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Will India Achieve The SDGs By 2030? UN Bodies And Govt. Ministries Answer!

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NFI logoEditor’s Note: With #GoalPeBol, Youth Ki Awaaz has joined hands with the National Foundation for India to start a conversation around the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals that the Indian government has undertaken to accomplish by 2030. Let’s collectively advocate for successful and timely fulfilment of the SDGs to ensure a brighter future for our nation.

On September 25, 2015, leaders from countries around the world signed a pact to achieve 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. From eradicating poverty and hunger to fighting climate change, the SDGs are aimed at collective progress without compromising future generations.

On September 25 this year, two years down the line, National Foundation for India and Youth Ki Awaaz hosted a Twitter chat to understand India’s progress, as a signatory, towards achieving the goals by 2030. With experts like Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Labour and Employment, UN Women, ILO India and UNICEF India on the panel, the chat gave way to crucial insights into India’s current status in fulfilling the Global Goals.

Catch the highlights here:

152 Million Children Still Subject To Child Labour: ILO India

YKA: What can be done to engage young people in tackling the issue of #ModernSlavery in India?

@ILONewDelhi: Through awareness, education, access and dialogue, youth can be engaged to tackle and flag situations of forced labour. 15.4 million, mostly women, are forced into marriage. More than one-third of them are underage at time of marriage. Education and access (to necessities) are the drivers to end slavery. We need to come together to change things. New global estimates reveal that 152 million children – 64 million girls and 88 million boys – are subject to child labour.

YKA: What are the key challenges to ensuring that domestic work is recognised as “work”?

@ILONewDelhi: Social perceptions of household work being a woman’s domain, unfair division of labour, and that this sector of work doesn’t require skills are the key challenges. What is needed: formalisation, bringing (domestic work) under labour legislation, ensuring domestic workers’ rights – minimum wages, leaves, benefits, etc.

YKA: What steps can be taken by govt. to support the global initiative on #DecentJobsForYouth in India?

@ILONewDelhi: Providing an enabling environment for entrepreneurship, vocational training, quality apprenticeships, work experience schemes, etc. Linking youth employment to national development plans and vision strategies, scaling innovative initiatives, transition to formality.

Productive Employment For All And Eradicating Forced Labour Top Priority: Ministry of Labour and Employment

YKA: What targets under #Goal8 are particularly important for India today?

@LabourMinistry: 8.5: Productive employment for all, and 8.7: eradicate forced labour, trafficking & prohibition and elimination of worst forms of child labour.

YKA: On that note, what are the 2 -3 main challenges to achieving targets under #Goal8 of the #SDGs by 2030?

@LabourMinistry: Enough good jobs, portable social security, skilling, strengthening of database, greater coordination between stakeholders and improved compliance.

YKA: Finally, what key steps can be taken to sensitise young people about #SDGs in India?

@LabourMinistry: Primarily through social media and other interactive platforms, seminars, workshops, social partners and collaboration with ILO and others.

Gender Parity In Workforce Can Boost India’s GDP By 27%: UN Women India

YKA: What are the three most important ways in which gender inclusion will impact India’s development goals?

@unwomenindia: It will improve India’s economic growth. Gender parity in the workforce can boost India’s GDP by 27%. For example, number of drinking water projects in areas with women-led councils are 62% higher than with men-led councils. Women’s equal representation in decision-making leads to inclusive policies that #LeaveNoOneBehind. Increased economic and political inclusion of women equals full and effective realisation of government priorities, especially @makeinindia and @_DigitalIndia!

YKA: What targets under #Goal5 are particularly important for India today?

@unwomenindia: Targets 5.2 (end all forms of violence against women) and 5.4 (recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work).

YKA: What are the major challenges to #financialinclusion of women in India’s workforce?

@unwomenindia: Majority of women are concentrated in the informal sector. Also, government social protection measures are often limited to formal economy.

YKA: And finally, in the current scenario, do you think India can achieve #Goal5 by 2030?

@unwomenindia: Women’s full and effective participation in political, economic and public life will ensure India achieves #Goal5 by 2030. India can lead success of #GlobalGoals, with gender data, effective implementation of laws, fund allocation and utilisation.

Changing Mindsets Is Central To Gender Equality: Ministry Of Women And Child Development

YKA: What are the key challenges to achieving targets under #Goal5 of the #SDGs in India?

@MinistryWCD: The central issue is of changing mindsets. Amending laws and mainstream gender across all our initiatives.

YKA: What are the key challenges to achieving targets under #Goal5 of the #SDGs in India?

@MinistryWCD: WCD is focusing on building convergence on women’s issues across ministries and states. For this, we have formulated the National Policy for Women which is currently under consideration. We’re liaising with various ministries to collect gender disaggregated data and give priority to women in their schemes. The new Mahila Shakti Kendra scheme will serve this purpose of convergence at the village level. WCD is also working on a holistic response to violence against women.

Rights-Based Inclusion Of Young People Key To Meeting SDG #Goal3: UNICEF India

The Twitter chat invited participation from several young and enthusiastic Twitterati. Notably, organisations including Dasra, CRY India, Accountability India, Oxfam India and IGSSS lent their perspectives to the chat, amplifying the message and taking it to millions.

Organised as a part of #GoalPeBol, a campaign jointly run by Youth Ki Awaaz and NFI to amplify the SDGs among young people, the Twitter chat created over 14 million impressions on Twitter and opened up new avenues of thought towards what is and what should be for India to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

What key steps in your opinion must the government take to ensure we meet the SDGs by 2030? Tweet your responses @YouthKiAwaaz with #GoalPeBol!


Featured image used for representative purposes only.

Featured image sources: Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times via Getty Images, Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
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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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