Thursday, December 31, 2009

Over and Out!

The last day of the year, the last post for the campaign. It is exactly three weeks since the 2009 campaign ended. Despite my best intentions to "take a break", this post, a roundup of sorts, has been constantly at the back of my mind, hovering over all my holiday plans and 2010 plans!

So how did the 2009 Prajnya 16 Days Campaign against Gender Violence go?

Honestly, rather well, even if I say so myself!

And here's why I think so -

1. We were reasonably successful at putting together a visible campaign, one that used public spaces appropriately, and one that genuinely tried to involve as many different groups of people as possible.
2. The majority of our programmes yielded substantive discussions, from which we're now hatching many new schemes!
3. We got several random emails, letters, smses, calls from people for whom this issue, gender violence, has real resonance.
4. Equally, we really believe there are many more people who didn't pick up the phone to call us or sit down to email us, but who read our factboxes, or saved helpline numbers.
5. Now that the campaign is over, we (and I speak for the Prajnya team) don't really feel like we're done! Lots of things to do, ideas to follow up on, people to meet. And really, thats the best takeaway we could ask for from any advocacy effort.

Personally, its been a wonderful, exciting, challenging, if occasionally nerve-wracking few months. The best thing really about the entire process has been meeting so many different, new people, many strangers who have or will become friends! Living in a city like Chennai, we tend to become complacent, and believe we already know who is interested in a given issue. It was great to discover how wrong I was!

I did have a long list of thank yous but since Swarna has beaten me to it, I won't do a repeat.

Except to say -

1. A big big thank you to the entire Prajnya team for being there - it was superb to work with such a committed team of volunteers, to know that at any point, I could pick up the phone and call at least three people and ask for help!
2. A equally big thank you to all our partners, donors and supporters. We really want and believe that this campaign should be, and is, a genuinely collective effort (not to just pander to the cliche), thanks to all of you.
3. Shyamala Rajagopalan: we couldn't have done this without you! You didn't just tolerate our incessant comings and goings (and mine, in particular!), you always always made us feel welcome! Years from now, when I look back at the campaign year, I suspect that tea and biscuits will be a recurring memory:) THANK YOU!
4. Finally, Swarna Rajagopalan. She left herself out of the campaign-makers list, but really, it's incomplete without her. Personally, I think I've been very fortunate to work with someone who is able to strike the perfect balance between always being there to advice, help, guide or admonish you, and giving you the space and freedom to find your own way and make your own mistakes. I also want to say, I'm awed by the depths of her knowledge, her ability to translate this knowledge into something useful and her endless commitment. Thank you, Swarna!

Finally, finally, to everyone who's been following Campaign Chronicle - thank you, Happy New Year and come back here in September 2010!

We'll be back then - and that is both a threat and a promise!

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