Youth Leadership

Building Knowledge and Strategies of young people so they can access and protect their fundamental rights.

This is the core programmatic area which aims to reach out to young people across sectors – such as directly in communities, schools, colleges, NGOs, youth groups, yuva mandals, political parties, etc. This program intends to help them develop their expressions, gain an awareness of critical lenses such as of gender, rights and justice, and develop strategies to become rights-bearing and responsible members of society.

The primary focus is development of girls and young women, who are the most excluded from leadership and democratic processes. This is done through trainings with youth on body literacy, sexuality, accessing rights & resources such as education & health, expression, democratic participation and leadership – with strong focus on gender equity. The following programs are running currently under this:

Youth Leadership for Community Development

Two youth groups have been developed – one in semi-rural community of Kolegaon, Thane District, and one in urban community of Bamanwada in Vile Parle (East), Mumbai, where young women and men:

  • Learn critical life skills
  • Gain awareness of rights, resources, responsibilities and social change
  • Access internet, library, education coaching & scholarships at the community centre
  • Avail of mentoring and counselling
  • Engage with their community and outside stakeholders towards the goal of overall community development.

Raahi

Raahi is a youth network of socially aware and responsible youth from CST in Mumbai to Dombivali in Thane District and Khopoli in Raigad District, who have come together to create a common platform to meet, debate and act on youth concerns. Raahi currently consists of 25 core members. Existing members have taken lead in campaigns for equal sexual rights of women, and for promoting constitutional values. They are also taking up interventions in nearby communities on building youth leadership for social change.

Stakeholder Sensitisation

Developing sensitivity of stakeholders so that they contribute to a supportive environment for youth and their rights.

This is the second programmatic area which aims to reach out to stakeholders in the family, community, government and administration who have a stake in youth development and whose support is essential for effecting social change. The program plans to build their legal awareness of rights, gain critical lenses such as of gender and justice, and strengthen their engagement with people so as to be sensitive and effective.

The primary focus is for women and girls in these stakeholder groups to gain awareness, and realise their role in creating systems that are more supportive of people’s rights. Activities are currently running with the following groups under this:

Government Stakeholders

Training teachers, health workers, police, sanitation workers, public administration officials, elected representatives on understanding their own & people’s rights, and their responsibility in upholding these rights.

Corporate and NGO workers

Training on legal rights in the workplace and home eg. POSH Act 2013, DV Act 2005, POCSO Act 2012, Mental Healthcare Act 2017, etc., skills like presentation, communication & teamwork, understanding gender equality, group bonding, leadership, social responsibility.

Awareness & Advocacy

Advocating systemic, attitudinal and policy changes that promote equity, justice and rights.

In this third programmatic area, we advocate with communities, activists, NGOs, networks, government agencies, policy-makers and decision-makers so as to bring about fundamental changes in ideologies, attitudes, behaviour, traditions, laws and policies so that they are not discriminatory, patriarchal or oppressive.

The primary focus is for girls, women and other young people that we work with to design and lead these awareness and advocacy initiatives with various stakeholders. 

This is done through:

  • Public meetings, film screenings, street play performances, song performances, presentations, etc.
  • Advocacy activities such as running campaigns, joining and building networks, letter-writing/signature campaigns/formal complaints/legal action, drafting laws/policies/plans
  • Research, surveys, and audits to study and generate data about overlooked issues
  • Organisation and participation in seminars & conferences
  • Creation of resources such as books, films, posters, training modules

Campaigns currently running under this are:

Sharir Sanvaad Abhiyan

This campaign’s ultimate goal is ensuring sexual equity, dignity and rights for all. The campaign’s current objective is upholding women’s rights to sexuality, sexual health and body dignity. It is working at various levels – making women, men and youth aware of their and others’ sexual health & rights; sensitising stakeholders like health workers, corporators, etc. about their responsibility in providing dignified sexual & reproductive health services; interviewing doctors, nurses, and women as part of a research on side-effects of invasive contraceptive methods overwhelmingly used on female bodies.

The Mumbai regional Family Welfare Department and the Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation’s top leadership have taken notice of the campaign’s demands which we follow up with regular meetings. We have started our program of ‘Safety in Higher Education’ as part of this.

Hum Sanvidhanvaadi

This is a campaign to promote the understanding of constitutional values, as a unifying and democratic response to current divisive ideologies such as caste-ism, gender discrimination, language-based discrimination, etc.

Under this campaign, we have started our unique programs of ‘Constitution Literacy’ and ‘Youth Mental Health Justice’ which are mainly based in colleges.