In March 2018, IT for Change launched its project Namma Maathu, Namma Jaaga which, when translated, means ‘Our discourse, our space’. The project seeks to address laws and institutions introduced to tackle public and private violence against women which have proved to be ineffective over the years.
Under the project, various intervention mechanisms are introduced through a multi point support system using information and communication technologies. This includes building a cadre of 75 para counselors (comprising ASHAs, anganwadi workers and women community leaders in the operational area) with the skills to provide psycho-social support, para-counseling and linkages to legal aid for women/girl victims of violence in the operational area. The project set up 37 help desks in the operational area which can serve as ‘safe spaces’ for needs-based, women-centric counseling and pyscho-social support services provided by para counselors. It will periodically convene learning dialogues with 75 women’s collectives, 250 adolescent boys and 250 adolescent girls to build their perspectives on women’s rights and dignity. In addition to this, the project will critically interrogate gender perspectives of community members through participatory media (IVR serial Anjali Akka and community video screenings), one public exhibition led by adolescent girls and boys, and seven participatory safety audits, to create and strengthen locally grounded areas of women’s rights and gender equality. The project will also involve setting up ‘men for model village groups’ in all 25 villages to obtain buy-in of male community members and elected male representatives in the Panchayat for local action against GBV.
‘Namma Maathu’ is a monthly level meeting that will serve as a safe space for women’s groups to dialogue on women’s rights, gender justice and violence against women. Namma Jaaga help desks are set up at information and anganwadi centres in the villages which will provide needs based and women centred counselling for women.
The project is being implemented with the support of Edelgive Foundation.