A 5 day fellowship from 6th to10th March 2017 was organized by BRIDGE in partnership with Kalinga Institute of Social Science (KISS). Aaina staff Jyoshna Sahoo and Geetika Chandra participated in the program. More than 50 people from NGOs, government, corporate, business and other fields from different countries such as China, Britain, Australia etc. participated in the program. The objective was to discuss and formalize how can business, government and NGO's work together to prevent and redress sexual assault on girls in Odisha.
Mr. Achutya Samanta, Founder KIIT and KISS welcomed the participants and provided a tour of the campus and familiarized participants with different programs organized especially for 25000 children and tribal women. The participants were divided in 8 diverse groups. Group members discussed the primary purpose of their participation. It was an opportunity for the members to know one another better, develop connection and get comfortable.
On 2nd day the groups discussed the strategic challenges of the issue. The idea was to think deeper about the issue of sexual assault and bring forward probable challenges of the issue. It was apparent that sexual assault was experienced in some form by most of the women. Thinking out of the box beyond your own limited attitudes was encouraged and taught to balance emotional and rational thinking for systematic decisions making.
On day 3 participants met Dr. Sunitha Krishnan from Prajwala, a shelter home for trafficked women. Now taking care of 14000 women and children, herself survivor of gang rape shared her journey of how she started Prajwala and the politics and working mechanisms involved in trafficking
The participants were also trained on collecting data points while listening to a conversation or a speech from diverse group. In the last discussion session groups were to identify with each theme that they would like to intervene. After vigorous discussions, different interventions areas such as working with government, with media, family roles, corporate intervention etc were brought forward. The group had to pick one theme that they will be working on. The role of different groups in zeroing sexual assault was tried to bring forward through different discussions and groups games. On the last day, the 8 groups prepared a presentation with specific theme on minimizing of sexual assault with activities to be carried on in partnership with civil societies, corporate and government for next 1 year. A mentor for each group will be responsible for coordinating the efforts.