Youth-led Campaigns to Prevent Violence Against Women
“We want the liquor shop to be moved away from our school”–Jaipur
“A female staff should also be in the school bus”—Kalimpong
“ Boys and girls in school should play sports together”—Banda
Many such actions have emerged from year- long KBC interventions in 11 different locations in UP, Haryana, Bihar, Delhi, Rajasthan & West Bengal.
More than 4350 youth (55% girls amongst them) have been mobilised over the past year to understand gender discrimination in their own lives, and to work together to prevent violence and discrimination in their families and communities.
Nearly 813 youth (more than half girls) have taken leadership to organise a variety of cultural and sports activities in their schools/colleges and communities to demonstrate that boys and girls can do so in public spheres. In the process, they reached out to half a million people directly with their messages.
These youth leaders have undertaken 65 PSAs (Participatory Safety Audits) of their neighbourhoods, schools, markets, panchayats and hospitals to identify places that are unsafe for girls and women. In the process, these youth have learnt to respect different ways in which girls and boys have been taught to conduct themselves in public spaces.
Results of these PSAs have been systematically presented to police stations, school principals, legal aid officials, child protection officers, media and district administration, demanding responsive and accountable actions to prevent violence against women.
As Government of India completes two years of its programme on ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ (Save Daughter, Educate Daughter), it may find valuable lessons from KBC campaigns in these 11 locations:
- Boys & girls learn together causes of gender discrimination from their daily lives
- Sports and cultural activities support breaking of gender stereotypes not only amongst youth, but also their families and community
- Building youth leadership to undertake joint actions for making their homes, communities, schools and public spaces safe for girls and women facilitates their empowerment
- Youth leadership can use Participatory Safety Audits to demand responsive and accountable actions by various public and private institutions
Dr. Rajesh Tandon is one of the Founder Directors of MFF (Martha Farrell Foundation), the Founder President of PRIA (Participatory Research in Asia), and Co-Chair, UNESCO Chair on Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education, living in Delhi, India. He completed his graduation from IIT, Kanpur and post-graduation from IIM, Kolkata, and received his PhD from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, United States. He is an internationally acclaimed leader and practitioner of participatory research and development. Dr. Tandon specialises in social and organisational change and has contributed to the enhancement of perspectives and capacities of many voluntary activists and organizations. He has served on numerous government task forces and committees, and is the founder of the Board of Directors of World Alliance for Citizen Participation (CIVICUS). He has written a number of articles, books and manuals on Participatory Research and related topics.