by Sutapa Sanyal
As DGP, Mahila Samman Prakoshth, I started RU-BA- RU, a Dialogue Forum where the Police and Students interact to further Gender Equality and youth empowerment.
Here are the details of the program I’ve designed. I welcome all your thoughts on improving this model!
The Philosophy Behind Rubaru
RU-BA-RU is a direct dialogue forum between students and the Prakoshth for constructive solutions regarding issues related to gender equality in a very accessible way. The program is constructed on the premise that the mindset and vision of the children and students today will ensure gender parity and gender justice in society tomorrow by making them into responsible and responsive citizens with clear understanding of and respect for the Rule of Law.
The ultimate aim is thus of evolving a viable and sustainable inter-generational gender-sensitive community policing paradigm in UP.
So far, RU-BA-RU has been conducted primarily with school/college students (both boys and girls) and emphasizes their roles as co-partners and co-workers in achieving social justice. This interactive communication package which forms a part of the larger community outreach programmes is one outstanding way to harness the demographic dividend which India is blessed with and co-creating an enabling environment where the children are aware of the relevant laws of the land.
Through RU-BA- RU, we make the students aware of the laws related to women, discuss various ways in which they can use social media without compromising their security and dignity in any way and identifying the platforms where they can seek help should they face any problems.
Gender-based education tools are also used to counsel the children on adolescent issues and to make this programme more interactive.
These issue were flagged owing to the prevalence of general ignorance about the existing laws and rules related to women and children as revealed by a sensing exercise conducted by MSP across the cross sections of society and because of the large number of cases coming to MSP related to cyber-bullying.
So far over 30,000 students from institutions like Lucknow University, IIM Lucknow, National PG College, Amity University, CMS School, Army Public School, KMM Group of Institutions, Hoerner College, Spring Dale, Study Hall, Kashi Vidya Peeth (Varanasi) ,Christ Church(Kanpur) and others have been reached through the ongoing interaction program of RU-BA-RU.
This “cop connect” program has also had a qualitative impact in breaking the stereotypes and as a trust -building exercise by changing the perception of the police in the eyes of school children, since for many of them this was the first time they had seen cops in a mentoring and community building role and who could become the role models for social transformation.
The program has been up- scaled to cover the counselling of parents, the school/college staff as well as the school-bus drivers/conductors (through linkage with the SAARTHI program of MSP) and has the potential of being a force multiplier for the capacity- building of schoolchildren so far as their soft and community-building skills are concerned.
Recently the UNICEF and a national Media House have joined these efforts at proactive and gender-sensitive community policing initiatives by the Prakoshth which will go a long way in enhancing the scalability and overall effectiveness and success of the program.
None, since UNICEF is contributing the financial and secretarial support for this programme.