The aim is to deliberate on the legal framework, causal factors and implications of early marriage, current policies and programmes and advocacy related to this issue. The dialogue will bring to focus the issue, gaps in programming, policies and legal framework and managing these effectively. The panel discussion will culminate in the form of paper that will be shared with decision makers, policy influencers and those playing a pioneer role at the grassroots level to change socio-economic and cultural norms
Ms. Smita Bharti (Executive Director, Sakshi & Creative Associate, NainaKapurLaw)
Ms. Smita is the Executive Director of Sakshi (NGO) which has undertaken pioneering work in the area of Equality Education for diverse sectors. A registered NGO, Sakshi is a creative education organization focusing on gender, equality and leadership development through a rights based approach.
Smita’s vast experience is ranging from Equality, Gender, Peace and Conflict Resolution to Leadership issue, Smita draws upon her vast experience as an actor, film-maker, teacher, playwright, director and management consultant in providing such services. As a knowledge partner to corporate organizations she brings a programmatic approach to Leadership and Emotional Competency Development through Corporate Theatre. She has delivered creative education to a cross-section of audience pan India and within the South-East Asia Region. By engaging people in the art of storytelling and role playing, Smita facilitates each person to arrive at experiential learning accompanied by practical action points for benefit of organizations from the public, private and social sectors. Smita experience in building the capacities of judges, community leaders, and workplace leadership in gender equality and non-discrimination issues have enabled her as an expert in developing the individual skills and capacities.
Nandita Das is one of the most talented/renknowed actors/ in India, having acted in more than forty feature films in ten different languages. The acting prowess of Nandita and her portrayal of typical and complex character through excellent account of narrative, imaginary, movements bring in new diction and vocabulary in the language of Indian cinema. Her first directorial venture Firaaq (2008)- feature film-premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008, winning over 20 awards, three awards at the Asian Festival of First Films in Singapore in December 2008, the Special Prize at the International Thessaloniki Film Festival in Greece, two national awards at 56th National Film Awards. She has been on the panel of jury of prestigious Cannes Film Festival twice in 2005 and 2013. She is an advocate for issues of social justice and human rights. She was the Chairperson of Children’s Film Society between 2009 and 2012. Nandita Das was the first Indian to be inducted into the Hall of Fame of the International Women’s Forum. She has also been conferred the prestigious international award ‘Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters’ by the French Government. She was at Yale as a World Fellow in 2014.Nandita Das is a prominent social activist, working for the cause of social injustice and is a strong advocate for women and child development issues especially for the most marginalized sections of society. She is a prolific writer and an orator par excellence.
Ms. Arti Kirloskar has been associated with Plan India since 2007 and has contributed extensively in fundraising and advocacy initiatives especially for girl’s programmes. She is the Convenor of Kirloskar Vasundhara film festival through which much work has been done to create awareness and initiate action to protect the environment. The festival now travels to more than 20 cities in and around Maharashtra. She is now a patron of INTACH Pune after being its Convenor for the last 10 years. Under her the copper craft revival was established and a seminal book on Pune – the ‘Queen of Deccan’ was re published. She is an executive member of ‘Kirloskar Foundation’ where she initiated a WASH programme for creating awareness on hygiene and safe drinking water in schools in Pune through volunteers from the Kirloskar group of companies.
Arvind leads Urmul Group of Organisations working in the Thar Desert of India across spectrum of themes and challenges. He has actively engaged with the desert living and communities for over three decades and has extensive experience with policy and community in ideating and executing health, education, livelihood and cooperative interventions. He has been a member in several policy committees and commissions, and currently is a member of the Rajasthan Crafts Council. He is also a founding member of Girls Not Brides – a global alliance to ending child marriage.
Patralekha Chatterjee is an eminent journalist, photographer, columnist and successful author and has wide exposure in working with national and international media. Her professional work/credentials extensively covered news stories focused on issues related to gender inequality, health inequality, malnutrition, HIV/AIDS and across Asian and African countries. As an author her works regularly being published in numerous prominent journals in U.K., U.S.A, Switzerland, UAE, India and several news journals of international organizations including UN. Patralekha has covered public health issues of Haiti, Sub-Saharan Africa, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Maldives and her reports published in The Lancet, U.K and apart from that she has extensive training and teaching experiences. She has taught at AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia (2008 – 2009).
She has received numerous prestigious national and international awards including The Journalists in Europe Programme (1989 –’90); Media India Award, 1987; Winner of Media 21 Global Journalism Fellowship, 2008 etc. Her syndicated columns in The Asian Age, Deccan Chronicle and Amar Ujala, an influential multi-edition Hindi language newspaper, are among the few in India which consistently focus on social and development issues, especially those impacting rights of women and girls and empowerment in the wider political, economic and social context of an emerging economic power battling a myriad inequities. Patralekha Chatterjee was a Vital Voices Lead Fellow (2014-2015), a network of global women leaders focusing on violence against women and women’s empowerment.
Senait Gebregziabher has been associated with prominent international social sector organizations for over two decades. She is currently the Country Director, Plan International Bangladesh. Senait has robust professional experience in large-scale humanitarian and development programmes both in Asia and African continents. Prior to Plan International she worked with Save the Children in Ethiopia, Uganda, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. She has been a Consultant to the World Bank on gender and land rights issues. Senait worked with Oxfam as Country Director of Somalia.
Naina Kapoor is legal practitioner by profession and a staunch advocate of social cause in India. She earned much adulation due to her lead role in framing and establishing an act against the prevention of sexual harassment at workplace-a landmark judgement in the history of socio-legal domain. Vishaka v State of Rajasthan has been recognized as a remarkable achievement in domestic application of International Law and constitutional gender equality in India. With the passing of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal) Act, 2013 she is actively pursuing compliance, prevention, mediation and redress at workplaces. Naina, since then has been identified as the front ranking leader in mobilizing critical support from legal institutions and implementing social sector organizations to achieve goals of gender equity, non-discrimination based on gender, inclusive development, bridging up public and private sector collaborations, change in law and policy in India. She is writing, speaking and extending legal aid services to agencies who are working to ensure each girl and women have access to legal aid services, enjoy freedom of choice and right to live in dignity to realize their full potential.
G. Gopalakrishna Murthy
G. Gopalakrishna Murthy has more than thirty-five years of experience in social sector and led various social movements’ namely anti-liquor consumption and anti-blue (Shrimp farming) movement in Andhra Pradesh. He worked with Gandhi Peace Centre and currently heading Academy of Gandhian Studies (AGS). Mr. Murthy has led various studies in the last two decades on trafficking and the impact of occupational migration among fisher community in Andhra Pradesh.
He is a strong advocate of collaboration and networking with civil society organizations on several issues including Child Trafficking and HIV/AIDS, Disaster Management, Natural Resource Management, Migration, Drought and Reliefs, Biodiversity, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation etc. He has authored several books on: “A study on Status on Environment in Andhra Pradesh”, 1990, A Study on Occupational Migration among fisher folk vis-à-vis status of women and children in coastal district 1999, A study on commercial sex workers and their children in coastal Andhra Pradesh, 2002. He is the recipient of International Solution Search Award for best climate change efforts, presented in Washington DC, USA in 2013 on behalf of Academy of Gandhian Studies.