Saturday, December 25, 2010

And so we close the 2010 campaign season...

This has been such a challenging campaign to organize: new partners, new frontiers, new media, new formats... as we upload the campaign report and close the blog, we do so, incredulously.

This last post begins with many acknowledgments: to team-members, to partners, to donors and to resource people, for starters.

Namitha Joseph was a patient and accessible Campaign Coordinator, making endless rounds of persuasive calls and calls to remind people of promises made. Given the scheduling challenges November-December pose for working with colleges, she gets complete credit for building bridges for Prajnya across Chennai's colleges. We will thank her and benefit from her hard work for a few years at least!

Subhashini Selvanathan's work on this campaign went well beyond her usual administrative and accounting responsibilities. She went out to do invitations, checked out venues and was an active member of the programme planning team this year. Truly, this campaign, like most of Prajnya's activities, would not have been possible without her hard work and systematic efforts.

Anupama Srinivasan, as Programme Director of the Gender Violence Research and Information Taskforce at Prajnya, has brought depth to campaign programming through her year-round engagement with gender violence research. The idea of the Women's Safety Audit was introduced by her into the campaign, and she designed and led the Audit along with local volunteers as well as organized the Public Forum where the findings of the Audit were shared.

Prajnya team members provided excellent moral and backstage support as usual: Nandhini and Sweta created a powerpoint for us to use and handled a whole lot of writing and editing work; Nirupa has been the keeper of our mailing lists for over a year and so word gets out on time about our activities and programmes; Uma wrote the substantive sections of the desk resource for television teams and Kavitha Muralidharan translated the text into Tamil overnight; Priya conceptualised and put together 'Who's your SHero?', our first campaign programme for school children; Sowmya conceptualised and put together 'AIKYA' the campaign concert; Sruthi put together the YouTube Channel; Vasughi updated the wiki... and if I have forgotten anyone, it's because my memory is imperfect, not that your work is unimportant.

I want to mention Hemant Shivakumar here. He started out by volunteering but his responsible and multi-dimensional engagement with campaign programmes meant that he finished as part of the team. Hemant and his friends came to help set things up at the kacheri and the poetry reading. Hemant then took charge of live-blogging at Laddies Night, the public forum and the seminar on ICT and gender violence. He was also rapporteur at Intersect, the consultative dialogue. Hemant and his friend also walked in women's stilletoes at Laddies Night, to show support for the fight against gender violence.

The idea for Laddies Night came from Koushik Udayashankar, and it took the campaign out to people who may or may not have been able or comfortable to attend our other programmes. Laddies Night also expanded our community to include the Zara and Koblerr teams.

In fact, partners are always the good news at the end of the campaign. Each year, we remember how many people walk with us on this journey. Some have been with us from the beginning, and some have joined us this year. PCVC, Queen Mary's College, Marappachi Trust, AVTAR_I-WIN, Tulir, Omayal Achi College of Nursing and Full Circle @Chamiers have worked with us again this year. Chennai Police, Madras School of Social Work and Empowering Women in IT are some of our wonderful new partners.

The resource people who made the campaign possible: Sudha Raja, Vidya Kalyanaraman, Dr. Srilata K., Salma, Kutti Revathi, Sharanya Manivannan, Sharadha Shankar, Dr. Rathi Jafer, Amukta Mahapatra, VR Devika, Dr. Nirmala Prasad, Kavitha Selvaraj, Katheeja Talha, Ranjitha Gunasekaran, Indhu Subramaniam, Usha BN, Anita Gurumurthy, Chloe Zollmann, Dr. Rama Subramaniam, Jamuna Swamy, Dr. Sudhakar and all the wonderful officers from Chennai Police that we worked with, especially: Addl. Commissioner Shakeel Akhter, DCP Kilpauk S. Lakshmi and DCP Adyar Dr. Sarangan. This is your campaign; you make it happen.

And finally, to all our donors and those who supported us by providing us space or other help, a big thank you: you verily are the wind beneath our wings!

We close the campaign season and the campaign blog now, and will see you next in 2012.

That's right, 2012: After three years of organizing the Prajnya 16 Days Campaign, we want to take a year off--a campaign sabbatical--to take stock, to re-group and consolidate our resource base and to build a year-round agenda of research and programmes in which the campaign can be embedded. We will be back in September 2012 with a renewed edition of this blog, and in November 2012 with our fourth campaign. But the campaign continues in our work and in our hearts. And we count on your being with us through this coming period.

Thank you again!

1 comment:

  1. Received from Namitha Joseph, 2010 Campaign Coordinator, December 28, 2010:


    Being a part of the 16 day campaign was a unique one for me as different programs were being conceptualized for these days with dedication. Every effort was being made to offer a distinctive and interesting experience for the public. Working with the Chennai Police Dept. was an experience in itself.

    Verse has been used since time immemorial to spread awareness on any issue. I had the opportunity to listen to three amazing poets read out their works on the issue.Me and my husband were so greatly inspired that we rushed to buy Salma’s book “The Hour After Midnight”. We had to make them search for the last copy of her book.

    Ah! How could I forget the innumerable number of calls made to the colleges in Chennai for a program, the follow-up calls, last minute drop outs, cancellation of programs -a mad scenario, but even in the midst of this, there always happens to be a ray of hope. It could be a smile or a word of expressing gratitude that can just make your day and leave you pepping with energy. You know they might only help you tie a banner or write certificates, but this gesture from them is all that is needed!! Thanks a lot everyone.

    “Who’s your Shero”- loved being there among those young students who were filled with innocence, anxiety and eagerness. There were so many expressions everywhere, brilliant minds, excellent oratory and writing skills that our judges found it difficult to announce the best.

    How can I not mention Manjari, Meena ma’am, Tamizselvi and her students. The workshop was a different one with energy flowing throughout the two days. The exercise set the mood for the day and it gave me an opportunity for how to use one’s voice for efficient expression.

    Public forum despite the rains had people filling in the “kalari” at spaces. Everyone talks about the “spirit of Mumbai”. Wonder why no one talks of “the spirit of Chennai”! To meet and interact with such city-safety conscious people and students was a privilege.

    Being given this opportunity, I would like to thank each and everyone at Prajnya for their relentless support and guidance. I would like to thank Swarna and Anu for giving me the opportunity to be a part of Prajnya. Though I have been here only for four months, I have been able to learn a lot from the two of them-Swarna with her meticulous dedication,and Anu with her long lists, commitment. If I don’t thank Amma for her lovely tea and biscuits, it would be a crime. Thanks a million Subhashini for being ever efficient and dot on with budgeting, finances, printing, stationary- that’s a lot of work- cheers Subhashini!! I would also like to thank Nandini, my personal trainer for the press meet and the official certificate writer for Prajnya since 2008, Shweta and Uma, even if it was a favour of driving me home or listening to me talk about Mumbai and Chennai Brahmins as we sat at QMC. Nirupa, though I haven’t had much of a chance to work at a personal level with you, I really liked the idea that you had proposed about the WHO guidelines for health-care professionals. Thank you for helping out with the ribbon plants and Vasughi, a word of thanks for you too. Hemant-from tying banners to live blogging-name it and Hemant’s always around. Thanks for being there!! I would also like to thank each and every one of our partners who have made this campaign possible. I do hope we will have an even more eventful campaign next time.

    Cheers Prajnya!!!