The people who know the most about community building are the people who do it every day. More than 1 billion people use Facebook Groups every month. These groups help people build safe, supportive communities and strengthen existing ones.
Community leaders play a critical role in bringing people closer together. In line with this belief, earlier this year, Facebook created the Facebook Community Leadership Program, a global initiative that invests in people building communities.
Today, Facebook announced the 115 people, from across the world, who have been selected into the program as community leaders in residence, fellows and youth participants. From India, Adhunika Prakash from Breastfeeding Support for Indian Moms has been selected out of the five residents globally, and Chetana Misra from Mompreneurs India and Tamanna Dhamija from Baby Destination received fellowships under the Facebook Community Leadership Program.
In June 2013, Adhunika founded Breastfeeding Support for Indian Mothers (BSIM) after seeing the need for an Indian breastfeeding support group for new parents looking for help. It is a peer-to-peer support group primarily for breastfeeding parents. These members are at various stages of their breastfeeding journey, ranging from pregnant to those with older children following natural term nursing. Today, the group has more than 80,000 people from all across the country. Adhunika aims to start working with hospitals in India to help train and support parents, particularly in rural areas.
Founded by Chetana Misra, Mompreneurs India is a community of like-minded women running—or wanting to run—businesses. With a mission to empower women with the skills to start a business and take it online, the platform allows women to network, share knowledge and contacts, and benefit from partnerships
When Tamanna became a mother in New York, she realized that her biggest challenges were the very same ones experienced by women all over the world and that those challenges were even greater for women in India. She moved to India to start Baby Destination to help mothers exchange information and support with one another.
While speaking with the community leaders, we discovered that lack of training, support and funds are common obstacles to having the kind of positive impact on their communities that these leaders envision. Especially designed to address these challenges, Facebook Community Leadership Program offers residency and fellowship to enable extraordinary leaders advance their initiatives and build stronger communities. This initiative reinforces our ongoing commitment to support and empower leaders globally, who are building communities through the Facebook family of apps and services.
At select points over the next year, the participants will spend time at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, working with the team to help develop their community initiatives. Community leaders in residence will be awarded up to $1,000,000, while the fellows and youth participants will receive up to $50,000 to fund their community initiative.