Socially Smart initiative: Orientation of nodal officers for Youth Connect Programme

Bhubaneswar: A day-long orientation programme for nodal officers and student volunteers from educational institutions was organised today at Institute on Management of Agricultural Extension (IMAGE) of Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, Siripur as part of the Youth Connect Programme.
The Socially Smart Project of Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL), Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation and UNFPA being a flagship initiative to bring in social changes first among the youths of the slums of the Bhubaneswar Town Centre District, it has now been up-scaled to a pan-city venture as the city has nearly 28 percent youth in its population. The Youth Connect initiative is a venture to sensitise youth at community level and institutional level.
Today’s program at IMAGE brought together 80 participants from educational institutions across the city including government and private. Representative from Police, Department of Psychiatry Hi-tech Medical College and Hospital, former member of State Women Commission participated as resource persons in the programme.
Diptirani Sahoo General Manager (Social Project) of BSCL presided over the event. She said that unless the women are ensured due respect in the society the socio-economic development cannot be fruitful as they are the core of our social existence.
The participants were updated on the issues of crimes against women and importance of healthy living. Issues of substance abuse and stress amongst the students were also discussed by Dr Amrit Pattojoshi, HoD Department of Psychiatry Hi-tech Medical College and Hospital.
Dr Pattojoshi also suggested at least two urine sample tests for students of engineering and other professional institutions across the city for a possible check in substance abuse as this has a link to later development like crime committed by students to organise money to meet their expenses relating to the “bad practices.’’
Binita Maharana, police officer from Twin City Commissionerate Police said “the students especially girls must feel safe with new policing system with use of technology and democratic approach and they should also make them aware about provisions under law from the various sources so that they can use them later.’’
Former member of State Women Commission Snehanjali Mohanty urged the girls and young women to know the basic legislation and helpline numbers so that even if they are lucky not to use them, they can help others in their peer groups in time of need.
The nodal officers who were present today would go back to their educational institutions and plan for the various events they would organise at the level of their educational institutions. Attempt will also be made to spread the words to the nearby communities and government schools.
The Socially Smart Project has been implemented at the level of educational institutions since 2017 and is reaching out to hundreds of students and trying to create much needed awareness around the issues of violence with focus on gender-based violence and importance of healthy living. The focus of the year would be to spread the words across educational institutions especially at the level of slums and government schools. Various programs like interactions with police officers, lawyers, State Women Commission members, doctors, nutritionists, debate/slogan, poster development around the theme, street plays, workshops etc would be organised at the institutions’ levels to spread the message amongst the students.

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