For far too long, women have been at the receiving end of public and private violence. The laws and institutions introduced to tackle these problems have proved to be ineffective over the years. This, along with the rigid patriarchal mindset of society, has led to women being denied their right to voice their problems and find an appropriate solution that can help them transform their situation. To address this concern, in March 2018, IT for Change launched its project Namma Maathu, Namma Jaaga which, when translated, means ‘Our discourse, our space’. Through this project, various intervention mechanisms will be introduced through a multi point support system using information and communication technologies. This will include 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 will 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 will be set up at information and anganwadi centres in the villages which will provide needs based and women centred counselling for women.
The project span over a period of two years, from March 2018 to February 2020, and will be implemented in 25 villages of H.D. Kote in Mysore district. The project is being implemented with the support of Edelgive Foundation.