As we work to end child marriage, it is more important than ever to acknowledge the gender disparity that exists in our society. It is important to understand and distinguish between the terms sex, gender and sexuality, and apply this in our vocabulary. It is also important to work with adolescents by putting them at the centre of programme designs.
This means our approach needs to be based on the understanding of what young people want, hear and see, what media content are they exposed to, what better future they see in early marriage. It is even more important to acknowledge that we as facilitators have perceptions influenced by our own experiences, and that this might be different to the young people we work with.
This curriculum explores storytelling as a means to understand underlying concepts and structures that lead to child marriage. It is designed to help deconstruct the social perceptions and popular influences that impact individuals across all genders in our society.
To date, over 100 youth workers from Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have been trained to create and use stories to have more engaging and meaningful conversations in their adolescent and youth groups. During the workshops, all participants created and shared one story based on a topic relevant to their work on gender in their local contexts. From these submissions, we selected 35 stories to feature in this toolkit. The toolkit is available in English and Hindi.
Every story is written by a youth worker and then edited by the Master Trainer of this project, Ms. Angana Prasad, who has been creatively using stories to drive change for almost a decade, through her work in Uttar Pradesh.