Changing the social climate to one that rejects early marriage through training youth.
Why we care: Early marriage is a complex issue with many dimensions.
How we're solving this: Using media campaigns, community mobilisation and leadership development to change individual hearts and minds and usher in a culture of human rights.
Breakthrough seeks to train young people, including men and boys, to address the underlying challenges of violation of women’s and girls’ rights by highlighting the impact of an early marriage on the lives of girls and women.
Trained Rights Advocates take the messages down to the community through intensive mobilization activities using pop culture, local art forms and Breakthrough’s media products.
Using our successful and practiced methodology and approach, Breakthrough is piloting a new campaign on early marriage and sexual and reproductive health rights in three districts of Bihar and Jharkhand. The demographics in these areas are high in cases of early marriage and other related issues. Breakthrough will be launching the campaign in early 2013. This project is a two year project.
Breakthrough uses media campaigns, community mobilisation and leadership development to change individual hearts and minds and usher in a culture of human rights. The Breakthrough model assumes that social and behavior change is possible if there is dialogue at all levels and between all stakeholders in a community. In areas where the Bell Bajao!! campaign has been effective and community-based and government organizations were engaged, this change was recorded. The most significant change technique used to track behavior change has captured individual and collective action, both in resistance to violence and non-acceptance of violence with a special focus on recording action taken by women.
Early marriage is a complex issue with many dimensions, and it requires a broad-based approach to combat this problem. Holistic engagement – through both media and community mobilization – helps to build a critical mass of individuals and groups who will no longer tolerate such actions. While it may be impossible to reach and convince everyone in a community, if enough people support the issue, the social climate can gradually shift from one which tolerates to one that rejects early marriage.
Breakthrough’s objectives in this project will be :
- Creating attractive, multi-media community mobilization ideas that young people can use to help disseminate the same among the larger communities in these areas.
- Breakthrough’s Rights Advocates Program brings together the strength of multi-media tools with community-based education and mobilization, which deepens the impact of our multimedia campaigns. The multi-media products are largely targeted for the youth and some of our innovative mid-media activities like the video van have been developed to engage youth to provide them with a platform where they can engage communities on sensitive topics like HIV, sexuality, gender based violence and caste discrimination in a non-threatening way and yet have an impact. In working with the community, our current campaign on stopping domestic violence has capitalized on the influence and popularity of local and cultural art forms like street plays, puppet shows and theatrical dance performances like Yakshagana in South India. A dance form, traditionally used by men to tell stories of Indian mythology, was adapted by a Rights Advocate to tell the story of domestic violence. And she was a girl – Karnataka’s first-ever female Yakshagana group was started by Mallika, a Breakthrough Rights Advocate.
The scripts were gender sensitized and tailored to challenge prevalent norms of patriarchy, gender stereotypes of masculinity and the social issue of domestic violence. These local art forms when used in conjunction with the video vans that enter grassroots communities as well as commercial centers to disseminate information via Rights Advocates, Youth Community Leaders trained by Breakthrough, who entertain and educate the crowd with audio-visual displays, performances and discussions, creates ripples of change in the community.
Community mobilisation activities by youth leaders:
Community mobilization activities with the help of Breakthrough trained/sensitized participants: Through specific community mobilization activities, the youth whose capacities have been built, will take leadership in preventing early marriage by creating a strong public opinion on the issue, and by supporting and encouraging responsible behavior and actions among their own peer groups through informed choices. The youth will encourage responsible, rights-based and gender-sensitive decision making within their communities by:
- Video van activity by youth to create awareness in the community about the issue of early marriage and mobilize social support in favor of girls’ education, equal treatment, and opportunities. The video vans will be mobilized to complement ground-level community awareness-building and other outreach efforts to confront the issue of early marriage
- Organizing and conducting interactive outreach activities such as youth festivals, theater, rallies, music and dance performances, among other activies, to address the issue of early marriage in a non-threatening and positive way enabling people to have a public platform where they can voice their opinions and take informed choices.