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Programmes Thematic Convergence Project in partnership with NMEW-New

A Thematic Convergence Project titled “Campaign against Gender-based Violence (GBV) through Gram Sabhas-Integrating the role of Panchayats to promote and facilitate the institutional mainstreaming of gender, equity and women’s human rights”; is being implemented by Indian Institute for Social Development (IISD) in partnership with the National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW), Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India in Nagaon and Dhemaji Districts of Assam.

 

Objective :                                                                                                                              Photo Gallery

The broad objective of the project is to integrate the role of Panchayats to prevent violence against women and girls as well as to promote gender equality, gender equality and human rights of women and girls.

 

Strategic Themes and Action Plans:

Gram Sabhas meetings are being held to discuss the scope and scale of violence against women and girls, the health and social consequences, how it can be prevented and how to respond to the needs of survivors.

 

The Gram Sabhas meetings will specifically address the following issues related to gender-based violence (GBV):

  • Violence against women (VAW) is a major violation of women’s human rights and a public health problem, affecting millions of women and girls. Women and children experience short and long-term physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health consequences of such violence.
  • Laws to end VAW exist. These include; The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), 2005; The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (PCSOA), 2012 and The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006. There is an urgent need to implement these laws in letters and spirit as well as there is absolute need to raise awareness on these legal provisions among the people at large, particularly among the women.
  • Men and boys have a critical role to play in preventing VAW. Men and boys, who are making a positive change towards ending VAW must be supported in building an alternative narrative about “what it means to be a man”.
  • A human rights-based approach to prevention of VAW must include legislative frameworks as well as comprehensive policy responses that raise awareness and address underlying socio-economic causes.
  • The health sector has a critical role to play in prevention and provision of services as part of a multi-sectoral response to VAW. Health providers need to be trained in providing services and referrals to support survivors of violence.
  • Strengthening the role of women as agents of change to end VAW requires investments in women’s movements, economic independence and education.

 

Each Gram Sabha meeting to address and raise awareness on gender-based violence (GBV), will include;

  • Thematic interactive lectures by resource persons;
  • Sharing of experiences and best practices on ending of violence against women and girls by the members of Gram Sabhas; and
  • Short-duration thematic plays/dramas/creative work on GBV.

 

The organisation has already prepared need-based culture-specific training materials/modules on GBV for the resource persons-Orientation Modules on GBV.pdf 

 

Innovations:

The innovations being introduced in the project are as follows;

  • The project will adopt a “bottom-up” or “seed-model” approach, with its grass-root level institutional participatory intervention by involving Gram Sabhas in promoting mainstreaming of gender, equity and women’s human rights.
  • The project will go beyond the socio-legal approach of GBV and will highlight the vital health and human rights impact of GBV.
  • The project will promote the male responsibility in promoting zero tolerance of violence against women and girls. VAW will be supported in building an alternative narrative about “what it means to be a man”.

 

Convergence Initiatives:

The project is seeking convergence in all fronts; a) institutions/agencies- Departments Social Welfare, Panchayati Raj, Education, Health and Legal/Law, b) schemes/laws-women’s rights, child’s rights, laws related to violence against women and health status of women c) resources-related to the Social Welfare, Panchayati Raj, Education, Health and Legal/Law; particularly at the district level.

 

Policy Learning/Outcomes Envisaged:

The project will have a sustainable long-term impact; as it will involve the communities at the grass-root level-general bodies of villages/Gram Sabhas-the stakeholders- from the very outset in the design, implementation and evaluation of the project-towards lunching a broad-based campaign towards ending violence against women and girls. At the policy level, it will be a unique institutional intervention by the local self-government institution at the village level; gram panchayat being the cornerstone of the panchayati raj system and our participatory democracy.

 

Challenges:

The challenges before the project are;

  • Ethnic and community diversity in the project areas of Nagaon and Dhemaji Districts of Assam; leading sometime to ethnic and communal tensions; thereby jeopardising the status of  women and girls and
  • The stereotyped and conservative attitude of men towards the scope and scale of violence against women and girls as well as its health and human rights consequences.

 

The challenges will be addressed by underlying the absolute need for peaceful co-existence and communal and ethnic amity for individual, family and community prosperity as well as by bringing behavioural and attitudinal changes in men by advocating the positive impact of gender equity, gender equality and women’s human rights in the development process of both men and women, family, community and society.  

 

Suggestions Given in the Review Meeting:

One particular suggestion given in the Review Meeting of the grantee organisations, taken by the National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) on April 21st, 2014, with regard to the project being implemented by Indian Institute for Social Development (IISD) was to address the issue of sporadic ethnic and communal tensions in the project areas; while conducting the programme.

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