As 2023 drew to a close, Equal Community Foundation (ECF) celebrated a transformative period marked by the resounding success of its Gender Transformative Programmes. The climax of the #16DaysOfActivism against Gender-Based Violence reflected a chorus of voices advocating for change and fostering safer, more inclusive communities.
At the onset of the crucial international campaign, ECF reaffirmed its commitment to collaborating with individuals and organisations, emphasising the theme, “UNITE! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls.” The organisation’s primary focus on Gender Transformative Programmes has been a pivotal strategy for over a decade, fostering lasting change by engaging boys over a decade in the prevention of gender-based violence.
Throughout these 16 days, ECF shone the first spotlight on the invaluable contributions of its alumni, who led compelling panel discussions on addressing gender-based violence from men’s perspectives. These discussions not only marked proud milestones for ECF but also inspired a vision of a world free from gender-based violence.
During these #16Days, we’ve observed compelling and remarkable narratives that have captured our focus on the transformations evident among the programme's participants, parents, and also our alumni. It’s been a journey from continuity to evolution in the learning process, marked by standout stories.
Saloni’s Story: Redefining Gender Equality
Saloni, an alumni and participant in our Gender Transformative Programme, resonates deeply as she voices a crucial truth:
“Every girl deserves freedom, free of violence, and ought to enjoy all her rights.”Saloni
Her words compel us to rethink societal perceptions about gender equality and girls’ rights.
Shubham’s Courageous Stand for Inclusivity
Shubham exemplifies courage in our community by supporting a schoolmate facing bullying for their choice of attire. Shubham shared:
“I stood up for my friend because being yourself matters.”Shubham
His leadership in promoting inclusivity sets a powerful example, fostering a safe space for all.
Sakshi’s Transformative Journey
Sakshi’s transformation during #16DaysofActivism showcases the power of change and creating a safe space for all genders. Through Antarang sessions, she gone into a profound shift in mindset, challenging traditional gender roles and embracing equality:
“I believe in the impact of education and open dialogue which help in reshaping my perceptions about equality.”Sakshi
Omkar’s Drive for Equality in Festivities
Omkar challenges stereotypes by embracing equality in household responsibilities during festive seasons. He shared:
“This is my home, our celebrations are everyone’s joy. Everyone should enjoy and equally contribute to the festivities.”Omkar
His belief in shared joy and contribution in celebrations creates a narrative of equality in traditionally gendered roles.
Celebrating Support for Girls’ Education
“I have three daughters, and my state supports their aspirations and fosters a belief in education. I firmly stand for encouraging them to chase after their dreams without any limitations.”Anonymous father
A father’s dedication to supporting his daughters’ dreams and education is commendable. His commitment fosters an environment where every individual, regardless of gender, can pursue aspirations freely.
Embracing Diversity and Inclusivity with Kshitij
Kshitij advocates for creating a #SafeSpace for all genders, emphasising support for individual expression.
“I feel that – let’s be there for each other, supporting the way individuals want to express or see themselves. At our core, it’s about creating a #SafeSpace for all genders.”Kshitij
Kritika’s Message on Consent
Kritika’s emphasis on consent as fundamental to respect and dignity aligns with our goal of creating safe spaces. It’s a reminder that consent is a human right, essential for a safe and heard world. Kritika added during the interview:
“I feel the importance of respecting boundaries and understanding that consent is needed for respect and dignity.”Kritika
Prithviraj’s Call for Equality and Respect
Prithviraj stands against discrimination, advocating for a #SafeSpaceForAllGenders. He emphasises equality, respect, and understanding, fostering a community built on these values. He shared with empathy:
“I used to tease my friends, but I’ve realised the effects it can have on someone.”Prithviraj
Ending Child Marriage: Upholding Consent and Mental Health
Kailash highlights the severe impact of child and forced marriages on mental health.
“The impact of child marriage is severe, and our society overlooks the significance of consent.”Kailash
He stresses the importance of consent, urging an end to these practices to protect youth well-being.
Taking Action Against Violence: Vinayak’s Call for Responsible Behaviour
Vinayak sheds light on the detrimental impact of violence on youth and advocates for responsible action. He urges taking a stand to end all forms of violence.
“It’s crucial for us to take a stand and actively work towards putting an end to violence in all its forms.”Vinayak
The stories of these participants, their aspirations, challenges, and calls for action will continue to inspire ECF’s efforts in the year ahead. The journey is far from over, but with these voices resonating, the path towards a world free from discrimination and violence becomes clearer, offering hope for a more equitable future.
Join ECF in celebrating these diverse voices, embracing equality, and advocating for change. Let us walk hand in hand towards a society in another new year to build on respect, understanding, and equality for all genders.
Disclaimer: The opinion and views have been expressed solely of the individual mentioned, not belonging to the organisation.
In the time it has taken to read this article 54 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
That is 23 girls every minute
Nearly 1 every 2 seconds