Editor’s Note: This article is a part of #YoungWarrior, a pan-India movement led by the young people of India and an initiative by Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MoYAS), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), YuWaah, UNICEF India and partners across the Public & Private sectors, UN bodies and CSOs. Partaking in this movement, young people have taken centre-stage during the COVID-19 pandemic to lead the country from the front, through positive tools such civic action, mental health, skilling and community welfare. Gearing towards the upcoming International Youth Day on 12th August, 2021, join us in recognizing and celebrating the inspiring stories of these young warriors and share your story on how you’ve been a shining young warrior in these times too!
“Not everything that you do for fun turns out well in the future,” says Shivank Singh Chauhan from Madhya Pradesh.
An engineering student at KIIT, Shivank says he was particularly active in the debating and MUN circuits, spending most of his first year at one college event or another. But that did not fulfill him. Soon, he started noticing a similar pattern with internship opportunities as well.
“My friends interned at different think tanks and narrated their experiences to me. It sounded like they did not have much to do; they just observed. These places are not all that they’re made out to be,” he says.
Necessity is the mother of all innovation, and there’s a story behind the creation of Project Statecraft too.
So, Shivank and his friend Abhishek came up with the idea of Project Statecraft, which intended to form a new perspective when it comes to research in public policy and policy literacy. The vision of a youth-led, inclusive think tank snowballed into something different altogether, says Shivank. Project Statecraft regularly publishes its own content about policy literature. It has held several workshops related to public policy and has its own podcast as well.
YuWaah is another organization that Shivank feels runs on the same principles as Project Statecraft.
He explains, “Here, you feel that your voice will not go unheard. It’s a place where the opinions of others are valid and valued.”
Shivank is a part of the Young People Action Team and works as an advisor for their projects. Shivank came across YuWaah while he was looking for partners for Project Statecraft.
“We were sort of cold calling people from different organizations, asking them to work with us, and were looking for a collaboration with UNICEF for some events. It checked all the boxes about what a public policy organization does, and that interested me. Secondarily, Project Statecraft is now closely bound with YuWaah and UNICEF. Personally, I was very motivated and excited to have such an opportunity.”
Working with a motley group of people from all over the country provides one with an exposure that is phenomenal. That people coming from different walks of life, with their varied experiences, discuss and add to the discussion one particular topic is a process which is organic. It is a very interesting process, Shivank says.
Shivank has worked closely with YuWaah in forming what has come to be known as the “Happiness Curriculum” in Delhi. “I had the pleasure of participating in conversations and talks with decision-makers for developing this curriculum,” he says.
Shivank credits the pandemic for forcing Project Statecraft to spread their scope beyond a few cities and states in India and have a reach not only pan-India but also encompassing the views and voice of people outside India.
“This de-centralization wouldn’t have been possible without the pandemic. So that’s one small silver lining that’s there.”
Project Statecraft also collaborated with another organization, Reap Benefit, in creating a covid bot on Twitter, which made it much easier for people to find COVID related resources close to them. Also, the revenue generated by Project Statecraft workshops is donated to organizations providing ground support to affected people.
Shivank thinks that he’s finally found his calling with public policy. “I see many of my peers land into jobs other than engineering, and they found these fields midway through their studies. I also want that form myself, and also, now that Project Statecraft is live, I’m going to work towards making it grow,” he says.
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