A Love Letter To My IUD

Last week I came across a campaign that is asking people to write love letters to their contraception. As with most nauseating Valentine’s Day messages (I don’t celebrate, in case you didn’t catch on), I found these messages to be way too starry eyed and completely ignoring the not-so-good times that come hand in hand with contraception. So I’ve decided to write my own letter to my IUD and let me warn you that my love comes with some hate (doesn’t all love? no?).

I gave a gift to myself this year. On the 1st of January 2016 I visited my gynecologist and had a copper intrauterine device (IUD) inserted into my uterus. It came with a guarantee of 10 years which appealed to my choice to live childfree and it came with the dark foreboding of more pain which freaked me out to no end. Moreover, medical practitioners as well as many other people I know have confined the IUD to the domain of women who have given birth and older women that I wasn’t even sure if it was for me.

However after flirting with various methods of contraception for the decade or so I’ve been sexually active, I decided that the year I turn 30 should be the year I finally take charge of this aspect of my life. For an extreme control freak, this was an anomaly in my life and it came about due to a combination of my bad reactions to hormone based contraceptives, my constant paranoia about condoms and the resultant panic attacks (accompanied by emergency contraceptives or pregnancy tests or both), several dry spells due to medical complications and the lack of a non-judgmental and approachable gynecologist who would listen to my needs without imposing their views of how I should live my life. So I finally started taking the steps I should have taken over ten years ago. And please note that what I describe below is my personal experience and that it can differ from person to person.

Budding Young Love

Research | The first step was getting more information and gaining more knowledge on what I was getting into. My work on sexual and reproductive health and rights often has me writing about the need for a rights-based approach to access to information on contraception as well as access to services. But I realized that apart from condoms and contraceptive and emergency contraceptive pills, I had at best a vague understanding of the practical implications (both good and bad) of using other methods of contraception. So I did my research with both the more established sources (the Planned Parenthood website is a good resource) as well as by combing through blog posts by women sharing their experiences, again both good and bad.

More Research | I also researched gynecologists. What I realized was that my friends and I almost never discussed gynecologists. For people who go into almost garish details about each other’s sex lives, we were not discussing the health aspects of our sex lives. Of course there would be the occasional casual conversation about contraception, the not-so-casual conversation when someone needed an abortion but until our late 20’s or until a medical complication necessitated it, many of us didn’t bother with finding a gynecologist or doing the routine checkups that go with it. Once I began these conversations, I was able to find a wonderful gynecologist who is smart, professional, patient and at least seemingly non-judgmental.

Conversations | After discussing my discomforts with certain contraception and after learning about my choice to live childfree, the gynecologist recommended a copper IUD. She gave me more reading to do about the IUD (I may have given off the vibe for more information) and answered my questions about other possible options. I had a conversation with my partner, especially about the myths around how an IUD might be felt or come off during intercourse. He was mostly amazed by how much cheaper an IUD that lasts 10 years was compared to any other method so yeah he was onboard and then it was on to the actual insertion.

The First Fight

The first bump in the road to long-lasting protection (from pregnancy and not from sexually transmitted infections/ diseases) came during the slight pain caused during the insertion (details about an IUD insertion can be found here) and the avalanche of pain that came in the 24-36 hours afterwards. I was prepared for the idea of the pain, having had the necessary painkillers and cleared my scheduled for the day, but I was not prepared for exactly how much it was going to hurt. I had read in a blog post that it feels remotely like labor pain and while writhing around in bed with my partner massaging my back and holding a hot compress to my back and lower abdomen, I finally realized what the blogger meant. Just as one wave of pain ended, the other one would come up and so on and so forth. However I was lucid enough to think of the bigger picture and that got me through those hours (kind of, almost).

‘Honeymoon’ Period

Things were pretty rosy after that (sometimes literally since the IUD can cause spotting) and I was actually enjoying the feeling of not having to constantly worry about forgetting the pill or not having condoms at hand. At the same time there was a part of me feeling pretty strange about having this foreign object inside me and the first time I had sex after the IUD insertion, I had that irrational fear that it would either poke me or poke him (yes after all of the reading I had done). Thankfully neither happened. It still took some getting used to having otherwise unprotected sex and while I’m fully aware of the copper in the IUD being the spermicide, I have chosen to picture the IUD as a tiny boxer, throwing punches at each sperm that comes its way. Somehow that’s more comforting (don’t ask).

Brace Yourself….

……the period is coming. The first menstruation after inserting the IUD was one of mixed emotions (some of you may ask which period isn’t). I was extremely relieved to find out that it actually works (high five!) and on the flip side, the pain hit me so hard that I couldn’t sit up straight (I had been too preoccupied with work to anticipate its arrival with a painkiller as I usually do). As it is with menstruation, it arrived at the most inconvenient time while I was away from home at a conference and I spent a day fueled entirely by pain killers and black coffee in order to get from session to session. It was definitely worse than a regular period (which are bad enough for me) and an undercurrent of pain went on for about 2 days despite the painkillers. And my spoils of war afterwards were a back spent after spasming and sweet relief that it was over.

How Long Will I Love You

After that raging period, I was back to being in love with my IUD. Sure, there are some slight cramps when ovulation happens but that used to happen to me earlier as well and it’s just more defined now. But for most days of the month, I don’t even remember that it’s there and it has lifted a great burden off my shoulders. Like all new relationships, a month and a half is too early (unless he or she turns out to be an absolute nightmare) to tell whether the IUD and I are in this for the long run or not. In a perfect world I’d have had a tubal ligation years ago but I’m yet to find a medical practitioner who would facilitate that and hopefully the 30-something me would be taken more seriously one day when I revisit that option.

Until then, I’ve learnt that while no method of contraception is absolutely perfect and convenient, the IUD is what I need at this stage of my life and a few days of pain per month pales in comparison to the value it has added to my life. I have also learnt that I should never take for granted the access to information and quality services that is available to me because it has the power to transform your life and yet there are millions of women and girls around the world lacking such access.

So yes, I love you my IUD (maybe it’s time I named you) and please remember that even on the days I’m screaming at you and wishing that you were dead. That’s just how love works.

PS. 5 IUD Myths Busted

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2015 Year in Review: Books

When a fulltime job combined with what could easily be called the best years of television come at you together, reading takes a backseat which is what happened to me from about 2012/13. While my 2015 Goodreads challenge to myself to read 25 books would make my former self hang my head in shame, it was nevertheless looking like a Herculean task at the beginning of the year.

But finally giving into a Kindle (thanks Abeysekera for the final push) and then truly falling for how amazing a gadget it is has resulted in (a) Shopping sprees on the Amazon store and (b) Surpassing my challenge by about 1.5 books.

I read a lot of books by women and/or about women this year. 2015 was also the year I read Teju Cole, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Bell Hooks and Margaret Atwood for the first time (probably a result of resolving to read less South Asian literature for a year). It was also the year that I’ve begun to force myself to read at least two or three non fiction books though I tend to read them at a much slower pace, as opposed to the hundreds of articles and longreads that I read throughout the year.

So excuse me while I indulge myself (as per the paragraphs above) and write a few words about some of the books and authors that stood out from what and whom I’ve read this year.

Paraya: A short review

I (along with three others) was invited by The Sunday Times to write a short review of Paraya, the latest production by the Mind Adventures theatre company. It was published on the Mirror Magazine and you can find it at http://www.sundaytimes.lk/131006/magazine/hit-by-paraya-64620.html

I’m reproducing my review here.

Mind Adventures is one of the few reasons (another being Ruwanthie De Chickera’s Stages Theatre Group) I still patronize English language theatre productions in Sri Lanka. While I’m a huge fan of Broadway musicals, it is heartening that there are theatre companies that strive towards originality, pushing beyond rehashing musicals. However, originality can come in many forms and what makes Mind Adventures stand out is the intelligence in their productions. They make you think for days after and in the case of Paraya, I’ll be thinking for weeks and months.

At the abandoned Hotel Rio, Mind Adventures created an alternate world that was at the same time very familiar. From the moment you stepped into this space, the apprehension that “anything could happen” was palpable. Starting from little details like the unsmiling ushers sternly asking us to stay in line at the gate, the cast did an excellent job in ensuring that this atmosphere was maintained throughout the production though I felt the audience was not so helpful at times.

I wish the number of audience members could have been limited to about 50-60 but understandably there may be logistical and financial challenges in doing so. It was clear that most audience members were unprepared for Paraya and their confusion and lack of engagement diminished the intensity of the production. Personal conversations, trying to locate friends, etc. took away from the atmosphere and space that Mind Adventures had created both with their acting as well as with the choice of location, props, lighting, etc. This will probably be remedied with time as audiences become more familiar with nontraditional forms of theatre because for many it was their first experience of immersive theatre including myself.

Having seen Arun Welandawe-Prematilleke on stage, I was curious about his work as a Director. While there were some technical glitches, the Director, cast and crew should be lauded for the military precision in the simultaneous execution of the scenes that melded into one production.

I can’t speak about each actor within my word limit but out of the characters I followed that night, Ruvin de Silva’s Rajiv Kurukulasuriya deserves special mention. I got the chance to engage with this character and to watch certain scenes up close and I was in awe of how Ruvin lived and breathed Rajiv without breaking character even for a second.

When I finally stepped out of Hotel Rio, it was with a familiar feeling. I had witnessed and heard horrific things happening around me whether it was censorship or militarization or torture. By not speaking out and by staying under the radar, I had come out unscathed. Unscathed but with an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach that is still lingering.

Photo by Brandon Ingram (from the Facebook event page)Image

TEDxYouth@ColomboChange 2013; Positive Disruption

I was invited to speak at the TEDxYouth event in Colombo, Sri Lanka in April 2013. Posting the transcript of my speech here.

Whenever someone asks me what I do for a leaving, I’m stumped. Whenever someone asks the same question from my family, they are even more baffled. This is because all my life, I have dabbled in lots of different things, trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. Dabble is probably the wrong word to use since I’m usually deeply immersed in whatever I do, whether it is writing, photography, journalism, blogging, research or as of late, learning the ropes of social activism.

I was never one of those people who knew exactly what I wanted to do but from a very young age, I had firm ideas of what I didn’t want. I didn’t want a 9 to 5 job where I would be stuck inside an office each week. I didn’t want a job where I couldn’t explore the different skills and talents I had acquired over the years. The one thing I did know was I wanted to make a contribution and I didn’t mind shaking things up to do so J

My first platform for shaking things up was blogging. I discovered blogging almost ten years ago and I started off anonymously. Why did I start blogging? Simple. I wanted my voice to be heard. It was never just for myself. I wanted comments, I wanted interaction and if I had to ruffle some feathers, I didn’t hesitate. At all. Some of it makes me look back and cringe but I also realize that it prepared me for the road ahead.

By the time I finished schooling, I was already looking for things to do in the gap year until I entered university. My friends were working in BPOs, banks, their parents’ offices. I wrote to three newspaper editors, asking them if I can work for them. I didn’t have any contacts but I loved writing. And all three of them got back to me though on hindsight it was probably to see if this naïve confidence was for real J

Journalism. I loved it with a passion. I loved talking to people, I loved the thrill of chasing a story, reaching a deadline and seeing my name on the byline. But soon enough I started realizing the limitations of mainstream media. Not all my stories made it to print. Especially the ones that would shake certain people up. Or they made it to print but were so heavily edited that I couldn’t recognize them.

This made me start blogging under my real name, to give these untold stories a valid platform. But using my real name as a blogger came with its own set of challenges. The comments I received covered the entire spectrum from encouraging and ego boosting to choice adjectives and expletives that ranged from fat and ugly to bitch and whore. I got emails telling me to keep writing and I got emails telling me to stop writing.

When I joined University, I couldn’t keep up with the erratic schedule of the news cycle. After one year of suffocation, I started looking for things to do. Again, being a law undergraduate, the obvious choice would have been a law firm and I did briefly go down that path. But after a month of being stuck inside an office and running out of creative excuses to leave early each day, I decided to tap into something I was actually passionate about.

One of the things I used to blog about the most was being a young woman in Sri Lanka. My everyday experiences as well as some of the horrifying injustices happening to others that I came across. And I could see the mixed reception those posts received which made me want to learn ways to approach women’s issues in a more organized way as opposed to the ranting.

So obviously I went to Google and typed “Sri Lankan women’s organizations” J And I immediately chose Women and Media Collective, or WMC for short and I’m ever thankful for that Google search. Following my tried and tested method of finding employment, I again fired an email telling them I’m interested in joining them part time.

And what do you know, they got back to me. Noticing that I was a blogger, they asked me to maintain their website. And that in itself was an education. I learnt about the history of the women’s movement in Sri Lanka. I learnt about the battles they won and the battles they lost.

And I found an entirely new set of role models. Women who had paid with their lives for doing what they believed in. Women who were living unconventional lives. Women not playing by the rules. Women who were making a contribution to society, whether it was on a grassroots level or on a national level.

It all felt right.

However, as I engaged with them over the years, I started noticing the lack of engagement with young women and young men and also their apparent lack of interest to engage with WMC’s work. I remember participating in what was called an inter-generational meeting, which never transpired into anything more than that meeting.

Being a young woman myself and often being one of the few representing my demography at various events organized by women’s organizations, I started thinking about this issue.

At that point, apart from email, there was very little use of ICTs in general and new media in particular, by women’s organizations. Their work and ideology was not being disseminated via the main sources and channels of information for the youth of today, the Internet, web and mobile.

I do acknowledge other factors such as the political climate of the country, which hindered and discouraged the use of media as well as new media for their work, and still does. However, I felt that there were still ways for women’s organizations to engage on this space.

Following research on women’s engagement with new media in the margins of the Sri Lankan State, WMC set up a new media unit with the intention of expanding our target audience to include the youth. In addition to a revamped trilingual website, we began to engage and communicate via avenues of new media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and tweeting.

How many of you are on Facebook? How many of you read your news predominantly on the Internet or through mobile news alerts? How many of you watch YouTube videos, especially considering you’re at a TED event today? J

What do you do on your new media platforms? What do you share? Speaking for myself, I’m very active on a variety of new media platforms and whenever a new platform is launched, I’m always eager to try it out.

New media, especially Facebook, has blurred the line between public and private spheres. My identity has become an amalgamation of my public and private lives, my personal and professional lives. Sachini Perera the daughter, sister, wife and friend is also Sachini Perera the writer, photographer, blogger and feminist. While I still fiercely guard some aspects of my private life, I have allowed the line to blur because all these things are in fact an extension of myself.

And this is reflected in what I share on my new media platforms. Anything from news to interesting articles and blog posts to music to memes. I also share and promote content that I create such as my writings and photographs as well as content I generate for my organization.

Few years ago I came across the Take Back the Tech initiative, which calls for people to use ICT in activism to end violence against women. It inspired me to marry new media with a campaign that Sri Lankan women’s organizations have been carrying out since 2005. 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence is an annual global campaign that demands the elimination of all forms of violence against women with over 2,000 organizations participating from over 154 countries.

There had never been an online component to this campaign in Sri Lanka and I conceptualized the Sri Lanka 16 Days Blog. In 2011 and 2012, as part of WMC’s work for the 16 Days campaign, I launched and curated this blog, using social networking and blogging as a platform for raising awareness about gender based violence.

My target audience was young women and young men as statistics show that they are the largest group active in this sphere.

The blog was a trilingual platform on which they could express themselves in any format whether it was blog posts, Facebook updates, tweets, creative writing, art, photography, essays, short films, interviews, cartoons and podcasts. Creation of such a space was a first for women’s organizations in Sri Lanka and I was a mixture of apprehension and excitement as to how it would turn out.

The response was very encouraging.

One of the highlights was a poignant entry by Roel Raymond who decided to speak about her personal encounter with violence for the first time on this platform we provided and in doing so, inspired many others to speak and to take action. For an example, some youth groups such as Beyond Borders and Reach Out were inspired to conduct their own online campaigns.

I’m in complete awe of her for having the courage to speak out. It exceeded the expectations we had for this blog.

Through this exercise I made an attempt to break the silence about gender-based violence, within the inherent limitations of this space. And the interest generated in the online campaign resulted in it being featured in mainstream media, which meant that we took the discourse on gender-based violence further and expanded our audience. This was particularly important because one of the main challenges women’s organizations face in Sri Lanka is the lack of access and exposure in mainstream media.

This campaign helped us recognize certain groups of people. There were people who were keen to express themselves but didn’t have a platform to do so. There were others who spoke up with a little encouragement from us. There were also many who were expressing themselves and breaking the silence on their own platforms but got more exposure by being featured on our blog and then being republished on websites such as Groundviews and also on newspapers.

All these groups used the 16 Days blog as a platform to disrupt the silence on gender based violence, in whatever format they were more comfortable in. For an example, Beyond Borders launched an interesting project; a photo a day about gender-based violence during the 16 days. They found out that there weren’t many images available on gender based violence and they made a compilation of photographs that would be freely available on the Internet for download and use in any campaigns or projects on gender based violence. And to this day, I see those photos appear in articles and I myself use them for some of my work.

The 16 days blog was a small but powerful step in my attempt to make some noise via new media. And it was an emotional experience for me. Something I conceptualized and created had made a tangible impact, no matter how small.

An argument against such interventions through new media would be that it encourages clicktivism, a term used to describe activists using social media to organize protests. As people are increasingly misconstruing merely liking or sharing something on Facebook as activism or a sufficient contribution, there is a danger of online campaigns destroying meaningful social activism.

And there is also a question as to whether new media platforms are just enabling tools to an existing mobilization of people and consciousness or whether they can also be a means to mobilizing people and cultivating consciousness.

These were things considered when I joined a small team of individuals who conducted an online campaign and organized an event for the One Billion Rising movement, which called for one billion women around the world to join together in a show of collective strength on the 14th of February 2013. This particular campaign in Sri Lanka was initiated by Tehani Ariyaratna, a friend and colleague, and we decided to collaborate on it.

We had zero funding and very little people power as well. Therefore our main strategy was to harness new media, especially Facebook, to engage and mobilize a large group of people, mostly young. The challenge we were faced with was how to translate the enthusiasm displayed in an online sphere into the offline sphere because this campaign required people to physically gather together. We were taking disruption a step further by trying to get people to leave their computers, put down their phones and tablets and come out to demonstrate.

There is widespread denial about the existence of gender-based violence in Sri Lanka, starting from State officials to policy makers to the general public. But statistics tell otherwise.

Our reiteration of these statistics and sharing of news reports on incidents of violence against women and children made an impact and again, we had people speaking up, especially young people. Many approached us with hesitation, some choosing to remain anonymous, but as more people spoke up, the numbers started growing.

Our main challenge of mobilizing the same group to the offline sphere was successful to some extent when about 600 people gathered at Lipton Circus, Colombo to demonstrate against gender-based violence and hold a candlelight vigil in honor of victims and survivors of the same.

This was a first for many of them. Some of my closest friends, both women and men, who have always observed my work from afar with more than a little skepticism were there holding placards and candles. My mother who gives me regular phone calls to tell me that I may have been a little too harsh in my latest Facebook update or blog post, was there holding a placard. Why were they there? Each of them had a story to tell, whether it was harassment on the road or on a bus, or physical or mental abuse suffered by them or someone they knew. They had had enough and wanted to take action and through both our online platforms and the demonstration and vigil, we had offered them spaces in which they could do exactly that.

It was not a first for me but it was the first time I was in the company of so many other young people at a demonstration. It was a different energy and I had Goosebumps the entire time. If I have to use one word to describe how I felt, I’d say exhilarated.

We were not paid a cent by anyone to do this and in the weeks leading up to the demonstration, Tehani and I often talked about how this was the most fun we’ve had in our careers so far. And we talked about the endless possibilities new media offered us as compared to when people mobilized before email and Facebook.

A few thoughts in conclusion. What are you passionate about? How can you use new media, whether it’s your Facebook profile or a blog, to drive those? Do one new media experiment this year, no matter how big or small, and make a contribution.

Thank you!

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Engaging Youth via New Media: Beyond ‘Clicktivism’

Originally published at http://blogs.worldbank.org/endpovertyinsouthasia/engaging-youth-new-media-beyond-clicktivism

Photo by Pavithra Jovan de Mello (facebook.com/JovanDeMelloPhotography)

Photo by Pavithra Jovan de Mello (facebook.com/JovanDeMelloPhotography)

In my work with Women and Media Collective (WMC), a leading women’s organization in  Sri Lanka, I have often noticed the lack of engagement with young women (and young men) and also their apparent lack of interest to engage with WMC’s work. Being a young woman myself and often being one of the few representing my demography at various events, I started to analyze this issue. I still haven’t cracked the formula but being both a young woman and part of a women’s organization, I decided to experiment with ways to engage the youth by meeting them halfway.

WMC set up a new media unit with the intention of expanding our target audience and in addition to a revamped website, we began to engage and communicate via avenues of new media such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Blogging, etc.

In 2011 and 2012, as part of our work for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, we curated the Sri Lanka 16 Days Blog, using social networking and blogging as a platform for raising awareness about gender based violence. Our target audience was young women and young men as statistics show that they are the largest group active in this sphere. For an example, the largest groups of Facebook users in Sri Lanka are between the ages of 18-24 years, followed by 25-34 years.

Therefore we met them halfway by creating an online platform on which they could express themselves in any format (blog, tweet, upload photos and/or videos, upload podcasts, creative writing, art, photography, essays, short films, interviews, cartoons, etc.) and in Sinhala, Tamil or English. And the reaction was quite positive.

We received a variety of blog posts ranging from personal accounts to creative writing, photo essays to cartoons and some of them went viral resulting in youth groups such as Beyond Borders and Reach Out conducting their own online campaigns inspired by our blog.

Through this exercise we broke the silence about gender-based violence, at least to a certain extent, within the limitations of what one would call a “safe” space (though it isn’t the case anymore). And the interest generated in the online campaign resulted in it being featured in mainstream media, which meant that we took the discourse on gender-based violence further and increased our audience. What we realized was that there were young people who were keen to express themselves but didn’t have a good platform to do so and others who also spoke up with a little encouragement from us.

Another obstacle to engaging the youth to break their silence is that they are not receiving the necessary information. Therefore, we make it a priority to constantly react to incidents of violence and also to raise awareness on the necessary legal and policy reform and to this end, we collaborate with other organizations. For an example, we promoted a working paper by the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) regarding the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 2005, which analyzed the lead up to the Act as well as its shortcomings.

This experience was helpful when I joined a small team of individuals who conducted an online campaign and organized an event for the One Billion Rising movement. Our strategy was to use new media, especially Facebook, to engage and mobilize a large group of people, mostly young. This was a challenge in an age of clicktivism where the enthusiasm displayed in an online sphere is rarely translated into the offline sphere.

With this challenge in mind, we launched Reason to Rise, an online campaign to which anyone could contribute by sending in photographs, videos, notes, blog posts, artwork, etc. telling us why they will rise against gender-based violence.

There is a widespread denial about the existence of gender-based violence in Sri Lanka, starting from State officials to policy makers to the general public. In particular, domestic violence is often disregarded as a concept derived from Western culture and also as something that does not occur among the urban, educated middle class. But statistics tell otherwise.

In Sri Lanka, police statistics show that there has been a 6% increase in sexual abuse of women and girls in 2012 with at least 700 incidents of sexual abuse of girls reported in the first half of 2012. These include gang rape and sale of young girls for sexual abuse. It has also been revealed that 90% of women are abused when using public transport. 4000 of the 15,000 cases that are being heard in courts are regarding violence against children.

Also, since 2008 there has been a trend in imposing suspended sentences in cases of rape and child molestation. Of 129 reported cases from 2008 onwards, an alarming 114 cases (88%) received a suspended sentence, which included a nominal compensation fine. This is perpetuating impunity in cases of violence against women and is a gross injustice to women victims of violence.

Our reiteration of these statistics and sharing of news reports on incidents of violence against women and children made an impact and again, we had people speaking up, especially young people. Many approached us with hesitation, some choosing to remain anonymous, but as more people spoke up, the numbers started growing.

Our main challenge of mobilizing the same group to the offline sphere was successful to some extent when about 600 people gathered at Lipton Circus, Colombo to demonstrate against gender-based violence and hold a candlelight vigil in honor of victims and survivors of the same. For many, it was there first protest/demonstration/vigil. The One Billion Rising campaign was a great example of the potential in new media to engage youth in breaking their silence both online and offline.

As for Women and Media Collective, we continue to engage with the youth via our new media avenues and we’re always looking for ways to make our work more relatable to young people. We’re also working with women new media producers and giving them space on our online platforms to speak up. But we are aware of the challenges that lie ahead in getting youth to get involved and stay involved offline. We’re developing strategies to face this such as opening up more opportunities for volunteers and interns, consulting youth groups for our work, organizing workshops for young people, etc.

Some of the questions to ask yourselves therefore would be:

For civil society organizations.

  • – Why engage the youth?
  • – What is stopping you?
  • – How to get started?

For the youth:

  • – Are you an active member of the civil society?
  • – What is stopping you?
  • – What are the tools, information and exposure you need to get started?

Silent Victims

IMG_1045 copy copy

“Silent Victims” at the entrance to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum in Geneva, Switzerland.

Felt that this was fitting for the crisis that our country (Sri Lanka) is going through right now, although I wonder how many actually consider it to be a crisis.

http://groundviews.org/2013/01/13/an-unprecedented-constitutional-crisis-in-sri-lanka-elicits-a-yawn/

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