In August 2018, I had this amazing opportunity to use my skills to teach six young leaders from Dakshinpuri, Delhi, to video document the young voices  of urban slum young girls and boys in Delhi on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights. Through this initiative, I taught young people to produce their own digital stories on knowledge, access, and availability of Sexual and Reproductive Health Services in their communities. The coolest part of this was that all these videos were not shot on high-end cameras, but using  ordinary mobile phones. The use of mobiles for this cause meant that myself and my group were able to reach the right people affected by the problem and document real life experience from community members.

By the end of the project phase, me and my team were able to produce three short videos and, later, through them we were able to initiate a dialogue between the development actors and the community members on our advocacy asks through a public event. We were able to bring out the voices of young girls and women and their views on gender equality and available services and demand accountability from  power holders.

My engagement with this programme has encouraged me to try new ways of designing development programmes, such as using mobile phones for digital storytelling and advocacy. It has also been very satisfying to witness and experience how shifting development programme design to focus on those affected, has higher acceptance and impact. Most often, it has been the case that the youth-focused programmes are designed and implemented by a privileged few – highly educated and English-speaking young leaders who in most cases might have never experienced the realities of the broken system and the state of affairs for youth from the lowest strata of society.  Although, me and my group of young leaders are yet to witness a new youth friendly service centre (one of our advocacy asks) in the community, I am sure that we will be able to initiate a campaign to bring together the voices of young people and community members to demand their rights.

 

 

Franklin Gnanamuthu is an advocate and a Women Deliver Young Leader. The Women Deliver Young Leaders Program is a catalyst for rising advocates, providing access to small grants, training, a digital university, speaking opportunities, and networking. Since 2010, a total of 700 young people from 138 countries have increased their impact through the award-winning program so far. Many will be coming together in Vancouver this June for Women Deliver 2019, the world’s largest conference on gender equality. This piece was produced in partnership between Women Deliver and Wellbeing for Women.

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