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Women's Safety Challenge Community Champion Update #3

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Karolle Rabarison is our current volunteer Challenge Community Champion. You'll see her popping up across the Women's Safety Challenge with handy tips and words of encouragement – and posting community updates here like a true champion!
"Sidhe jao, sidhe, sidhe!" Five seconds in, I already regret taking a cab instead of walking. When locals don't realize that I don't understand Hindi, they keep shouting the same thing over and over again as if I were hard of hearing. I do the same when I only know one word that applies to the situation at hand: "Straight!"

But language barrier is a small thing compared to everything else that complicates transporation and mobility in this city. Lucky for me, I will spend the better part of the afternoon listening to men and women discussing how to improve exactly that. 

Photo by Hery Zo Rakotondramanana

It's Monday, and in lieu of a lunch break, I'm on my way to Lalbaug to join an employee workshop at EMBARQ India. EMBARQ is a global network of nonprofits working to transform urban transportation and accessibility in collaboration with local transport authorities. The workshop is a practice run for the ConnectKaro conference, which EMBARQ will host in Bangalore this month.

I connected with EMBARQ when Sonal Shah posted on OpenIDEO about working to highlight the unique way women and girls experience the city, and the workshops are only one part of this initiative. We exchanged messages off-platform, and a few days later I was sitting with her colleagues chatting about our train commutes, the public spaces we use, and the number of stray dogs hanging around bus shelters.
One of the best things about a platform like OpenIDEO is that it not only creates an environment where new ideas can emerge, but also builds a repository of existing ideas that are already transforming communities. Ideas we can adapt, learn from, or scale.

What should you do with this wealth of information and connections? Reach out, of course. Engaging with what already works will inform our thinking as we approach the Ideas phase. See an organization running a girls' soccer program that strikes you as scalable? Leave a note to say you'd love to visit a site. Curious if a film campaign advocating for gender equality will run in a theater near you? Contact the organizers and make it happen. Come across a program that empowers men to fight for women's safety? You know what to do. And your OpenIDEO experience – and the outcomes of this challenge – will be all the richer for it. 
I'll leave it to Sonal to describe her workshop and preliminary insights in full. For now, suffice it for me to say I'm game to trade more lunches to connect with the OpenIDEO community offline.

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Community Champions , Women's Safety Challenge


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