We continuously ignore violence thinking “that would never happen to me”. Must Bol is a call to look deeper. It is a call to examine the violence that we all experience, witness, or perpetrate, and lead action against it in personal as well as public spaces that we inhabit. The campaign was started as a 5th Space experiment to develop youth leadership against gender based violence through making short films, taking public actions and online campaigning. It was started as a response to the lack of spaces for young people to discuss and learn to deal with violence emerging from their gender identity. While this is becoming an urgent issue for young people, it remains marginalised in most youth spaces. With this in mind, we set out to create an open space for discussion and action for young people specifically interested in addressing GBV issues.
The Must Bol campaign works aims to impact GBV realities and build negotiation capacities of young people by working in diverse ways:
Direct on ground work with Youth
Must Bol works with a group of 30-35 young people to develop them as campaign leaders. The on ground action in the campaign takes the form of exhibitions, public events and intensive workshops with young people. Since it’s initiation in december 2010, the campaign has created a community of over 32000 people online and reached over 4500 people on ground through direct on ground actions. We use short films made by our volunteers through screenings and on ground interactions for campaigning and and advocating against GBV.
Films for Change
The Must Bol campaign uses film making as a strategy to facilitate deeper reflection by volunteers, create resources and engage a large number of people in dialogue and action. Most of the films made in the campaign are based on real experiences of young people dealing with relationships, stereotypes on body, behavior or sexuality, or just dealing with harassment every day on the streets. Some are also about gendered behavior taught to children at home. All the films made by young people as part of the campaign are available on the website and it would be great to get your feedback on them. Our volunteers are using these films to talk to other young people about experiences of violence and ways of negotiation.
Working with Youth Leaders to support long term action in diverse communities
The campaign has collaborated with many youth leaders and youth led groups across the country to take up action against GBV in urban, semi urban, rural and tribal areas outside Delhi. This has been both through short and long term collaborations. We work with youth led groups to support their strategies for campaigning and facilitation of dialogue and action to address GBV issues for young people. The Must Bol campaign has collaborated with 12 such groups to reach out to over 3000 people directly through short term collaborations.
Social media for Social Change
Must Bol is also an experiment in using social media for social change. Social media has become an integral part of how people communicate, share, collaborate and connect in today’s world. Young people, more than others, are amongst the core users/viewers of social media giving it tremendous potential as an active, interactive platform for social change. We work with a mandate to make young people’s social media interactions more meaningful and relevant to their realities. With this in mind, we have used Facebook actively for campaigning, using a lot of campaign posters to take up online discussions on gender issues. We also host online contests to engage with young people. To know more about the Must Bol Campaign visit the Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DelhiYouth.
Must Bol is a collaborative and co creative space. The Campaign builds on expertise and experience of diverse organizations and resource persons with a strong concern on Gender based violence and engagement with young people.
Rahul Roy is a filmmaker whose films explore the themes of masculinity and gender relations. Besides film making he has been researching and writing on masculinities.
Ashraf Patel is a senior youth development practitioner and is the founder member of Pravah as well as Commutiny the Youth Collective.
Gayatri Buragohain is the founder of Feminist Approach to Technology and works towards empowering women through mainstreaming technology.
Kavita Dasgupta is a Community Media Practitioner and is currently working with children and young adults to explore the boundaries of Community Media to find a new language of film
Pramada Menon is a queer feminist activist and development professional with over two decades of experience of working on issues of gender and sexuality.
Satish Singh is a social justice activist and is currently working with CHSJ focusing on the thematic area of Men and Gender Equality.
Seema Srivastava is a senior gender trainer associated with Jagori, New Delhi.
Must Bol was initiated with financial support from UN Women and Partners for Prevention. The campaign received additional support form the Sir Ratan Tata Trust and UNFPA to reach out to a larger network of young leaders from across the country to expand and diversify its purview. Pravah and Jagori have been key implementation and knowledge partners for Must Bol and have supported the development and execution of the campaign. Breakthrough, Center for Social Research, Youth Ki Awaaz, Gotstared.At, The YP Foundation, Love Matters, Manzil, The Alternative, Hollaback, Blank Noise and UN Volunteers have been partners for many online and on ground actions by Must Bol. Must Bol partnered with many educational institutions in the Delhi University as well as different departments in the Ambedkar University and Jawaharlal Nehru University and IIT for youth outreach and campus events.
Most of all, we are indebted to the young people who have made the campaign a part of their public and personal spaces and interactions and offered thoughtful and dynamic leadership to Must Bol.