Many Fletcher students plan to launch an initiative after they have graduated, but recently there has been a trend toward students starting an NGO or similar organization before enrolling or while pursuing their degrees.  New graduate Gaurav Tiwari is one of those, and I checked in with him to ask what his organization, EmpowerID, is all about.

Gaurav told me that he started EmpowerID along with fellow students at MIT, all of whom have some international development experience.  (The ID in EmpowerID stands for International Development.)  Gaurav has worked in the field over the last several years in various capacities — as a field researcher in the slums of Delhi, as a policy analyst in Washington D.C., and as a practitioner for a Nairobi-based startup called Sanergy.  He wrote that he found that “the practice of development lacked information-sharing and sustainability, which are crucial to success in any project.”

(I should note that Gaurav was a member of a Sanergy team that won the Tufts $100K Business Plan Competition and the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition in 2011.)

EmpowerID was born when Gaurav and his colleagues decided that providing the medium for sharing information would help development practitioners.  They created an online portal, through which practitioners could share information about their projects and maximize the impact and efficiency of development initiatives.  The list of projects shared through is already quite impressive!

As further background, Gaurav gave me a few bullet-points on the project.

• is a knowledge sharing platform which links communities, development practitioners and all other stakeholders in order to maximize impact and efficiency of development initiatives.
• blends the virtues of social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Devex, and seeks to build an online community for practitioners, volunteers, and organizations in the field of international development.
•    EmpowerID aims to revolutionize the way international development is practiced across the world.

And Gaurav has been seeking to draw Fletcher students into the operation.  In a end-of-semester email to the community, he wrote:

We are working on an online platform to publicize successful international development projects and the lessons learned, with the goal of increasing their impact and helping future volunteers to build off previous successful work!  We would like to feature YOUR projects on our online platform, and share lessons that you all have learned in your time in the field with the rest of the global international development community!

Blog readers, if you have experience in international development to share, why not connect to EmpowerID by signing up and describing your project!

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2 Responses to EmpowerID

  1. Good luck, Gaurav!

  2. Gaurav Tiwari says:

    Thank you for featuring us, Fletcher!!

    I encourage all the blog readers to share their international development projects with EmpowerID. We have already posted several projects from MIT’s D-Lab and Engineers Without Borders on the website. You can e-mail me or fill out the form online ( which takes only a few minutes. We need your support!!

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