areas – at the bus stand, the railway station, and in business and shopping areas. These interactions created a perfect opportunity for us to spread the word about the work we do to provide quality education to rural children.

Thanks to everyone who helped us in getting to over 86,000+ votes. It’s amazing what we can achieve when we pull together for a cause and spread the word.

We Aren’t Winners Yet

Although public voting was a large part of the contest, it isn’t the only deciding factor. The final round involves evaluation by a Jury Panel. On April 3rd and 4th, projects will work together for two intensive days, before presenting their projects before an evaluation panel on April 5th. Once the pitches are done, the results for the Grand Finale will be announced by the evening of April 5th.