Violence Against Women
AWAG is involved in multifarious activities covering an area spreading across 56 villages falling in Radhanpur, 97 villages in Rapar, 65 villages in Patan and 35 areas in the slums of east Ahmedabad in Gujarat. The issue of violence against women is also tackled by AWAG through advocacy across Gujarat whereby the said issue runs as a common thread through all its interventions. The main thrust of AWAG’s work towards eradicating violence against women lies in devising and strengthening systems that empower women.
Menstrual Health project
Based on the pressing need for personal hygiene that was identified in course of work, AWAG initiated a project related to building awareness about menstrual health and sanitation among adolescent girls and women in its work areas.
Sensitization of Police and Public Service Providers towards Women
Women in distress need sensitivity and support in fulfilling the procedures to tide over the difficult situation that they are in. For this, government officials in the relevant departments (Police, PO under DV Act, Women & Child Development Officer) were sentisized on the issue of violence against women through a number of meetings and training workshops. In this context, AWAG and UNICEF have jointly developed a uniform module, so that even if the resource persons change, the content remains intact. Police asked AWAG to share trainings of 11,500 city-based police (ASI, PC, HPC) with other resource persons.
Gender sensitization trainings for PSIs and PIs of Ahmedabad were conducted in collaboration with Social Justices and Empowerement Department and Police Department. Similarly, in collaboration with State Child Protection Unit (SCPU) and Police, AWAG completed seven trainings in all.
In collaboration with Gender Resource Center, AWAG assisted in sensitization of the police and other stakeholders on a large scale attented the training.
Sensitization of Caste Leaders, ASHAs and Atyachar Nivaran Samitis
Meetings were organized with caste leaders and ASHAs on issues related to child marriages and Saataa marriages (marriage involving exchange of daughters of two families given across to males of the respective families). AWAG intervened in group marriages of 25 couples belonging to Koli communities in Rapar block in the course of which it was realised that some community leaders and family members were forcibly trying to marry off two minor girls without the consent of their mother. AWAG played an active role in preventing the illegal act and even asked the local police, the police chief and the Minister of Home Affairs to ensure that the court’s order was not violated. This incident has opened a window for discussion of AWAG with caste leaders to the effect that community leaders have started protesting against such marriages and furthermore that other caste leaders have realised the need to discourage such illegal practices.
Mental Healh Care of Women
Way back in 2004-06 and thereafter in 2007-08, AWAG had undertaken work with women on the issue of mental health. As a spill-over effect of these efforts in April 2013, AWAG got yet another opportunity to extend its help by continuing its work on mental health in the earlier project areas, with the objectives of providing counselling and psychiatric support to persons sufferring from mental illness and to stengthen women who are sufferring from domestic violence to have a better quality of life.
In order to fulfil these objectives the following activities are undertaken:
- Approaching communities to raise and disseminate awareness about mental health through meetings
- Case diagnosis and services
- Group therapy through workshops
AWAG has addressed this issue through the Women’s Health Reproductive Advocacy Programme (WHRAP), which aims to raising awareness regarding mother and child health rights and facilities among village women whilst simultaneously helping them gain information and services from the government health system through village level women leaders and panchayat members.
Child Protection Programme
Through the programme ‘Protection of Children in Cotton Growing Areas in Gujarat’, AWAG assists in providing an effective environment for adolescent girls in protecting themselves from abusive behavior from their male counterparts.
This is carried out via partnering with government departments and holding sensitization meetings with block level officials. Further, through advocacy with communities in which meetings are carried out with cotton farmers sensitizing them about the effects of child labor, and urging them to send their children to school.