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How To Ensure Your Article Is Plagiarism-Free

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Imagine penning down your most intimate thoughts about a topic and then publishing it online. Now think of a scenario where another person ‘borrows’ significant sections from this post (or even all of it) for their own article, without giving you any credit for it. How hurt would you be?

Welcome to the cruel world of plagiarism!

What exactly is plagiarism, you ask? Simply put, plagiarism is an ‘intellectual property theft’. ‘Intellectual property’ not only includes original writing or original speeches (think: interviews, public addresses etc), but also an ‘original thought or idea’.

And while plagiarising someone’s piece is not punishable by law per se, the cost of doing it is still pretty steep. It is a very dishonest practice, one that has destroyed the reputation and credibility of even the most established writers and journalists.

But what ‘exactly’ constitutes plagiarism? And how do I avoid it?

1. Copying Someone Else’s Article

The tendency of many to directly ‘copy-paste’ something from another article is one of the most common forms of plagiarism.

How To Avoid This: 

If you are using a word, phrase, a paragraph from someone else’s story, give them credit. Link back the copied portion to the source of your information

2. Using Quotes From Other People/Data From Other Sources

If you are quoting another person, chances are that you may present it in a manner that makes it seem like they are your own words.

This problem may also arise when one is citing facts or data from another source.

How To Avoid This:

  • In case you are directly quoting other people, the quoted portion needs to be put within double quotation marks (” “).
  • Hyperlink the quote or the fact/data in question to the relevant source. If the source is not available online mention the headline of the article/report, date of publishing and the source (book, journal, magazine, organisation, etc.).
  • Even when you are paraphrasing a quote from another source, make sure you acknowledge that.

The essential point here is to acknowledge and credit the source of information that you are using.

3. Copying Someone Else’s Thoughts And Ideas

Say, you come across a very interesting article on a topic you like or there is a social media trend you want to take part in. Instead of adding your own perspective, you basically structure your article exactly like the one you just read. The words aren’t the same but the ideas or solutions are.

You may not have quoted any person directly, nor use any data/statistics directly. However, you may have taken concepts, phrases from your favourite authors, philosophers or social commentators, which you may feel would strengthen your arguments and points.

While everything creative has a source of inspiration, there is a fine line between working on an inspiration and just stealing ideas.

How To Avoid This:

Be sure of what you want to write about. Also, be sure of your own arguments. The concepts of other people are meant to strengthen your piece, and not replace it.

While writing, see if you’re basically just repeating what someone else already said. The idea here is to build on what the others have said, draw your own conclusions from them, or analyse them based on your experiences and understanding.

General Tips To Avoid Plagiarism

1. Practise developing your ideas and writing articles independently at first – without taking the help of quotes, data/statistics, newspaper reports, research studies, etc.

2. To avoid the need to borrow concepts, ideas and thoughts from others, be sure of your own arguments and how you want to validate them before writing the article itself. Remember, the borrowed bits do not make the article itself – they are only there to strengthen or, in some cases, guide portions of your article.

3. There’s often a very thin line between fact and opinion. Be aware of the difference between the two.

For instance,
“Menstruation has been one of the many reasons why nearly 80% of women in India have been oppressed.” – this is a fact that needs to be sourced properly.

“I do not believe that a menstrual leave policy will solve the more pressing problems of menstruating women in India.” – this is an opinion which doesn’t need to be sourced on its own. However, if you have cited a data/fact, and/or a quote (by someone else) to validate or strengthen this opinion of yours, that quote, fact or data needs to be linked back to the relevant sources.

4. Be careful of ‘copy-pasting’ stuff from other sites and sources. It is only to be expected that the sites and sources would be as protective of their content as you would be, of your own articles. It is only fair that you acknowledge or credit the source of the information which you are using in the article.

So, there you have it. Be honest, follow these guidelines and get started on your next story on Youth Ki Awaaz!

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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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