16 Days of Activism

16 Days of Activism

This year the theme of the 16 days of activism has been a continuation of our last year’s campaign #EmpowermentNotAge which has been a part of our larger campaign, Bano Nayi Soch. 

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international event that runs for 16 days from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, until 10 December, Human Rights Day. This year’s event marks 30 years since its first commemoration in 1991. The event is a platform used by organizations and activists globally to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

The highlight of this year’s campaign was the Oxfam India-Agents of Ishq song #SorryThankYouTataByeBye. The song, launched on 29 November, in its unique, fun and engaging way dresses issues of consent, choice and agency especially when it comes to age of marriage. Through this song we reached out to youth, the middle and marginalised class along with some institutional stakeholders like CSOs working on the issue of Child, Early and Forced Marriages (CEFM), schools and universities.The song advocates for measures that stimulate delay in age of marriage in girls through education, healthcare and livelihoods

While the song was central to our online mobilisation and advocacy, it was the highly motivated and enthusiastic grassroots on-ground activities that marked the 16 Days of Activism in our five states—UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.

An inter-state youth festival was organised in Odisha. During the youth festival, the youngsters, through dance, drama, street plays, art and films, showed innovative methods adopted by them to prevent gender-based violence and challenge social norms. Ten young Changemakers were felicitated for their outstanding work in their communities and being agents of change. They were Ankush Kumar Kushwaha and Nandani Kumari from Bihar, Bhumika Banjare and Mahesh Sarathi from Chattisgarh, Kajal Sanga and Gayatri Kumari from Jharkhand, Ashok kumar Dunguri and Laxmipriya Naik from Odisha, and Shasibala and Maneesh Kumar from Uttar Pradesh.

In Uttar Pradesh, the campaign was done in partnership with various NGOs, and alliance and networks such as Fight Inequality Alliance, Red Brigade Trust, and Awadh Peoples Forum, among others. Candle marches, rallies, meetings, cycle rallies, puppet shows, and song screening were done across the state in Lucknow, Varanasi, Ghazipur, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Raebareli, Pratapgarh and Faizabad. 

In Chhattisgarh, we engaged with schools, universities, media and block level community leaders in  Raipur, Dhurkot, Jangir Champa, Gariaband and Kawardha through youth gram sabhas, rallies and group discussions. Oxfam India also conducted a state level event with Pandit Ravi Shankar university in Raipur which had eminent guests like Prof. Reeta Venugopal, Director, CWS, Pandit Ravi Shankar university, Prof. Keshari Lal Verma, Vice-Chancellor, Pt. Ravishankar Shukla University, Ms. Himani Khanna (IPS), DIG, CID, Raipur and Ms. Melina Kurre AIG, CID, Raipur

Jharkhand saw mobilisation in the form of information on wheels flagged off by DDC Lohardaga. Besides the mobile van, there were film screenings, group discussions and wall paintings in Lohardaga, Gumla, and Simdega. These activities saw participation from SHGs, block level federations, PRI members, religious leaders and college students.

Bihar saw active engagement in Basantpur, Siwan, Nalanda and Patna. Film screenings, film appreciation workshops, nukkad naatak and drawing and painting competitions were held among  youth, influencers, ASHAs, elected representative, parents and teachers. 

As part of the larger advocacy efforts of the campaign, we connected all the youth with our recently launched online gender course so that they could further expand their understanding on issues of gender, violence, and CEFM. The course was inaugurated by Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel in an online event on 15 Nov. More than 300 young people have signed up for the course as of now. Additionally, letters and signature campaigns, against increasing the age of marriage to 21,& were carried out in all five states. These will be submitted to respective Women and Child Departments (WCDs) and ministries.

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