Youth from five states have come together to share their stories of social changes while working on preventing gender-based violence in their communities
Bhubaneswar, 30 November 2021| Around 130 young changemakers gathered in Bhubaneswar, Odisha to share their experiences in fighting gender-based violence in their communities at the Oxfam India Inter-State Youth Festival. The two-day festival was inaugurated by Amitabh Behar (CEO, Oxfam India), Prof. Aparajita Chowdhury (Vice-Chancellor, Ramadevi Women’s University), Sukirti Patnaik (Woman Entrepreneur and Convener of Indian Chamber of Commerce Women’s Entrepreneurship Committee) and feminist writer Sarojini Sahu.
Oxfam India has been implementing a campaign titled “Bano Nayi Soch, Buno Hinsha Mukt Rishtey” to address social norms or gender norms those underpin violence against women within domestic and community spaces. The central theme of this campaign for this year is #EmpowermentNotAge which aims to create nuanced conversation about girls’ age of marriage.
“Oxfam India has been engaging with youth in communities and in universities through this Inter-State Youth Festival. As a result of Oxfam India’s intervention with nearly 25000 youth in 5 states, many youths have demonstrated their leadership and are promoting women’s rights in their respective communities in terms of sharing care work, promoting equal right for education of their sisters, demanding equal wage for women by engaging with Panchayat Raj Institution members, addressing many other forms of violence and also supporting women to access justice systems and social entitlement,” said Amitabh Behar.
Chief Guest Prof. Aparajita Chowdhury said, “There is need for more engagement with men especially youth for brining equality in the society. There have been efforts to sensitize men, but these are not adequate. Hence, we are not getting the desired results. More and more conversation and engagement is needed”.
The Guest of Honour Sarojini Sahu said, “We have to ensure the bodily autonomy of girls. Due to prevalence of gender norms, multiple forms of violence such as female foeticide and domestic violence are happening. Women’s economic rights need to be ensured to enable them to break the silence around these forms of violence”
Our other Guest of Honour, Sukirti Paitnaik shared her journey from an IT professional to a successful businesswoman. She was an inspiration for the youth.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the youth leaders have been instrumental in raising the issues of women and girls facilitating access of women to different services including services to mitigate violence. The data captured by National Crime Record Bureau and in different rounds of National Family Health Survey (NFHS) shows widespread prevalence of violence against women across India and Odisha. As per NFHS-4 conducted in the year 2015-16 has recorded that in Odisha 35.2% of ever married women aged 15-49 years experienced spousal violence.
During the youth festival, the youngsters showed innovative methods adopted by them to prevent gender-based violence and challenge social norms. This included dance, drama, street plays, art and films. The youth was felicitated by the guests for their outstanding work in their communities and being agents of change.
The 10 youth felicitated 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
Besides the felicitated youth, 170 youth leaders from 5 states Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and UP along with the students of Utkal University, R.D. Women’s University, BJB Autonomous College and U.N.Autonomous college, Adaspur participated in the festival. An exhibition of photovoice stories on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights of youth was also held on the sidelines.
The cultural competition on the theme of #EmpowermentNotAge was held in which the youth participated in categories such as skit, painting and poem.
For more information, contact Rukmini Panda (+91 9439339388)
About Oxfam India
Oxfam India is a movement of people working to end discrimination and create a free and just society. We work to ensure that Adivasis, Dalits, Muslims, and women and girls have safe violence-free lives with freedom to speak their mind, equal opportunities to realize their rights, and a discrimination-free future.
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