So the website is finally up! And my, is it kick arse! Kudos Gaurav!
Which brings us to the point where I’ve been asked to write 300 words on what I’m doing right now. Tough one, that.
My name is Ila Reddy and I currently head The Right to Information Branch at The YP Foundation. There’s so much happening around here, I can’t decide where to start!
The YP Foundation in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), Students for Promotion of International Law (SPIL) and Governance Now
presents a discussion forum:
“From Exploring the RTI Act to Building a Movement – Do Young People Matter?”
March 13th, 2010 at 6 PM – 8.30 PM
at Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road New Delhi
The forum will explore how young people can take the RTI movement of the country forward. Bringing together leading and key personalities of the movement, the forum will seek to answer the following:
1. At what stage is the RTI Movement currently?
2. Has the filing of RTI Applications increased the overall efficiency and functioning of public authorities?
3. Internationally, what does the right to information signify?
4. What role can young people play in taking the movement forward?
5. What more can be done to make a larger impact and increase the efficacy of the movement?
Creating a space for inter-generational dialogue, the forum intends to set a collaborative agenda between organizations working on the RTI currently in the city and young people who want to get involved in the movement.
Confirmed panelists include:
Mr.Wajahat Habibullah, Chief Information Commissioner
Mr.Shekhar Singh, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information
Ms.Yamini Aiyer, Accountability Intitiative
Ms.Sanchita Bakshi, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
Ms.Manju Sadarangani, US Embassy
To confirm your attendance please RSVP @ 46792243/ 44/ 9871011544 / 9899651625/ firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope to see you there!
I joined TYPF as a volunteer and later took over as The Coordinator of The Right to Information Branch. Nervous at first about heading a team of 15 volunteers- I didn’t realize how time flew. It was only yesterday that I had 15 wide-eyed faces staring back at me, trying to get a sense of what the project needed them to do.
A million trainings, meetings, conference calls, feedback sessions and the like later, came the workshops and discussion forum we had been working towards. It was suddenly a whirlwind of work! We didn’t realize the extent of the impact we were making, but we just kept going on, pushing ourselves and the team to do better.
It wasn’t until the end of the project that the realization of what we had achieved this year dawned upon us. It was then that emails and messages from the volunteers started pouring in, stating how much they had learnt from the project, how they suddenly realized why each meeting had been mandatory, how it felt so good when someone at the workshops looked back and thanked them for telling them how to file an RTI, how they could finally connect the dots. It was that realization, at that moment right there, that made all the sleepless nights, chaos and hard work worth it.
Working in this organization has made me discover and understand myself, my strengths and weaknesses, my likes and dislikes, my beliefs and politics, and most importantly- who I really am. It’s taught me much more than I can point out. It’s made me challenge myself and what I thought I was capable of.
The Right to Information Branch
While we lie comfortably in our cushioned beds of our bourgeois households, there’s a continuous struggle in the larger world. By this struggle, I’m not referring to the popular and remarkable, larger struggles of society of ‘fast unto death’ to get a Parliament bill passed in a democracy or a ‘Pride Parade’ against the discrimination faced in the country on the basis of one’s sexual identity. It is a much smaller and an everyday struggle within the realm of another household to secure the most fundamental prerequisites for what can be called an ordinary life.
It is a universal assumption that democracy is the best form of governance. Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister during the Second World War era, shared his opinion on democracy to the world – “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” As the latter school of thought believes, with our options otherwise running out, democracy is the last form of governance in the contemporary world.
In India, we are privileged to have the right to choose our representative in Parliament.But is that all democracy means, the availability of this right? Most of us don’t end up exercising all the rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution in our lifetime. For instance, when awareness on the Right to Information Act, (2005) was mapped in the country in the year 2008 by the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), the result supported my statement – only 2% young urban people were aware of the act.