Mobile Caravan brings awareness of Gender-based Discrimination in Punjab’s villages

Chandigarh. April 25, 2017: To amplify ongoing efforts for addressing the issues of gender based discrimination in Punjab, Punjab State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (PSCPCR) and Punjab State Commission for Women (PSCW) along with Save the Children, jointly held a ‘State Level Consultation on Gender-based Violence’ and launched a Mobile Caravans for awareness from f CII, Chandigarh, today.

Mr S K Sandhu, Additional Chief Secretary of Government of Punjab, graced the event as a Chief Guest and flagged off six-mobile caravans having the message: ‘Identity is different, but Rights are one’ which will reach out to 550 villages of Muktsar, Bathinda, Mansa and Fazilka districts of Punjab. The community would be educated about the sensitive issue of Gender-based Discrimination through the innovatively designed vans will use a mix of infotainment techniques. Each van is equipped to show a feature film highlighting methods to report female feticide incidences and also has a nukkad natak team which will initiate discussions about giving equal treatment to boys and girls.

 

Admiring the joint efforts led by Government and Civil Society, Sandhu said, “The campaign initiated by Save the Children will bolster Government’s efforts on dealing with the issues of gender based discrimination. Educating and informing masses is a first step towards achieving our aim of gender equality.” Mr Sandhu added, “There was a need to get more innovative in sensitising people through different mediums and also to sensitise the legal fraternity and the law enforcing agencies. Mr. Sandhu also said that the government is making a lot of efforts and the mindset of the people needs to be changed so that the gender-based violence can be curbed.

Underlining the objective of the event, Ms Michelle Bowman, Director of Programmes Operations, Save the Children said, “We are confident that the campaign will provide children and adolescents of Punjab a platform to raise their concerns and suggestions about gender equality. Reducing gender based discrimination is a key sustainable development goal for India and through our programmes we not only ensure that community is sensitized on gender-based discrimination but also initiates action towards reducing it.”

Representatives from Save the Children, Punjab State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Punjab State Commission for Women and District Child Protection Officers from all districts of Punjab were present at the occasion.

US Embassy has supported the consultation on gender-based violence and the launch event. US Embassy North India Director, Jonathan Kessler, said, “In partnership with Save the Children’s expertise, the US Embassy hopes to amplify the work around the issues of gender-based violence and highlight the need for greater levels of women’s empowerment throughout India. The launch of Caravans to build public support and awareness is one step in this direction.”

At the panel discussion, Government representatives shared their vision to further reduce indicators of the gender-based discrimination and violence in the state. Mr Sukesh Kalia, Chairperson, PSCPCR, said, “Children’s rights cannot be ensured unless we stop discriminating between different genders. While, the government is making efforts to ensure well-being of all the children, we need support from parents, teachers and community and leaders to ensure that we root out the practices of gender based discrimination.”

Smt. Paramjit Kaur Landran, Chairperson, PSCW, added, “The commission is proactively reaching out to women in the state to ensure support for dealing with the issues of discrimination and violence. Women right would be ensured by making the people aware about the laws and legislations protecting women. She said, “The focus should be on minor girls, especially beggars and those working as domestic helps who are victims of domestic violence.”

Mr Sumer Singh Gurjar, Secretary, Punjab State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said awareness is very important and he had himself realised how sensitisation has helped bringing about a change in the state.

The Government Departments, representatives from Save the Children and other participants further discussed the possible avenues of convergence for government organisations and civil society through which the issues related to gender-based discrimination can be dealt with, effectively and efficiently, to bring an end to this age-old dilemma.

About Save the Children

Save the Children works across 20 states of India and it focusses on issues related to education, health, protection and humanitarian/DRR needs of children, especially for those who are the most deprived and marginalized children.

Save the Children is implementing a project to strengthen child rights in 550 villages of Bathinda, Mansa, Muktsar and Fazilka districts of Punjab.  We are enabling community groups to protect children from child rights violations with support from the concerned government departments.

About Mobile Caravans

The mobile caravans have been running for past two years and have reached over 300,000 community members already. The caravans have earlier educated community about the child rights and ways to protect children from abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation.

This year the caravans are carrying a message of providing children rights equally irrespective of their gender with the message, ‘Identity is different, but rights are one’. This year the campaign is spreading beyond Punjab and also reaching out Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan amplifying its message.

The campaign will demand parents and community members to amend their ways in order to provide equal opportunities and fair treatment to boys and girls.

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