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Here’s How Over 20 Organizations And Activists Came Together To Build Twitter Momentum On The MDGs

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By Mayank Jain:

Statistic 1: Globally, world’s 66 richest people have more wealth than the 3.5 billion poorest people on earth.
Statistic 2: India’s top 3 richest billionaires have the same wealth as the bottom 37 crore people.
Statistic 3: The life expectancy difference between the rich and the poorest is as much as 11 years.

And we thought we were right around the corner of becoming the superpower in a prosperous world.

Year 2000:

The United Nations held a large high level summit to mark the beginning of a new millennium in the year 2000 and all 189 member countries were present. The Assembly attempted to begin the new millennium on an optimistic note and set standards for the whole world to be achieved in the next 15 years. These goals are basic minimum requirements for a progressive world and include objectives like eradicating poverty, hunger, improving maternal health and focusing on environmental protection etc.

The 189 countries present were signatories to these goals and they vowed to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration which prescribed these millennium development goals (MDGs).


Year 2014:

The statistics above remind us of the journey ahead for the achievement of MDGs. Most of them are due for completion as early as 2015. Even as 29 international organizations signed up to work in collaboration with the UN and governments of the respective countries to achieve these objectives, the progress is marginal. Children are out of schools, maternal health is unsatisfactory and the environment continues to be washed off in the name of industrialization in many countries as pollution levels rise and people suffer from diseases of various kinds.

18th August, 2014, marked the final 500 days countdown for the achievement of these MDGs and organizations came together on Twitter to build momentum and re-calibrate focus on these critical issues. While organizations like Amnesty and Oxfam tweeted from around the world along with different arms of UN including UNICEF and UNDP, India built momentum with a 12 hour long tweet-a-thon.

The tweet-a-thon hosted by Youth Ki Awaaz with Wada Na Todo Abhiyaan, focused on each MDG separately in well demarcated sessions and organizations like Save The Children India, Oxfam India, 350.Org and RTE forum led the conversations. Tweets started flowing in from multiple civil society activists and other star campaigners as people caught on and soon tweets with hashtags #MDG500 and #ACT2015 were flooding in.

Rich conversations shaped up in each session as the users took the opportunity of discussing these issues with the panellists. The first two sessions revolved around eradicating poverty, hunger and achieving universal primary education. With Oxfam India and Save The Children on the panel, these are some of the interesting tweets that came in.

The next panel was around ensuring gender equality and gender empowerment. There was a lot of focus on recognition of the third gender and LGBT community. Discrimination against women and inaccessibility to services were also touched upon by participants and organizations alike.

Asia’s progress is critical for the overall progress of the world as we move towards a model of global village where economies are integrated and cultures intermingle. This session focused on internal issues of the Asian countries including rights of differently abled people, internal migration, terrorism etc.

India loses a child every 20 seconds due to preventable diseases and lack of vaccination. The next session focused on reducing child mortality rate and improving maternal health to bolster child care.

Preparedness against deadly diseases and health care is one of the MDGs and the sixth session dealt with epidemics as well as prevention of diseases.

The last two sessions were focused around environment protection and global collaboration for development and the focus areas gained momentum for the final 500 days.

Maybe, Thoreau was right when he said, “What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”

You must be to comment.
  1. Lokchetna Foundation-NGO

    Very dynamic work for your organization. You add this moment to our organization Lokchetna Foundation-NGO.
    Our work generally rural area in India. Child Education, Women Empowerment and Human rights.
    So, Please help us.

    Thanks & Regards

    Dr.Ravi Ranjan Kumar
    Lokchetna Foundation
    E-1, Kishore Enclave
    Patel Nagar
    Harmu, Ranchi-834002
    Jharkhand (India)

    1. Lokchetna Foundation-NGO

      Very dynamic work.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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