Empowering Change: Youth Engagement in ECF’s Decade-Long Transformative Journey

In the heart of ECF’s transformative journey, spanning over a decade, the stories of our remarkable alumni echo with inspiration. Their achievements not only move us but paint a dynamic canvas of growth, learning, unlearning, and relearning. The profound success stories elicit a unique blend of excitement and emotion, leaving us in awe of the remarkable milestones they continue to achieve.


Amid the 16 days of activism in 2023, ECF’s focus intensified, aiming to instil gender-equitable attitudes within individuals, families, and communities. The dedicated commitment aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 5, envisioning a world where gender equality flourishes.


The alumni took centre stage during a pivotal panel discussion, shedding light on various facets of gender equality. Notably, Kshitij emphasised the need to embrace the multifaceted spectrum of gender, fostering inclusivity beyond the confines of femininity and masculinity. His call for a #SafeSpace resonates, urging support for diverse identities without judgement.


Kailash brought attention to the adverse effects of child and forced marriages on girls’ mental health, underscoring the severe impact of early pregnancies and forced unions. His advocacy for consent as the cornerstone of every decision echoes the importance of ending child marriage and prioritizing mental health.


The panel discussion centred around discussions on violence and gender-based violence, where alumni shared personal experiences, including Vinayak. His revelation highlighted the detrimental impact of violence on youth, emphasising the urgency to cease all forms of violence and recognize its profound effects on the younger generation. 


Shankar emphasised during the discussion on youth’s role in breaking barriers: “We should do such work to inspire and involve more people, set a benchmark in society. I have been engaging myself through many endeavours where not only can I propel my community forward but also integrate it into society at large.”


Alok, advocating for a human rights-based language approach, articulately stated: “The need for understanding human rights is key, and gradually, I have been embracing the importance of using rights-based language in our lives. I aspire to instil this perspective in our current and future generations through our ECF programme.”


On the other hand, Kshitij affirmed: “I believe change begins with us, the youth groups participating in ECF classes. However, we must collectively expand our outreach to reach more people.”


Alok and Shankar, other alumni, advocated for action, responsible behaviour, and a positive attitude when addressing any form of violence, stressing the crucial need to actively work towards putting an end to violence in all its forms. Their appeal for action resonates as a crisp call to nurture a culture of tranquillity, comprehension, and encouragement.


The panel discussion initiated by ECF brought alumni together, providing a platform for them to share experiences, learn, and inspire beyond their communities. As the journey unfolds, the “YOUTH ADVOCATES,” as ECF fondly calls them, stand poised to inspire and explore further. The powerful panel discussion on “Addressing Gender-Based Violence: Men’s Perspective” marks a proud milestone for ECF, applauding the valuable contributions, showcasing the confidence, positive attitude, and critical understanding of the alumni. 


This reformative journey is illuminated by the achievements of our alumni, who continue to inspire change. The commitment to gender equality and the powerful voices heard in the panel discussion reinforce ECF’s dedication to fostering gender transformative programmes. As we heed the call for action, let us collectively work towards creating a world free from gender-based violence, taken forward by the wisdom and passion of the ECF alumni.



Urasmita Ghosh, Communications and Fundraising Associate, Equal Community Foundation