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15 million adolescent (18-20 year old) first-time voters will be significant in the General Elections 2019

Adolescents | April 15, 2019

New campaign ‘Ab Meri Baari’ to set the stage for adolescents to voice their opinions and play an active role in the upcoming elections

15 April 2019, India; Dasra, a strategic philanthropy foundation, today announced the launch of the ‘Ab Meri Baari’ campaign, which will be run under the 10to19 Dasra Adolescents Collaborative. The ‘Ab Meri Baari’ campaign aims to make adolescents a visible, contributory franchise in the narrative of our country, by acknowledging their ability to influence electoral outcomes, as well as raising awareness of their responsibility towards participating in a democratic activity that shapes the country’s future. Dasra, along with its partner organizations - Centre of Catalyzing Change (C3), Child in Need Institute (CINI), and Quest Alliance among others will run campaigning efforts across Jharkhand and Rajasthan leading up to the general elections 2019.

In the first phase of the campaign, until the end of the 2019 general elections, the focus is on Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi – NCR. Post this phase, it will continue to be a platform for adolescent girls and boys to advocate for issues such as access to education and health as well as build their role in holding elected representatives accountable for delivering on their priorities.

Shailja Mehta, Associate Director, Dasra, said, “As India is poised for the 2019 General Elections, a historic number of 15 million adolescents in the age group of 18-20 years are eligible to vote for the first time. This is an opportune time to spotlight their needs, their aspirations and their potential to play a transformational role in the country's development. To do so, we are excited to launch "Ab Meri Baari". We hope that the campaign enables adolescent voters with voice and agency in order to create a generation of role model, influencer voters, who will lay the groundwork for the next set of upcoming first-time voters.”

A short film titled ‘Ab Meri Baari’ launched at the event will be screened at multiple schools and colleges, and among communities aired on local radio, and promoted via social media influencers across Jharkhand and Rajasthan. In the film, two protagonists, Sameer and Anju, discover that their personal ambitions are a direct consequence of the choices they make in lives; and one of the first guaranteed choices is the ability to select your government. At the age of 18, when they cast their first vote they decide to choose responsibly not just for their lives but also for the future of the country.

Havovi Wadia, Director-Impact, Magic Bus said, “Adolescents in Jaipur are keen to make their voices heard. And what better platform than the upcoming general elections 2019. We are happy to associate with the “Ab Meri Baari” campaign that speaks about the much needed involvement of the voices of adolescents and young people living in poverty. At Magic Bus, we have frequently been inspired by the power of resilience that children and young people display in their everyday struggle against lack of safe public spaces, pressures on them to get married or start working early, and the lack of skill sets that would make them job ready. Through our association with this campaign, we’re hoping young people will take their first step by voting for the issues that matter to them.”

“India has one of the largest youth population in the world. This makes them a very critical and influential voter base, highlighting the need to equip the adolescents with the right skills, tools and knowledge to make informed and responsible choices. At the same time they also need to be made aware of the power they hold in the 2019 general elections and otherwise to define the future political environment that fosters their empowerment and growth,” says Amitav Nath, Associate Director, Anandshala at Quest Alliance.

Amit Kumar Ghosh, Program Manager – Adolescent programs, Jharkhand, CINI said, “We hope through the ‘Ab Meri Baari’ campaign we can generate ownership and awareness amongst adolescent in the age group of 10-19 about exercising one of their key fundamental rights – Right to vote. We envisage that as the ownership and awareness increases there will be a higher uptake in government services like more access to health centres, regular health check-ups.”

At the grassroots level, the 10to19 Dasra Adolescents Collaborative will also run a girls-led accountability campaign in Jharkhand and Rajasthan; this impetus will be driven upstream to ensure the country’s political leadership at the national level takes notice of this accountability force brewing on the ground.

Given the larger context of building agency for this rapidly growing age group, the 10to19 Dasra Adolescents Collaborative is symbolic of an unignorable, game changing demographic in India. The momentum created during the first phase of the campaign will set the stage for a combination of long tail, plethora of activities on ground – such as creating performance report cards for government schemes, and a national momentum through a multi-city bus tour that the 10to19 Dasra Adolescents Collaborative will conduct through 2019.

For more information, please contact akshay@dasra.org

About Dasra

Dasra, meaning ‘enlightened giving’ in Sanskrit, is a pioneering strategic philanthropic organization that aims for a transformed India where a billion thrive with dignity and equity. Since its inception in 1999, Dasra has accelerated social change by driving collaborative action through powerful partnerships among a trust-based network of stakeholders (corporates, foundations, families, non-profits, social businesses, government and media). Over the years, Dasra has engaged with 500 philanthropists, corporates and foundations, published 22 research reports in diverse fields and directed over US$34 Million in strategic funding to the sector.

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