Recently launched data on violence against children reveal:
- 21% of girls in India, 12 million (1), have been subjected to physical violence since age 15
- 4.5% of girls aged 15 to 19, 2.6 million, have suffered some form of sexual violence.
We at UNICEF India invite you to join hands with us and take a step to #ENDviolence against children. This campaign aims at raising awareness about different forms of violence, including physical, emotional, sexual and child marriage.
Every child has the right to a happy childhood free of violence and we would like you to help us spread the message. We are largely bystanders, onlookers. We love passing the buck to others, “You should…”, “The Government should…”, “Society won’t…”, breaking away from social messages that transfer the onus of action to everyone out there, this campaign’s umbrella theme cut across the US and THEM divide and talk in first person.
I can #ENDviolence because #ItStartsWithMe
Ending violence against children is a challenging task as often they suffer in silence and many times adults turn a blind eye to the problem. It can only be ended by collective realization and empowerment. UNICEF believes that we all are catalysts of change within society and have an important role to play.
Kareena Kapoor, Virendra Sehwag, Priyanka Chopra, Rahul Bose, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Farhan Akhtar and Saina Nehwal have come on board and are supporting the cause. Watch the video: http://unicf.in/ItStartsWithMe-AllStars
What can you do to help?
1. Talk, write, tweet or post to mobilize support: Spread the message amongst your readers to support the cause. Social Media pack is attached for your reference. #ENDviolence #ItStartsWithMe
2. Spread the key messages on crucial campaign dates: Talk about the video Today, 26 September, and participate at the launch of the Baap Waali Baat song on 10 October, in the lead up to the Day of the Girl Child. Event to be organized in Delhi, more details to come shortly.
Some messages that you could share:
Social Media Pack - Key influencers
I can #ENDviolence because #ItStartsWithMe
Every day, violence is perpetrated on children - rich and poor, young and adolescent, girls and boys, urban and rural. It happens around us and there’s none to shatter the silence. Here are some prominent voices from Bollywood and the world of sports joining hands with UNICEF to break the silence and pledge support to #ENDviolence against children. Watch them chorus: #ItStartsWithMe!
I pledge to break the silence for every child that suffers. I pledge to #ENDviolence. #ItStartsWithMe & these guys http://unicf.in/ItStartsWithMe-AllStars
It’s International Literacy Day Today!
Through the months of August and July, to mark this special occasion and start a discourse on the Right To Learn, art competitions were held in various schools that partnered with the United Nations in India. We are sharing some of the finalists here with you.
Do let us know what you think of them?
Stockholm, 3 September 2014 – Speakers at an event organized by UNICEF around World Water Week in Stockholm challenged the way international development partners and governments currently approach talking about open defecation and highlighted the role social media platforms can play in creating social norms, particularly in a world dominated by the power of connectivity.
People find talking about open defecation difficult and this is especially so in India where issues of caste, religion and generational norms prevail. For an issue that is too difficult for swathes of India’s population to even mention, the statistics are shocking. Just under half of India’s population - 595 million people do not use a toilet. The negative impact contributes to 61 million stunted children under five, needless deaths due to diarrheal disease; loss of privacy and dignity for women.
Sue Coates, Chief Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), UNICEF India opened the session. “If we want the 1 billion people without access to a toilet to change their behaviour, we need at least another 2 billion people to be talking about an issue that impacts all of us,” she stated.
Rose George, journalist and author of The Big Necessity, who moderated the discussion said that sanitation is a human right, an issue that cannot be ignored anymore. “We all are part of the problem and, thus, cannot turn a blind eye to it. Unless we talk openly about crap, the stigma will continue and children will continue to die from something as easily preventable as diarrhoea. This cause needs more champions to talk shit,” she said while praising the role of communication and social media platforms to promote societal and individual change.
And this is exactly what the Global Poverty Project is doing: growing the number and effectiveness of global citizens to achieve the public, business and political commitment and action to end extreme poverty. “When individuals take meaningful action, we can change the policies and practices that contribute to prevent people from access services. We are sure that the lack of access to sanitation will not be ended by charities, businesses or governments working alone. As citizens, we have a role to play. We have to raise our voices and trigger the change we want to see in society,” explained Stephen Brown, UK Director at the Global Poverty Project and Global Citizen.
Communication and media campaigns for sanitation are not new, especially in countries where open defecation is a common practice. However, campaigns that only target those without a toilet do not necessarily bring the issue to the rest of society.
“It is time to think differently. To end open defecation we need radical ideas that contribute to challenge the status quo and turn sanitation into an aspiration. Imagine the power for change if those who have access to toilets, actually did stand up and take action,” pointed out Thorsten Kiefer, Founder and Executive Director of WASH United.
While understanding the potential of using social media, Eddy Perez, Lead Sanitation Specialist with the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) of the World Bank raised some concerns. “There are some risks and attitudinal bottlenecks associated with challenging business as usual, particularly when talking about a sensitive issue like sanitation. Will the use of social media help us to broader and exponentially expand dialogues on taboo topics such as defecating in the open? If we take for example the Take Poo to the Loo campaign, developed in India by UNICEF, I suspect that those defecating in the open, around half of the Indian population, do not have access to smart phones or computers, so they cannot be part of this dialogue. Therefore, if we only use digital media, wouldn’t be contributing to increase the gap? And also, how do we measure results?” he asked.
Linda Patterson, Program Officer in Global Policy and Advocacy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Francesca Covey, Strategic Partnerships Manager at Facebook, Internet.org, also participated at the event and talked about the different communication initiatives implemented in their organizations.
At his closing remarks, Sanjay Wijesekera, Chief of WASH, UNICEF, agreed on the challenges ahead about using innovative ways to communicate around open defecation but highlighted that to achieve results we have to do things differently. “Last May, the United Nations Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson launched a pioneering campaign to drive progress on sanitation. For this to happen, we cannot continue doing business as usual,” he concluded.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
About the Take Poo to the Loo campaign
In late 2013 UNICEF India launched Take Poo to the Loo - poo2loo.com - asking India’s youth to make a noise about open defecation. This was done via the power of communities on social media; where friends talk with and listen to trusted friends. Going beyond the limits of traditional public awareness campaigns, in to new virtual communities and networks and back again, poo2loo has made a stink in India and across the world. You can find more information here:
For more information, please contact:
Maria Fernandez, Communication Specialist, UNICEF India
Tel: +91-995 817 6291, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
People find talking about open defecation difficult and this is especially so in India where issues of caste, religion and generational norms prevail. For an issue that is too difficult for swathes of India’s population to even mention, the statistics are shocking. Just under half of India’s population - 595 million people do not use a toilet. The negative impact is horrendous: 61 million stunted children under five, needless deaths due to diarrheal disease; loss of privacy and dignity for women. But, imagine the power for change if the remaining population – some 500 million people, actually did stand up to make a stink.This is why in late 2013, UNICEF launched poo2loo.com asking India’s youth to make a noise about open defecation.