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2018 – The Year Dedicated To Gandhiji’s 18 Constructive Programmes

18 is not just a number; it was a historical concept in the year 1945 when the Father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi, came up with the idea of constructive programmes as visions for developing India. But the number 18 was never discussed again in the coming years.

What are the 18 Constructive Programmes?

The 18 Constructive Programmes were not only valid in the year 1945, but it’s also very much applicable in the present day and age. After reading about the constructive programmes, I found that few of the issues stated in them are still very much relevant in the current context:

Other Village Industries

Mahatma Gandhi always emphasised on the growth of a village through a self-sustainable business model which was started in the Year 1942 (Quit India Movement), but it was on hold after independence as more focus was given to urban development, pushing our rural population to the back seat.

Communal Unity

In 1945, there was no concept of taking selfies, but if there were one, then Mahatma Gandhi would urge people from different communities to take pictures symbolising the power of unity but unfortunately even after so much technology and advancement, today India is still facing the problem of communal intolerance.

Adivasis

Well, when India was fighting for independence, Adivasis were considered an important part of the general population. But as the years passed by, Adivasis’ rights were constantly infringed upon in the name of ‘development’. The upliftment of Adivasis was an important concern for Gandhi, and as a society, it should be our priority as well.

Farmers

Kisans are one of the most important assets for any developing country as they help in the improvement of a country’s economic condition. But unfortunately, they are still fighting for resources,  status and recognition, seventy years after our country’s independence.

Apart from the above three constructive programmes, there are 15 other important constructive programmes which are also the main vision of Mahatma Gandhi that he thought of regarding the development of India.

What’s Now?

The National Agenda Forum is a platform that is providing an opportunity to the youth of India to choose from Gandhiji’s priorities and elect leaders from their portal. The portal also provides resources for the country’s youth to learn and know about Gandhiji’s priorities and select the leader they want to work towards the completion of that priority.

The Right Tribute – National Agenda Forum

National Agenda Forum is one of the first ideas in India that had focussed on Gandhiji’s campaign on such a big level that has covered almost all the cities across India covering thousands of students across different schools and colleges. More than 25,000 youth volunteers from 1,788 colleges spread over 530 districts across India came together to launch this platform. NAF aims at giving voice to the youth of India to commence a dialogue in the Indian electoral system by voting to set the agenda and choose a leader who can then implement it. It is quite intriguing how the non-exhaustive 18-point Constructive Programme is still relevant in the present day and how it continues to speak volumes about the developmental politics that prevail today.

The youth-run movement entails four action points for everyone who wishes to participate:

  1. Share the vision: Make the nation aware of Gandhiji’s 18-point Constructive Programme.
  2. Set the Agenda: Re-imagine and co-create India’s key priorities and help formulate an actionable agenda for contemporary India.
  3. Choose the Leader: Nominate the leader best suited to adopt and execute this agenda.
  4. Campaign for India: Help the chosen leader to get elected in the upcoming General Elections in 2019.

National Agenda Forum is a non-partisan citizens’ platform, and the will of the participants would define the future course. This is an initiative of I-PAC, a platform of choice for educated youth and young professionals who want to participate in the Indian political system and contribute meaningfully in setting the agenda for incoming governments, without necessarily being part of a political party.

2018 is the year highly dedicated to the 18 Constructive Programmes, and National Agenda Forum is set up as the benchmark for the youth of India to choose their leader and priorities or add their own priorities as they deem fit.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’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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