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: â€œevery woman has the right to respect!â€
â€œFor my project, I have chosen the topic of violence against women at the workplace.”
â€œThis is a very sensitive issue so women donâ€™t want to speak on it. Some women want to but canâ€™t speak because they are scared”.
Swastika believes that in developing countries like India, changing social perspective is very important.
â€œEquality will only be obtained when male attitudes towards women change in societies like Indiaâ€.
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. â€œThe 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.â€
Swastika believes that young people need encouragement. â€œWhatever work they do we must appreciate them so that further they can work with more enthusiasm.â€
â€œwhatever knowledge we give to young people, they will pass it to others so that more young people can involve in this work.â€