#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 10°C Thursday 29 October 2020

This non-profit wants to start up 100 projects across the country in 100 days

ChangeX aims to help communities start up their own projects to help improve their lives.

Founder Paul O'Hara launching ChangeX100 earlier this week.
Founder Paul O'Hara launching ChangeX100 earlier this week.
Image: ChangeX

FOR MOST IDEAS, the first step is usually the hardest to complete.

Even when you know what the solution is, the planning, figuring out the resources needed and a way to make it work can leave most ideas on the drawing board. For most rural communities, such initiatives fall on the people themselves but

That’s the aim of ChangeX, a non-profit entity which wants to bridge the gap between communities and ideas that will help improve lives.

Things like volunteer rapid response unit, improving awareness of mental health issues and holding courses to improve digital literacy skills are offered as a way to improve the wellbeing of those in each community.

All of these are volunteer-led and for the founder Paul O’Hara, it was his experience in the social entrepreneur space (those who try to tackle social problems with different solutions) and working in different countries that sparked the idea.

“Having worked in different countries, I could see these great ideas that were relevant to an Irish audience or Irish ideas that were relevant in an international context,” explained O’Hara. “There are all these great ideas across the world but they’re usually hard to find, and even harder to get started if you find them.”

“There are all these great things that will make communities stronger… we did want to measurably improve the well-being of communities by getting more of these going and that’s the ultimate ambition.”

While the platform is gearing up for a major increase, it was originally launched back in May where the idea has been tested out. Its first test was in the Burren region where initiatives like CoderDojo, Men’s Shed clubs and DIY groups were set up, which helped it learn what worked and what needed improvement before the platform was expanded.

Source: ChangeX/YouTube

For now, there are twenty ideas on the site that communities across the country can adopt but the important part behind each idea is they’re been proven to work. It wouldn’t make sense to include one that is vague or requires significant resources to get started.

“The ideas on the site would be already working in different communities either in Ireland or internationally,” says O’Hara. ”Once an idea begins to spread to multiple communities, there’s a fair chance that it’s effective because otherwise communities wouldn’t pick it up.”

And ensuring that these ideas are picked up is important. alongside the five-step guides for each initiative, there’s a mentoring process from those who have already been successful getting an idea up and running.

The next step is to have their own page on ChangeX allowing communities to recruit more volunteers, organise events and hold crowdfunding campaigns. The group doesn’t fund projects itself – it’s a non-profit funded by donations from the tech community and venture capitalists – but most projects don’t require much, if any, funding to get up and running.

For now, the immediate aim is to bring 100 initiatives within 100 days, brought by the launch of its ChangeX100 initiative, but while it’s ambitious, is it achievable? O’Hara feels it’s a bit of both.

I think it’s doable. It’s definitely considered ambitious… [and] it’s a lot within a small space of time, but the ideas are strong.

Read: Facebook now has options for users who don’t want to be called male or female >

Read: Toys for robots, a wine pouring machine and bellybutton swabs. The homes of the future… >

About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

Read next: