Project Rockit Partners With Social Media Giants
23 October 2018 at 4:18 pm
Facebook and Instagram are investing $1 million into an Australian anti-bullying social enterprise to create a network of young people driving social change.
Project Rockit’s anti-bullying partnership with the social media giants will help put 10,000 digital ambassadors in 600 schools across Australia over the next two years.
Project Rockit co-founder Rosie Thomas said the digital ambassadors program was about creating high school leaders who were ready to stand up to hate and become part of a national movement against bullying.
“We know that cyber bullying and intimidation are really soul destroying experiences that affect way too many young people,” Thomas told Pro Bono News.
“The biggest way to make a dent in these issues is to stop pushing negative messaging onto young people that will only strip away their agency to create change.
“We know that young people can and should be leading these movements and often they just need a bit of help.”
Digital ambassadors in the program will attend workshops, equipping them with tools to fight online bullying, before heading back to their schools, to share their learnings with other students.
Ambassadors will also have access to an online hub, providing ongoing education, tools and resources to connect with other leaders and build a safer digital world.
“This isn’t just another school program or framework,” Thomas said.
“It’s like we’re creating little social change bees that will leave the hive and pollinate their actions against bullying in their own schools.”
Antigone Davis, Facebook’s director and head of global safety, said she was thrilled this partnership would place trained online advocates in high schools across Australia.
“We look forward to getting feedback and input from students that can add even more peer-led ideas and initiatives in the future,” Davis said.
Thomas said when she co-founded Project Rockit with her sister Lucy straight out of high school in 2006, social change ecosystems or incubators in Australia didn’t really exist.
The social enterprise also struggled initially to attract funding from investors or the not-for-profit sector, which Thomas said made Facebook and Instagram’s $1 million commitment so incredible.
“We’ve been working with Facebook and Instagram for five years, and the fact they decided to work with our tiny grassroots organisation is mind blowing for us and has definitely been transformational,” she said.
Thomas added that social enterprises needed to move away from the notion that for-profit and for-purpose were mutually exclusive.
“The way that we see it, for-profits should be thinking and acting for-purpose. And for-purpose organisations should be thinking and acting for-profit,” she said.
“Profit isn’t a dirty word and at Project Rockit we have an enormous ability to create change while remaining sustainable.”