Non-governmental organisation (NGO) Shirakat works on human rights, especially women’s rights in Pakistan.
The NGO has recently released some animated videos addressing different social issues, including harassment, discriminatory behaviours, sexual abuse and domestic violence against women, to change mindsets and dismantle patriarchy and stereotypes that equally affect both men and women.
The videos’ topic, script, voiceovers and colourful animations are put together rather well, which keep viewers engaged throughout the videos. The videos have subtitles and are also being explained via sign language.
Talking to The Current, Shirakat Executive Director Bilquis Tahira said that the project’s main focus is to convey messages like how the brought up of daughters and sons develop a certain mindset and then the behavior and reaction of both men and women accordingly construct our society.
“This project is on GBV (Gender-Based Violence) prevention. We have made this to engage women’s voices because most perpetrators of domestic violence are men and the victims are women. And we believe that we will have to change the behaviors of both men and women or boys and girls equally because they live in the same society”, she said.
“We have used this medium of animation because the videos are short and interestingly represented to give the message of positive masculinity also so that people can use these short video messages for self-analysis.”
“We do not say that this project will completely change the mindset of the people but these short videos are based on real stories and we have obviously crafted those but these are the incidents that normally happen. The goal is to make people think about their behaviours, men and women both to analyse that should they be reacting like this in a certain situation.”
She added: “We have chosen the topics from our previous 20 years’ work on violence against women. We have understood the pattern of abuse, how an abuser is not stopped, how an abuser’s behaviour is constructed and how the community enhances his behaviour.”
Speaking about the need to develop progressive thinking in our coming generations, she said, “If we start teaching our children from an early age that we all are humans, everybody has equal rights regardless of their gender. If we start changing the behaiovurs from their childhood so we can be more peaceful as a society. If kids are seeing negative messages from society and they also watch these positive messages, then they get to see the positive side also. They can relate to these stories and bring change in their behaviours.”
Shirakat believes that the main focus of developing progressive thinking should be on the younger generation and particularly on kids.
They run an ‘Early childhood care programme’ and have concluded from their experience that “the earlier you catch them the better”. Working on children’s thinking is more convenient, long-lasting and can be more powerful.
The Current also talked to Wakhra Studios who are behind the animations in this project. The team told The Current that they keep in mind the demographics and psychological aspects of society and its members.
“We try to keep them short with fewer dialogues and more animations so that it is more attractive and understandable. We have also added key messages at the end of the videos so that every person can understand it.”
They said that while making these, they keep in mind that no stereotypes are reinforced or communicated via these videos and sentiments of any part of the community are not hurt.
Answering how much time did it take, they revealed that normally it takes 1.5 to 2 weeks to make an animated video with a duration of three minutes, from the script to the final video
The project comprises of 24 videos and Shirakat has posted 11 videos on their page yet. You can watch the videos on their Facebook page.