YUVA Active Advocacy Forum, founded by Aishwarya Kalpathi Aghoram, intends to educate and empower youngsters to transform as responsible citizens
YUVA Active, a Chennai based advocacy forum is a not-for-profit enterprise which aims to streamline the interaction between the government and the governed and fosters transparency and accountability as key mission statements.
Aishwarya Kalpathi, the founder and brain behind this initiative that is garnering a lot of support, says, “I want to ensure that youth participate in policy and political advocacy through constructive dialogue on issues that affect our nation. The forum intends to establish this awareness and through activity centers across all colleges, institutions, and associations etc., to reach all participants in the democratic processes of our country.”
Aishwarya, a political science graduate from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, who also has a Master’s degree in Management from Warwick Business School, splits the idea in threefold that includes ‘education, empowerment and leadership’.
“Educated people don’t know what’s happening around them. They often ask what’s the point? Or how does it affect us? But the truth is, we are somewhere or somehow affected by the political issues in our society,” says Aishwarya.
She educates the youngsters by conducting workshops on different perspectives of secularism. Within a year YUVA has empowered more than 2,000 students of varying academic backgrounds in Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram through workshops about Right to Information, Public Interest Litigation, and The Constitution of India to name a few.
About the second module ‘empowerment’ Aishwarya explains, “We have a website and app for the Yuva active campaign that has 1100 members. Anyone from the community can use the tool to highlight their civic and social issues. Based on the no. of votes, we take the issue to the next level by sending a direct email to the elected representative i.e. MLA or councilor.”
The center stage of the implementation of the vision will be an online platform augmented by a comprehensive database of past and present elected representatives and candidates belonging to all three wings of the government - the legislature, executive and the judiciary.
“The website also holds the database of every candidate contesting for the elections. The database contains their bio, criminal records, education history etc,” says Aishwarya
Members of the community can also write articles about the ongoing civic issues in society and request a campaign to cater to that.
With regards to her third module ‘Leadership’, Aishwarya hopes to teach the youngsters the nuances of politics.
“For instance, if a youngster wants to stand for the councilor post, we will be guiding him/her through the A, B and Cs of politics and train him/her with active fieldwork,” elucidates Aishwarya.
Through YUVA, she has recently organized a national seminar on “Celebrating Secularism” in collaboration with Loyola College.
To infuse politics with the much needed academic support, Aishwarya is working towards building a leadership institute, where aspiring young politicians will be trained by the best minds in the country for a career in politics.
“Everyone in our country has to be politically conscious. I want to change the mindset of the people with YUVA,” concludes Aishwarya....