OdishaPlus Bureau

“Mu Paribi- I Can” a Young People’s Engagement Platform during COVID 19, 17th August, 2020 (Monday) by UNICEF, ActionAid and District Administration Koraput

During this COVID-19 pandemic situation the world is facing an unprecedented global emergency. This result of restricted mobility, educational institutions shut, young people across India are confined to their homes, away from their usual social interaction with their peers and missing out of their classes. During this time UNICEF with support from Actionaid and in collaboration with District administration Koraput the first virtual meeting titled “Mu Paribi- I Can” was held on 17th August 2020 on 3. 00 pm to 5.00 pm.

The online meet with adolescents, young peoples, SHG members and ICDS functionaries have been facilitated to discuss with them on continuity of education, concern about their futures and how to join their dream careers, concern on increase in child labour and child marriage. The event was moderated by Ghasiram Panda, National Manager, ActionAid.  Leading digital media platform OdishaLIVE was the digital outreach partner for the event.

Monika Nielsen, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Odisha

It has seen that adolescents rarely have a voice in the decisions that affect their lives, however they have immense energy, talent and creativity which can contribute to their societies’ advancement and better human rights and development outcomes for children including ending violence against children.

With objective to give them a platform for sharing their view and aspiration “Mu Paribi- I Can” was conceptualized where the adolescents and young people discuss about their aspiration, their thought to achieve it, the hurdles, how to overcome, and interaction with youth icon to take inspiration. Approximately 1000 participants joined this programme through ICDS functionaries and on their own. Ghasiram Panda, National Manager, Ending Child marriage Programme, Actionaid moderate the programme.

By setting the context and objective of the programme, Monika Nielsen, Chief of field office Odisha, UNICEF stated that the tittle of this programme “Mu Paribi- I Can” is self-explanatory which shows that adolescents are able to achieve their dream by discussing about their problem and solution they think. Now youth are facing immense difficulties as livelihood disrupted and we all are remaining captive in our home.

Girls are in threat of gender violence, early marriage and trafficking. This platform helps them to discuss about their issue and they can meaningfully engaged as change makers in their communities. We believe on leadership of the youth and their vision towards life. Koraput district administration is pioneering their work on adolescent empowerment and to end child marriage.

Madhusudan Mishra – Collector & DM, Koraput

Madhusudan Mishra, the District Magistrate and Collector, Koraput stated that the triangular force of UNICEF, Actionaid and the District administration are continuously working in convergent manner to end child marriage and for adolescent empowerment. Youths and adolescents have potential to bring positive change and we need to engage with them. Youths are future of nation and with guidance from seniors they should implement the development process.

APARAJITA campaign has been grounded in Koraput District since last one year and mass awareness drive to end child marriage is in progress. Udulia is a traditional elopement form of marriage where children fled away and marry as a cultural practice. The district administration also started a mass awareness drive to eradicate such practice.

K Payal an adolescent girl from Koraput shared about Covid appropriate behavior and how she practiced it for her safety. She stated that this pandemic situation is a threat to mankind and it spreads from person to person. We can win the battle against such situation by taking safety measures as prescribed by experts and instructed by Government. We need to wash our hands for 20 second with sanitizer in regular interval. Put reusable mask and properly sanitize those after use. Keep physical distance of at least two meters when go out. Now many people are in distress and we need to help them by keeping ourselves safe.

Ghasiram Panda, National Manager, ActionAid

Neha Naidu, Child protection specialist, UNICEF Odisha appreciated the effort by Koraput district administration for the campaign APARAJITA to end child marriage. She shared about right to life, right to development, right to participate and right to protection under United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which was ratified by India in 1992.

She again stated that during and aftermath of any disaster the abuse against children in form of child marriage, child labour and trafficking is always increasing. We need to remain vigilant and to protect them from such abuse. She shared five golden rules on online safety and to remain safe from online abuse.

Radhika Srivastava, Advocacy, communications and partnership specialist, UNICEF shared about role of adolescents in “Mu Paribi- I Can” programme. She stated that this platform belongs to adolescents and they have right over this. They need to share their thought and view and this is the platform where their views should be heard from their perspective. They can put any question and those query needs to be answered.

They should share their learning with others those are not able to participate in such platforms i.e. they should think on development of others. They should express their strength as what they want to change, their strength as they are not only the future of our Nation but they are already a leader and capable to change the society.

Adolescents from different parts of the district like Pratima, Laxmi, Urmila, Archana etc. have shared their experience during this lock down situation. They shared about the safety measures they are taking to keep them safe from corona virus infection. They are creating awareness among the community members about such practice.

They are not able to study properly in absence of regular school and technological equipment. Some are preparing masks and distributed among people and also help them to get the entitlements declared by the government. Now unemployment is creating alarming situation among youths and need to engage with them with proper career counseling and to use their skills for income generation.

Shubham Sarangi

Subham Sarangi the youth Icon who is an emerging football player who was participated in under 15 and under 18 Indian League and also play for Indian National Squad under 17 World Cup Football team from Odisha shared his thought and experience with participants. He stated that we need to move ahead by keeping aside the problems and with those struggles we become stronger and can achieve our goal.

I am an athlete and use this time to keep me fit and continue with my training with every available thing near to me. You all should new things with all available means and try to continue to follow your aspiration. When you follow your passion and enjoy every moment of life you should get success. Participants interacted with them about his journey and success.

With such interaction it was planned that the youths can linked with different career counseling portals. They should be reached offline with other relevant messages through WhatsApp and IEC with help from ICDS functionaries and Actionaid. With the assurance that the campaigns to end child marriage and adolescent empowerment will continue with such convergent way. Harekrushna Pradhan, DSWO, Koraput concluded the pogramme with vote of thanks.