In December 2017 Restless Development teamed up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to catalyze a global youth movement with the power of young people driving accountability for reproductive and sexual health rights and gender equality.
The Youth Accountability Advocates have contributed to the youth-led accountability for the Sustainable Development Goals and FP2020 through data-driven research in various communities across India and Tanzania.
A year on from the beginning of the pilot project, we speak to Youth Advocates in India.
22-year-old law student Swastika has researched gender biased laws in India: “every woman has the right to respect!”
“For my project, I have chosen the topic of violence against women at the workplace.”
“This is a very sensitive issue so women don’t want to speak on it. Some women want to but can’t speak because they are scared”.
Swastika believes that in developing countries like India, changing social perspective is very important.
“Equality will only be obtained when male attitudes towards women change in societies like India”.
When engaging young people Swastika has found it is really important to establish trust. She believes that family engagement is another important step toward engaging young people. “The family is the main hindrance in working on these social issues due to sometimes backwards thinking on topics such as poverty and losing a child.”
Swastika believes that young people need encouragement. “Whatever work they do we must appreciate them so that further they can work with more enthusiasm.”
“whatever knowledge we give to young people, they will pass it to others so that more young people can involve in this work.”