The Commonwealth Games will begin in Delhi in October 2010. The Capital has been prepping for the sports event since 2008; and preparations are still underway to ensure that the teams that visit India during the Games receive services of international standards.
Cequin (The Centre for Equality and Inclusion), a non-profit organization founded by Lora Prabhu and Sara Pilot, has its own agenda to fulfil before the start of the Commonwealth Games. Operational since 2008, Cequin's prime focus is women's rights.
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Cequin commissioned a study by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS) Communications, which conducted a survey to understand people's perceptions of safety levels in Delhi, based on their personal experiences. The study was carried out among 630 respondents in the age group of 16- 55 years, living in New Delhi and Old Delhi and belonging to all socio-economic classes.
Since Delhi, as a city, is notorious for incidents of sexual harassment and eve-teasing; women don't feel particularly safe in the Capital; and to avoid embarrassing situations when teams from other countries visit India, Cequin decided to work towards effecting an attitudinal change in Delhi.
And thus, was born the 'Make Delhi Safe for Women' campaign. The creative work on the campaign has been created by Brand Planet Elephant.
The campaign includes a series of television commercials, one of which is on-air. Virendra Sehwag, the Indian cricketer who is a Delhiite and a youth icon, has been roped in as brand ambassador. Cequin has also got into an agreement with GMR, the company that owns the IPL team, Delhi Daredevils. Thus, along with Sehwag, Cequin will include the other team members as well in the subsequent communication.
The TVC is simple and direct. It opens on the scene of a group of boys playing gully cricket, when a girl passes by. The batsman whistles at her and makes a lewd comment, embarrassing the girl. Sehwag steps in and asks the batsman to remove the 'Delhi Daredevil' jersey that he's wearing, the point being that only he who respects a woman is a true Daredevil.
The film has been written by Sambit Mohanty, executive creative director, Brand Planet Elephant and directed by Narayan Shi of Final Frame films.
The campaign has been carried out in association with the Delhi government, so that right steps in this direction would be taken. The police department, transport department and various other departments that can effect change have also been called upon.
The other leg of the communication and mission is interactions in schools. The schedule for this will be in keeping with the availability of the brand ambassador, so that Sehwag can address the students and interact with them.
Cequin is also working on a gender training tool for schools, which could be included in the syllabus, provided there is approval from schools. Billboards have been put up in locations where untoward incidences are oft reported. Radio has been chosen as well to get the message across. Programmes with the police on gender sensitisation are also part of the campaign.
Cequin's activities will be rolled out state-wise, because, as Prabhu says, "Every city within India has its own mannerisms, culture and attitudes that need to be dealt with differently."