By Chandan Kumar Sahu
BERHAMPUR:Youth consists a majority in the demographic dividend in Odisha with 65% of the population are young (below 35 years). Govt of Odisha has formulated Odisha State Youth Policy, 2013 in Odisha.
Slum in Berhampur Municipal Corporation have also dominated by the young people with many issues related young men and women. To address these issues young people formed “Berhampur Youth Federation”. More than 70 youth joined hands to address their problems like poor quality of basic services, housing situation and their participation in urban planning, governance and development of the city.
This platform will create opportunity for the youth to discuss their issues, make solution of their own problems by engaging with the elected representatives, service providers. Today the members of youth club and youth federation prepared an action plan “Youth Charter” to improve the basic services in slums and ensure their participation in local urban governance.
Youth formed 11 youth clubs in 11 slums and they are networked with them to address their problems and challenges. Youth people also trained on various themes of leadership and social accountability like right to information, youth report card etc. They have been also trained on tools techniques to advocate with government and address media. In addition to this they are also trained on life skills and active citizenship. More than 600 young people are involved in this process.
Youth also taken action to address the issues of gender inequality, crime and anti social activities in slums and also created awareness on child labour, early child marriage and youth trafficking and also made future plan to make slums liquor free.
Youth for Social Development (YSD), a local non government organisation working with children and youth to improve local governance and people’s participation and climate action since 2007. YSD has been working in 40 slums in Berhampur with children and youth to improve basic service delivery and local governance.
Among the youth club members Bala Das, Archana Sahu, Kanya Kumari Das, Lipi Das and Pinki Das are presented in the first meeting. YSD coordinator Chandan Kumar Sahu, Abhiram Kanhar, Bijaylaxmi Pradhan and Birajini Devi facilitated this programme.
(The writer Chandan Kumar Sahu is Coordinator Youth for Social Development, BERHAMPUR, Ganjam, Odisha, India)