Kalinga Fellowship Workshop Concludes

Bhubaneswar: Kalinga Fellowship workshop on ‘How can businesses, Government and NGOs work together to prevent and redress sexual assault on girls in Odisha’ concluded on March 10, 2017. Main objective of the workshop was to build a set of breakthrough strategies that will prevent and redress sexual assaults on girls in India. Six ideas emerged from the six-day session, which were presented to the Govt. of Odisha.

Speaking at the valedictory session, Shri Vishal Dev, IAS, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Women and Child Development Department, Govt. of Odisha said, policies and laws are in place to protect women, but crime against women are still happening due to poor implementation. Programmes of the Govt. of Odisha for women and girl would be linked to Kalinga Fellowship, he assured. Prof. Achyuta Samanta, Founder, KIIT & KISS and Mr. Simon Mckenzie, CEO, Asia Pacific BRIDGE Partnership were also present.

Corporate leaders and representatives of the civil society from 40 countries participated as mentors, while the senior police officers, bureaucrats, legal luminaries, media, and corporate officials as well as NGOs from India as mentees. Both the mentors and mentees are called Kalinga Fellows. With an objective to create zero tolerance towards violence against girls, they discussed the role of the family, synergy among Govt. civil societies and corporate sector, online match making platform, breaking the deliberate conspiracy of silent, role of media, etc. The participants and mentors were divided into groups for the purpose. This fellowship will continue for one year.

All stakeholders should work together to achieve zero tolerance towards violence on girls in Odisha by 2020, the participants agreed. Empowerment of girls through education is need of the hour, they said. Government should play the leadership role, while corporate sector should make this a part of their CSR agenda. Involvement of SHGs is also very important, the workshop concluded.

The fellowship is imparted by BRIDGE in association with FXB India, Ashoka Foundation and Dasra through Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS). The main objective of the Kalinga Fellowship is to bring together key stakeholders to facilitate a breakthrough in thinking and strategy to prevent sexual assault on girls in Odisha.

Leaders of big companies like Apple, HSBC, Google, MARS, So Just Add Water and Dentsu Aegis as well as NGOs like FXB, BRIDGE, Ashoka, HHH, Pearson, Lakhyam, Prajwala, EKJUT, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and others participated.

It was a unique platform where senior functionaries from the corporate sector, NGOs, media, bureaucrats, senior police officers from various countries came together to discuss a burning social problem and plan and implement the strategy to solve the problem, said Mr. Shashikumar Velath of Ashoka Foundation.