India has the largest youth population in the world, estimated at 189 million (as per 2011 census) young people in the age group of 15-24 years. Our focus is particularly on this group of young people who are on the threshold of entering careers, starting families and getting into relationships. The decisions that they take and the choices they make have a great impact on how the relationships between men and women are defined as well as their sexual and reproductive behaviours. Also, they are the future leaders of media, advertising, politics, business, administration etc. In order to promote gender sensitivity and critical thinking among the students to enable them to make informed choices, Population First has undertaken a number of activities with the college students since its launch in 2005. These activities started under the banner of Maadhyam – Youth for change, which was subsequently re-launched as Change Makers Clubs in colleges in 2012.
Activities under our youth initiatives are as follows:
Curriculum Based Activities:
Population First has been making an effort to ensure that gender sensitivity becomes an integral part of the curriculum transaction in class rooms. During our interactions in colleges it was observed that the foundation course which deals with social issues and is compulsory for all graduate students is often not given due importance by students and the teachers. Thus a good opportunity to initiate a discussion with them on these critical issues in their class rooms is lost. To help teachers engage the students in a dialogue we have developed a resource CD that addressed the topics of the foundation course using attractive presentations, audio-visual material, statistics and details about NGOs working on the issues. It was disseminated widely through the Women Development Department of Mumbai University.
We also actively engage with the teachers to incorporate gender issues in their curriculum related activities. Some important initiatives include, surveys conducted by students of Sophia college and SK Somaiya college on gender discrimination and violence , a conference organized by the Psychology Department of Sophia College which highlighted the issue of violence and the mechanisms of coping with the same.
Gender Sensitization Workshop/discussion forums:
Theatre and activity based gender sensitization workshops/discussion forums are an important element our youth initiatives. These workshops provide an open and non-judgmental space for the students to discuss issues related to gender discrimination, stereotypes and gender based violence. The aim of these workshops is to build the capacities of the young people to define more equal gender roles and work towards violence and discrimination free colleges, communities and homes. Our two-day training module, “Self- empowerment to Social Transformation” has been well received in the colleges. Apart from perspective building and sensitization the module also focuses on life skills required to negotiate better gender equations at home and in the workplaces as well as in public spaces. . (Read more
Communication Training Programs:
If youth were to play the role of change makers they have to be equipped with the right kind of communication skills. A number of training programmes are organized in puppetry, film making, street theatre and song development to engage the students in communicating about key social issues at the community level. An opportunity is provided to the students to use those skills in the community through our community based activities during the annual Ganesh festival in Mumbai.
College Campaigns: Population
First has been organizing a number youth fests in the colleges with a number of
competitions for the students on themes related to gender discrimination and
Workshops and Training Programs for Teachers: It was observed that to mainstream gender discussions into classrooms it is
imperative that teachers have the required facilitation skills. Population
First in collaboration with SNDT University’s Women’s Resource Centre and
Department of PGDSR has developed four modules to promote facilitation skills
among the teachers, which are being disseminated widely among the teachers
. (Read more
Change Makers Club: Laadli
Change Makers Club was launched on 27th September 2011, at Patkar Hall, SNDT. It signaled a change in strategy with the NSS and WDC departments to organise gender sensitization programs in colleges with the support of Population First. The aim was to initiate a dialogue between college students on gender issues and allow them to take further initiatives on the cause. (Read More
1MM Film :
Population First organised a unique college campaign called “One Minute Movie (1MM)”, which involves two of the most important agents of social change and the true voices of the nation- Youth and Media. This is the first initiative under Change Makers Clubs, where students are encouraged to reflect on their own gender perceptions and values to raise pertinent questions about gender inequality and violence. The challenge then is to present the question through the creative medium of film making and convey the message effectively in a one minute movie (1MM) (Read More
Innovative Activities: A number of innovative activities are organized with the college students
which include Wall painting, quiz competitions, walkathons, bus rides and
participation in Mumbai Marathon