Compassionate Citizenship and Responsible Activism Program

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COVA- ICAN- Youth TRAC

Compassionate Citizenship & Responsible Activism Project

Among Children and Youth

 

Project Overview

Our education system and society as a whole are oriented and geared to produce efficient professionals and not necessarily socially aware beings that understand and are sensitive to different social issues and subscribe to moral and ethical values required of a human being. Developing adequate social sensitivity and concern are essential conditions for imbibing moral and social values and promoting positive social engagement to address the problems and ills affecting any society to make it humane and just.

Goal:

To sensitise people, especially school, college, university students and young professionals to social issues and concerns to inculcate in them moral and ethical values required of a good human being and enlist their commitment to address social problems to make society humane and just. 

Objectives

  1. Social Sensitisation and Amenability to Moral and Ethical Values

The First Objective of the Compassionate Citizenship & Responsible Activism Project is to provide a systematic and sustained sensitisation to a range of social issues and concerns to school, college and university students, corporate youth and professionals through Extension Lectures and exposure visits to enable them to develop empathy and sensitivity to different social issues necessary to imbibe moral and ethical values required of a good human being and enlist their commitment to address these issues.

  1. Global Perspective

The Second Objective is to inculcate a global perspective, especially among students and youth by facilitating their interactions with foreign nationals staying in Hyderabad or on a visit through the Global Walk Program.

  1. Social Activism

The Third Objective of the Project is to orient and equip students and youth for social activism to transform the system and make society more equitable, just and sustainable.

Activities:

  1. Extension Lectures in Schools and Colleges
  2. Exposure Visits to Deprived Localities
  3. Project Work on Social Issues for school and college students
  4. Interventions and Advocacy by Students and Youth for addressing social issues.
  5. Global Walks: Online Skype Interactions with Experts on Social Issues from different countries
  6. Koshish Theatre Group

Institutional Coverage

COVA would work with 100 schools, 20 colleges, 10 universities and 20 professional clubs- 150 institutions in all- for the Responsible Global Citizenship Project. It is proposed to organise 5 programs in a year for each institution comprising of three Extension Lectures, one exposure visit and one Global Walk making a total of 750 programs in a year reaching out to an average of 30,000 people annually.

Impact

The Compassionate Citizenship & Responsible Activism Project is expected to create necessary conditions for inculcation of moral and ethical values and introduce children and youth to different dimensions of responsible citizenship to propel them to undertake social transformation for a just and peaceful society.

 

Compassionate Citizenship & Responsible Activism Project

The Programs

ICAN (Indian Children’s Action Network) and Youth TRAC are affiliates of COVA that work with school children and college, university and corporate youth respectively.

Education System and Social Issues

Our education system and society as a whole are oriented and geared to produce efficient professionals and not necessarily socially aware beings that understand and are sensitive to different social issues. The best of our doctors, engineers, lawyers, computer professionals, management experts and others may have global competence in their own areas of specialisation but most are unable to develop adequate understanding and a sensitive perspective to key critical social issues like poverty, social discrimination, child labour, gender justice, human rights, environment degradation, conflicts and harmony etc. As a result, majority of our people, including the best qualified, are not engaged in addressing our social issues that seem to be proliferating and intensifying,  and could one day acquire fatal dimensions that could become detrimental for all.

This is not because they are not sensitive human beings or unconcerned citizens but because most do not get opportunities to gain any systematic exposure, proper experience and adequate understanding of social issues through the formal education system or social circles or the family environment they are exposed to.

  1. Extension Lectures:

COVA has compiled a list of over 200 Resource Persons in Hyderabad with collective  expertise in a range of social issues like poverty;social exclusion and discrimination; child, gender, animal, human and citizenship rights;  environment;  economy; taxation; conflict and peace, international relations etc. Besides, many experts and prominent personalities from other parts of India and from other countries also intimate to COVA about their visits to Hyderabad enabling the opportunity to organise their lectures.

Presently COVA works with 100 schools, 20 collages and 5 universities to organise the Extension Lectures with a coverage of 25, 000 persons.  COVA also organises the Extension Lectures occasionally with Clubs of professionals like the Rotary, Lions etc. COVA would associate with at least 12 professional clubs for regular Extension Lectures from 2015.  It is proposed to organise 300 Extension Lecture for 150 organisations and institutions in a year, along with 150 exposure visits. Hence, each organisation / institution associated with the program would get the benefit of two extension lectures and one exposure visit.

  1. Exposure Visits:

COVA has found that exposure visits of students, youth and professionals to different communities affected by extreme poverty, communal conflicts, child labour and other social deprivations and issues provides a direct first-hand experience of the real life situations, inculcates sensitivity to the magnitude of the problem and motivates involvement at personal levels for addressing the issues.

  1. Global Walks

Consulates or Cultural Centers of USA, UK, Iran, France, Germany, Turkey and Yemen are located in Hyderabad. Collaborations with these Centres of all the eight countries will be established to initiate the Global Walk Program.

The Global Walk Program would consist of regular presentations to students, youth and professionals by representatives of the consulates, cultural centres and representatives of different countries on the themes of history, culture, political and social processes in their countries including the problems faced and solutions attempted. This will broaden the horizon and perspective of the participants to enable them to develop better understanding and empathy with people of other countries and provide some innovative approaches to deal with their own problems by gaining insights from similar situations in other countries and successful strategies being used there.

It is proposed to organize 50 Global Walk Programs in a year to cover 50 organisations and institutions involving schools, colleges and professional clubs.

The Global Walk Program would conclude with an Annual Global Fest sometime in February that would comprise of literary and cultural events involving essay writing, elocution, poster and slogan writing, songs, dance, play and cuisine etc. focusing on different countries. Winners of different events could be sent on exchange visits to other countries. Consulates and cultural centers of some of the eight countries located in Hyderabad have already offered to sponsor some of the participants of the Global Fest for exchange visits to their countries and it is hoped that it will be possible for 15 to 20 participants to benefit from this offer.

  1. Social Activism

Most interventions with students and youth are limited to inputs for personality development or awareness generation on some social issues but do not extend to enlisting their involvement to address the problems through activism. COVA has been involved in orienting and enabling school students and college / university youth for social activism by providing regular training on gaining systematic understanding of different social issues and formulating strategies for their resolution through community mobilisation, representations to elected representatives, political parties, officials; use of media; employment of non-violent agitation options, recourse to courts of law etc.

It is proposed to continue the Social Activism Program by providing 3 training’s on the theme of Orientation Programs on Social Advocacy and Global Citizenship for 10 days each to 60 students selected from schools, colleges and universities. The objective of this program is to enable students to understand principles and practice of activism and make them responsible citizens. These training’s will involve Sessions on communications skills, leadership development, sensitization to social issues, importance of foreign policy, need for friendly relations with neighboring countries and principles and practice of social advocacy.  There will also be action research, interviews and field exposure visits to give students firsthand experience of social problems and prepare them for better participation in the Programs of COVA like Face to Face with Little Citizens where they will interact with elected representatives and officials on different social/ civic problems; Project Work on Social Activism.

Sambandh, an annual event organised by COVA between 6th and 9th August to commemorate the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 will also be organised to orient and sensitize students to the theme of going beyond war and violence for the creation of a just world through the medium of cultural and literary competitions.

  1. Project Work on Social Issues

To promote an understanding of action research, COVA would facilitate 200 students from member schools and colleges to undertake systematic study of selected social issues and produce project reports detailing the problems and suggesting strategies and solutions for their resolution. These Project Reports along with models will be displayed at a One Day Project Display Exhibition. Subsequently, the students concerned will be encouraged to address the problems they have studied through continued activism.

Themes selected for the Project Work on Social Issues during the year the last five years were:

  1. 2011-12: Environment, Child Labor, Issues of Government Schools, Health and Sports and Recreation.
  2. 2012-13: Heritage (historical but neglected monuments of Hyderabad), Understanding the making of the Mindset of a Successful person, Endangered Species (flora & fauna), Bio-diversity, Nuclear power.
  3. 2013-14: Parks and Playgrounds, Garbage Disposal, junk food, child labor and government hospitals.
  4. 2014-15: Global Warming, How to Make India Litter Free, Citizens Charters and their Functioning, Speed Driving and Understanding the issue of Begging and its Solutions.
  5. 2015-16: Care for Elders, Swatch Hyderabad, Corruption and Eve Teasing.

Some themes also being proposed by the school students for the Project Work like: (1) Exploring Cultural Commonalities of South Asia, (2) Understanding Different South Asian Countries and Study of Their Defense and Social Budgets etc. to underscore the need to promote friendship and peace in the region.

  1. Koshish Theatre Group

A theatre group enrolling children and youth from diverse community, gender, class and locality backgrounds was formed by COVA in the year 2000 to impart training in dramatics to talented youth and also use the medium of theatre to spread awareness on different social issues. Koshish performances are widely acclaimed for their success in sensitizing people on different social issues and this group has given more than 1000 performances on the streets and staged about 100 performances in prestigious auditoriums of the country.  This group bagged many prizes in state and national competitions.  The Team has a number of plays on the issues of Communal Harmony and National Integration, Governance Issues, Gender Justice, Child Rights, Environment and Civic Issues etc.

COVA has effectively used the plays by Koshish to initiate discussions and debate on a variety of social issues in the community, educational institutions and even professional groups and bodies. COVA proposes to use Koshish to flag the issues of preferring cooperation and peace over militarization, nuclear weapons and wars between India and the neighboring countries; especially Pakistan. It is proposed to take members of Koshish to Pakistan as part of the delegation for the Exchange Program to Pakistan to initiate discussions on issues of mutual interest and concerns amongst youth through the medium of theatre. Similarly, youth theatre groups from Pakistan will also be invited to perform in Hyderabad and other Indian cities to highlight the similarity of issues and problems and the need for cooperation.

Groups in Pakistan are also being contacted to undertake similar sensitization of students and youth in their areas of operation to enable them to develop the required orientation and sensitivities that would be essential to carry forward the processes of interaction, dialogue, cooperation and collaborations when they get to meet youth from India in person through the exchange programs or on the net through different platforms.

Coverage Details  

Schools: 100x 250 students                             25,000

Colleges: 20×150 students                                 3000

Universities- 10x 150 Students                          1500

Clubs- 20x 25 members                                       500

  Total 30,000

Conclusion

The Compassionate Citizenship Project and Responsible Activism Project is expected to provide an introduction to children, youth and professionals to different dimensions of compassionate citizenship and propel them on to engage in initiatives for social transformation for justice and peace.


Compassionate Citizenship-Project Works-Students Activism

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