How to Leverage Your Network to Create Social Impact

January 8, 2020


If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together

Anyone involved in creating positive impact knows: Creating social change is a marathon, not a sprint. Not only does social innovation require buy-in from stakeholders and communities, but it also requires like-minded individuals who can challenge your perspectives and support you as an individual on your journey and your organization as well. That’s why, at Amani Institute, our Social Innovation Management Program invites Fellows from all over the world (with 490 alumni in over 60 countries!), with extremely varied professional backgrounds. Learn how some of the Fellows have leveraged this network of changemakers to create impact.

Bhairavi Prakash, India 
Social Innovation Management Fellow in 2018
Founder, Mithra Trust

During a class on how to  ‘Create and Manage a Social Venture’, Bhairavi used her venture, Mithra Trust, which focuses on mental health, as one of the case studies the class of Social Innovation Management Fellows would work with. During the 20-hour Professional Skills Course, the Social Innovation Management Fellows helped Bhairavi clarify Mithra’s messaging so that it would better connect with the people Mithra aims to support. This was directly applicable as she was working on Mithra’s website at the time. She said “As a founder, you’ve got to be certain about what you want to do and have data to validate this. You’ve also got to have a network and support system. We’re not taught to ask for help or advice, but it’s important.” – It certainly is safer and more productive to ask for input and feedback from peers who bring a wealth of perspectives to the table. 

Farhana Parker, South Africa and Renata Mendes, Brazil 
Social Innovation Management Fellows in 2015-2016

It is not only during the program but especially afterward when the community of practice plays an important role in the development of social innovators. In March 2019, Farhana Parker, founder of Social Makeover, and Renata Mendes, founder of Instituto Mundo Aflora, held an event together in Cape Town, South Africa to strengthen an ecosystem of women creating change. Farhana said “Exactly three years ago, I met Renata Mendes when studying at Amani Institute’s – Social Innovation Management course in Sao Paulo, Brazil. We agreed that one day we would do something awesome together to support other women on their changemaking journeys. We made it happen. I believe this is the start of something phenomenal. When women support each other, incredible things happen.” This event focused on how women can create social impact, while also taking care of their well-being to build resilience and longevity for their careers. 

Gianmarco Marinello, Switzerland and Sriram Damodaran, India 
Social Innovation Management Fellows in Kenya in 2016 
Co-Founders, Nai Nami

As a part of the Social Innovation Management Program, Fellows complete a Social Innovation project, focusing on an issue they’ve identified and using the Amani Social Innovation Framework to prototype a potential solution. For this part of the program, Gianmarco and Sriram teamed up and created Nai Nami, which they continued working with long after the program ended. Nai Nami empowers former street kids in Nairobi to become storytellers and give tours of their city. Since January 2019, Nai Nami is fully owned and run by the program guides themselves, having become an apprenticeship host for new Fellows of our program in Kenya.

Watch a short documentary about Nai Nami here

Lucila Sarquis, Belen Cavanagh, Milagro Pereyra Iraola, Gloria Pereyra Zorraquin Social Innovation Management Fellows
Creators, ALT 

In partnership with Amani Institute and the Argentinian social enterprise Njambre, Lucila, Belen, Milagro, and Gloria created ALT, a program which runs in Buenos Aires. ALT, a 2-month program, explores social impact and technology as well as the path to becoming a changemaker, giving participants the tools they need to create social change. Belen said “We wanted to bring more Amani tools for social innovation to our own country in Spanish, for people who may not be able to access them in English.” The desire to build careers around social impact is growing everywhere in the world, with many young professionals – and some seasoned professionals as well – looking for opportunities to learn how to create positive social change beyond volunteering.

We are also running other programs in partnership with Amani Fellows. Learn more here.

Cassia Suguinoshita, Brazil 
Social Innovation Management Fellow in India, 2018
Junior Manager of Brand Partnerships, Ethical Apparel Africa

After learning tools in the Social Innovation Management Program, such as effective mentoring and networking hacks, Cassia reached out to the CEO of her current organization. She was connected to Ethical Apparel Africa through her apprenticeship during the program, at Jacob’s Well. She said, “Having transitioned to the social sector, I realized it requires a lot of personal transformation and reflection. By changing to a career of purpose, I have faced some shocking realities, which I wouldn’t have if I was just working in a regular job. In these moments, having the Amani Institute community to reach out to, to share these reflections and challenges with, is very valuable and strengthens all of us.”

This is just a few examples of how Fellows work together around the world – others collaborate with local partners and other changemaker networks like the Global Shapers or Ashoka. They have one thing in common: the conviction that we can, and must, do better as humanity. Are you looking to find your tribe of like-minded social innovators? Check out Amani Institute’s Post-Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation Management. In only 6 months (2 online and 4 in Bengaluru, Nairobi or São Paulo), the program provides you with the skills, the experience and the network to accelerate your career in the social impact sector.

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