For those who can’t attend Beer, Cheer and Games on the 14th of September, you can make a donation to ECF via MyDonate. All donations come straight to ECF via our partner Dasra UK.
It costs just £40 to graduate each man and set him up for the future as an advocate for gender equality and an end to violence. Each graduate empowers up to three women bysupporting them in their businesses, health and education.
Thank you for your support.
The ECF Team
You can donate directly here: http://tinyurl.com/3jmp8jd
When ECF mobilises in a community to deliver Action for Equality our first task is to conduct a baseline survey to gather data on the community, and both men and women’s perceived levels of violence. We started working in Bhim Nagar in January 2011 and our approach in this low-income slum community was no different to the other 23 communities we work in.
During the baseline in Bhim Nagar, we observed that women were reluctant to talk about gender discrimination issues. Issues including inequality in household decision-
making and the prevalence of violence against women perpetrated by men were considered taboo and were difficult to discuss. However after regular activity from ECF staff and AfE graduates, including community based advocacy events and a series of monthly meetings with women in the community, we gained their trust and their behaviour has changed. Now they have started co-operating with ECF and even actively supporting our activities. They tell us that they want to help because our work with men is actually benefiting them.
Anjali Thorat is the sister of Atish, a graduate from AfE’s Bhim Nagar branch. Anjali tells us she believes that AfE is essential in their community because both her and her female friends face regular abuse and harassment on the streets in their community. They often hear and see incidences of domestic violence.
Women in Bhim Nagar not only support us in principle, but they have begun to support it with action too. Recently, the local politician denied ECF access to the community venue that we use to deliver training events. Three local mothers who have benefitted from behaviour change in our graduates went to meet the politician themselves, to convince him to let us use the community hall. They have not succeeded yet, but with their support, and concerted efforts from our field staff, we will regain access to the center.
Action for Equality engages women through design. We build a relationship with women because they give us a license to operate at a local level. They help us solve operational problems in the community, and they help us increase men’s enrolment and attendance. We also work with women in the communities during our Action Events, a series of community based training events where women are empowered by men who impart education and skills training. Finally we engage women to understand how our programme is working. We poll them to understand if they observe and benefit from more equitable behaviour from men in the community.
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When Ashwini is not studying in her local Marathi medium school, she helps her mother with all the housework. She spends all her spare time taking care of the house and her siblings. Her brother Tejas never used to help. As a male, he was used to being served by the women in the home. Tejas has been a part of Action for Equality since January 2011.
At first Ashwini thought Action for Equality was all about watching movies, playing games and acting. But then she started to notice a change in her brother’s behaviour, in particular as he started participating in domestic chores; supporting women in their traditional roles. Ashwini remarks: “Nowadays he doesn’t say no if I ask him for help. That’s a change!”
Although Tejas continues to be aggressive, and to shout when he gets angry, Ashwini tells us that “…these days we can discuss things rather than fight it over. If we compare what Tejas was before attending the sessions to the way he is now, he’s less aggressive now.”
She said, “Tejas has changed not only as far as his actions are concerned but also the way he thinks about things. He has become a bit considerate.” Although Ashwini recognises that there is a long way to go, she finishes by telling us, “The fact that some change has occurred is enough for us and we are very happy with him now.”
As part of our efforts to understand the impact of Action for Equality, ECF staff interview women, like Ashwini, who live with the men on the programme. Since January 2011 we have interviewed over 174 women. We are in the process of analysing the results to identify how many graduates demonstrate significant behaviour change.