Mass mobilization activities with the aim of involving men and boys in changing discriminatory gender norms were organized in 23 districts of Uttar Pradesh out of its total of 75 districts, from November 25-December 30, 2016 by the UP Ek Saath State Hub. The state hub planned and coordinated the activities of 23 organisations that partnered in the campaign which ran in 100 villages and 27 educational institutions. In 14 districts the campaign activities took place not just in communities but also in universities and degree colleges. The campaign was implemented at three levels in the state:
The activities that were used during the campaign to mobilize people included the following:
IEC material was developed and printed in the state campaign. Handbills (see below) were prepared on each of the five focus themes of the campaign. A total of 23,000 handbills were printed and distributed (1,000 in each district). Ek Saath banners for use in rallies and other events were brought out. The gender based Snakes and Ladder game was also printed for those districts which did not already have it.
The campaign mobilization in the state gained tempo and visibility also from its active social media campaign. Sharing on social media took place through the following platforms:
Facebook Pages: Photographs of the campaign are continuously posted on the national page of Ek Saath campaign (https://www.facebook.com/groups/Eksaathcampaign/) as well on the state level page created for the campaign (https://www.facebook.com/EkSaathCampaignUP/)
Whatsapp Groups: The regular sharing of photographs and event details was done on Whatsapp groups created by participants in each of the 23 districts' to share and update events.
Email: Emails were also used to share and update from different districts
Response of Participants: In communities, pledges were taken by men and boys that they would raise their voices and intervene to protest against and try to stop violence against women. Men and boys said they would help in every kind of household work without leaving it to the females of the house.
Several people at these events expressed the demand that the campaign be organised on an even larger scale as this was the need of the hour and to involve many stakeholders in these events. They wanted regular meetings such as these to be held so as to increase their understanding. In institutes, there was demand for regular sessions to be taken to cover all gender related topics.
The immediate gains from the campaign appeared to be that more and more people wanted to engage with the programme. There was an acceptance of equality among both genders by the community. Young people were very keen to discuss and analyse gender issues. Institutions and organisations also wanted to join the campaign. There was interest from the media and social media also was involved in taking up the issue. Many girls and women took interest in menfolk among their family and friends joining the campaign.