The Red Elephant Foundation

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The Red Elephant Foundation is a youth-led civilian peacebuilding initiative that works for gender equality and peace through storytelling, art advocacy, tech-for-good and digital media engagement. The initiative was founded by Kirthi Jayakumar in Chennai, India, on June 5, 2013.[1] On June 4, 2017, The Red Elephant Foundation was recommended by Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, for Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council.[2]


The Red Elephant Foundation's activities are chunked down into five key blocks:


In the long term, the initiative aims at shifting mindsets and pivot people naturally towards equality, peace and non-violence.[3] The storytelling wing curates stories of survivors, change-makers and peace-workers around the world so that these stories inspire action, empathy and awareness of the world.[4] The foundation has told stories of several activists, changemakers and survivors, including Maya Azucena,[5] Zak Ebrahim,[6] Kamla Bhasin,[7] Tabish Khair[8] and Vaishnavi Sundar[9] among others.


The foundation makes its stories actionable by building curriculums to address issues of gender inequality, violence in communication and action, and to address the need for sensitization around gender based violence. These curriculums are tailor-made to suit each demographic's needs, and are then used to conduct training sessions at schools, colleges, community groups and work places. The foundation's education programs are curated on their platform, called ChalkPeace.[1][10][11] The ChalkPeace Program has re-created versions of board games to teach values of Gender Equality and Peace, such as: Snakes and Ladders, Guess Who, Pictionary, Taboo and Memory.[12]

Tech For Good[edit]

While the goals of storytelling and education/sensitization are couched in the long-term,[3] the initiative focuses on the imminent need for assistance, sensitized help and qualitative support for survivors of violence. This encouraged the birth of an online tech-based tool that maps organizations providing legal, medical, resource, education/employment help and police, ambulance and consular services across 196 countries in the world, called the GBV Help Map.[13] They also curate stories of online abuse through the Troll Register and school and college level bullying through Report a Bully. The Youth Solutions Report by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network features The Red Elephant Foundation's #GBVHelpMap as one of the top 50 solutions / ideas in the world to achieve #SDG5 on #GenderEquality, and has also specifically been curated as a Case Study on "The Era of Digital Accountability." [14] The organization created Saahas, a mobile app version of the GBV Help Map.[15][16] The app was coded by Kirthi Jayakumar.[17][18][19]

The Building Peace Project[edit]

The Building Peace Project is an, intensive online program spread over eight weeks.[20] Participants from all over the world will be engaged in sessions facilitated by trained facilitators using a curriculum grounded in values of peace education, dialogue, writing and some dynamic thinking. Although based on a curriculum, the sessions give participants room, autonomy and encouragement to explore their spontaneity creatively. [20]

The Feminifesto Podcast[edit]

The Feminifesto Podcast is hosted by Kirthi Jayakumar and Vaishnavi Pallapothu. A podcast that chronicles women's voices and narratives in the domains of International Relations, Peacebuilding, Development, Public Health, Humanitarian Work and Politics, the duo has featured Cynthia Enloe, Kamla Bhasin, Vaishnavi Sundar, Rabia Nasimi, and Anam Zakaria, among others.

Digital Advocacy[edit]

The initiative runs digital media campaigns that serve a two-pronged strategy: online stakeholding and awareness, and offline dialogue building and exchange. Some campaigns include: More than my Body and Break a Gender Stereotype. We also participate in the 16 Days of Activism against VAW and He For She. The Break a Gender Stereotype Campaign was awarded by Femvertising in 2016 with the People's Choice Award.[21] The initiative has also collaborated with and supported other organizations on their campaigns, including one to fight the normalization of stalking in Indian cinema.[22][23] They also supported the United Nations in its MyWorld Campaign through the collection of votes using online advocacy.[24][25] The initiative partnered with the US Consulate at Chennai for its Pride Month event in 2016.[26] They also supported the Her Story Wikipedia Editathon campaign in August 2016.[27] The team also represented as part of the Civil Society Committee Members in choosing questions from the civil society to ask candidates standing for the office of the UN Secretary General.[28]

In addition, the initiative has also successfully undertaken research to inform its work. Offline, the foundation has supported disaster response through aid dispensation and support for different communities during the Nepal earthquake,[29] the Manipur earthquake,[30] and the floods in Chennai.[31][32]


The Red Elephant Foundation won the Femvertising in 2016 with the People's Choice Award for its campaign called Breaking Gender Stereotypes.[21] They were also finalists in the Social Media for Empowerment Awards 2017, in the Women's Empowerment category.[33] They were finalists in the Early Stage Innovation Category for the mBillionth Awards 2017 for their mobile app, Saahas.[34] The Red Elephant Foundation was awarded the Outstanding NGO Award by FICCI FLO at Chennai in February 2018.[35] They also won the UN Online Volunteering Award, 2017. [36]

The list of awards are as follows:

  • People's Choice Award, 2016 (Femvertising)
  • Finalists (Women's Empowerment), 2017 (Social Media for Empowerment Awards, 2017 (DEF India))
  • Finalists (Early Stage Innovation Category), 2017 (mBillionth Awards, 2017 (DEF India))
  • Outstanding NGO Award, 2018 (FICCI FLO, 2018)
  • UN Online Volunteering Award, 2018 (UNV, 2018)
  • Finalists (Women's Empowerment), 2018 (Social Media for Empowerment Awards, 2018 (DEF India))[37]


  1. ^ a b "The Red Elephant Foundation: A Small Initiative with a Big Impact - Young Feminist Wire". Young Feminist Wire. 2014-06-06. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  2. ^ "Non-Governmental Organizations Committee Recommends 46 Groups for Special Status, Defers Action on 48 in Third Day of Session | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases". Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  3. ^ a b Pulse, Kirthi Jayakumar / World. "Why Telling Difficult Stories Is So Important". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  4. ^ Lazarus, Susanna Myrtle (2016-06-15). "Bringing change from Chennai to DC". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  5. ^ ThemeXpose. "Cry Love, Build Peace". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  6. ^ ThemeXpose. "Making a Choice". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  7. ^ ThemeXpose. "Feminist Musings". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  8. ^ ThemeXpose. "Addressing Xenophobia through writing". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  9. ^ ThemeXpose. "The Woman behind WMF". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  10. ^ "Beyond Violence". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  11. ^ "#MEET ChalkPeace and GBV Help Map - Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition". Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition. 2017-08-10. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  12. ^ "An Editathon for social change". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2016-11-28.
  13. ^ "How we use technology to bridge the gap in access to services for GBV survivors | World Pulse". World Pulse. 2016-08-12. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  14. ^ "Read the Report". Youth Solutions Report. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  15. ^ "A voice for the vulnerable". 2017-08-14. Retrieved 2017-08-14.
  16. ^ "Apps that make women brave". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  17. ^ "Why I Created The Saahas App For Survivors Of Gender Based Violence To Find Help". Women's Web: For Women Who Do. 2017-08-21. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  18. ^ "A voice for the vulnerable". 2017-08-14. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  19. ^ "Pocket aids keep you safe in dark alleys, at late hours - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  20. ^ a b "Changing minds, one home at a time - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  21. ^ a b "The #Femvertising Awards celebrate brands that challenge gender stereotypes, but men need to get on board". SheKnows. 2016-09-27. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  22. ^ "A movement to keep stalking out of films - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  23. ^ "Online Petition Urges Tamil Filmmakers To Stop Portraying Stalking As A 'Cool' Way To Woo Women". Huffington Post India. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  24. ^ 2015, MY World (2014-08-18). "#REF4Women: Advocating for Women in Development through MY World 2015". UN SDG Action Campaign. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  25. ^ ""Rallying People's Support for Gender Equality in the Post-2015 Development Agenda" - Young Feminist Wire". Young Feminist Wire. 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  26. ^ "'Infighting among gay community should now end' - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  27. ^ "Writing women into Wikipedia with the United Nations: the #HERstory editathons – Wikimedia Blog". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  28. ^ "Inner City Press: Investigative Reporting from the United Nations". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  29. ^ Rajagopalan, Priyanka (2015-05-01). "Off to the rescue". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  30. ^ Lakshmi, K. (2016-01-23). "When flood relief lessons proved useful to Manipur". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  31. ^ "Agam Sei - Jan 2016". Issuu. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  32. ^ "After the rains". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  33. ^ "SM4E 2017". social media for empowerment. Retrieved 2017-04-17.
  34. ^ "mBillionth Award South Asia". Retrieved 2017-08-14.
  35. ^ "FICCI FLO Women Achievers Awards 2018". View7media. 2018-03-01. Retrieved 2018-03-02.
  36. ^ "Blog | UNV Online Volunteering service". Retrieved 2018-03-24.
  37. ^ "Shortlisted 2018". social media for empowerment. Retrieved 2018-05-24.