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Stopping Violence Begins at Home

Helping women in India live without fear of violence and experience respect equal to that of their male peers by: • Connecting the Mahila Panchayat community mediation centers to create a crisis response, a community volunteer network of women who watch for, help and support women facing violence. It will also be an infrastructure to enhance outreach to all community women so they may know their rights and the availability of support programs. • Working with lawyers and legal educators to design gender sensitivity continuing education. • Facilitating the formation of a committee with government representation to monitor the enforcement of protection laws and overcome resistance to gender sensitivity training.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury

Written by

Provide a short description of your idea

Our idea primarily addresses the problem of domestic violence, harassment, and abuse of women and girls by creating a greater service presence of Mahila Panchayat mediation centers and crisis response network throughout the NCT Delhi area, working with law and education groups to create and incorporate a program of gender sensitization education in law and service worker continuing education to better help women facing abuse, harassment and violence and working with involved individuals from government, law, and organisations that have a stake in the success of the PWDVA 2005 to create an Oversight Committee to continue to make the enforcement of the PWDVA 2005 successful. It is also a campaign for awareness of the right to live with dignity and without violence, harassment or abuse.

Get a user's perspective on your idea.

See Testimonies 19-May 2014.pdf in the additional files below.
See Mahila Panchayat Storyboards 15-May 2014.pdf in the additional files below.
See Changemakers Storyboard 15-May 2014.pdf in the additional files below.

Show us what implementation might look like.

See Timeline 15-May 2014. pdf in the additional files below.
See implementation. pdf in the additional files below.
The greatest opportunity and consequent impact is to design a structure bringing together informal community solutions and government resources to implement the existing laws protecting women and the new laws being enacted in response to the growing public outcry against wide spread violence against women.
Stopping violence against women and girls begins at home.  This project would focus on domestic violence and implementing the PWDVA 2005 in all six Sessions Courts in NCT Delhi.  To create a gender sensitivity education program, we will work with established educators such as the judicial academy.  We will also work with legal groups to design an education program incorporating sensitivity principles in the handling of women’s cases for lawyers, police, and protection officers. 

To expand our outreach to more women in the communities, we will work with CBOs, NGOs, and community leaders using the existing Mahila Panchayat infrastructure to increase awareness of protection laws and resources.  To reach youth, we will work within schools to create a standard education program and build the capacity of peer educators to continue the transfer of learning.  

We will facilitate the formation of an oversight committee drawing from key stakeholders at senior levels in the law, educational institutions, and government affiliated commissions to assess the support given through government resources such as help desks at police stations, “181” toll-free hotlines, medical support, and shelter homes and identify where improvements and resource are needed.

Explain your idea in one sentence.

To change the gender bias attitude in the legal system towards women and girls seeking protection from violence by engaging at three levels: mediating conflict, educating women on the law and the available support services, and encouraging service providers to handle women’s cases with gender sensitivity through the Mahila Panchayats; collaborating among the legal and educational groups in the design of a gender sensitivity education program; and, facilitating the formation of an effective oversight committee with government representation monitoring the enforcement of the protection laws, addressing anticipated resistance to gender sensitivity training, and evaluating the progress at the legal system level.

What is the need you are trying to solve?

Today, women and girls in India continue to live in fear of violence in the home, going to school, walking to the community toilet complex, at the workplace, and being in a park, market, or other public spaces. An injured woman is fearful of bringing a claim into the legal system because she brings shame to the family, she faces the biased attitude of police that in the case of domestic violence it is a family matter and she is turned away, and, in the case of sexual assault, she is accused of having brought the violence upon herself and of sexual immorality. Women and girls living in fear lack mobility and as a result they drop out of school, lose access to employment, and are isolated from many community activities.

After 30 years of building a foundation advocating for women’s rights, helping women in vulnerable situations, supporting legislation enacted to protect women and girls, there is a growing understanding and strong belief among grassroots activists and civil society organisations that India is on the cusp of a paradigm shift to eradicate the deep rooted cultural gender bias and attitudes against women.

There are many forms of community redressal mechanisms in India at the village level and caste based, where hierarchies dominate and women fall at the lowest level of the hierarchy. The Mahila Panchayat is unique discarding unequal structures. Mahila Panchayat are by women and for women and known widely as being fair and impartial to men and women in their dispute resolution.
 This pilot intends to take the Mahila Panchayat one step further linking with PWDVA 2005 to reach the magistrate's court i.e. Women access to Justice from the Law.

Who will benefit from this idea and how would you monitor its success?

The low-income women and girls who are survivors of violence living in the urban Delhi area will benefit by being free of fear allowing them greater mobility to pursue education, employment, participation in the community, and an overall improvement in their quality of life. The family unit and community will be strengthened by women’s greater contribution sustaining a culture of a respectful attitude towards women and girls. The social impact of the present disadvantages is huge and even a small transformation will have a material impact on these women and society.

To monitor the impact of this project, we will examine case tracking methods of our own and other NGO Mahila Panchayats to create a standard for measuring the success and failure of cases taken by NGOs to the courts. We will conduct focus groups and interviews of women and their case workers regarding the attitudes of the police, protection officers, lawyers, magistrates, medical service workers, family, and neighbors to measure the shift in attitude. This would give evidence based data information that NGOs will submit to the oversight committee.

Who would be best equipped to implement this idea in the real world? You? Your organisation? Another organisation or entity?

The lead organization in this initiative is Action India. Our key strengths will be fully leveraged in deploying this program using experience in both managing similar projects since 1976 and executing strong, broad, grass roots resources. Action India also has dedicated leadership with a tenured project leader.

We have significant experience working in the urban communities using women helping women strategies to solve community problems. We have used culturally accepted methods of communication including street plays, storytelling, art, and songs to educate women and men that gender based violence is unacceptable. In 1994, we started a community crisis and mediation center called the Mahila Panchayat (women’s court) to apply a grassroots approach to organize community women to watch for, help, and support vulnerable women and children. Since the concept of Panchayat is a culturally accepted community court, the Mahila Panchayat concept was able to gain respect and recognition in the community. Action India created education materials to train community women on the laws and implemented a dynamic process for counseling, investigation, mediation, and follow up of each case. Also, if a woman’s case is not resolved at the Mahila Panchayat level, the paralegal counselors will refer and accompany her to a lawyer and if necessary access the legal system. The Mahila Panchayat concept has increased in outreach by support of the Delhi Commission on Women and a NGO network expansion. One of the successes we have experienced is when the woman survivor of violence becomes an active member of the Mahila Panchayat helping other women.

Further, Action India is involved in social campaigns to build a supportive environment for changing the attitudes in the next generation by educating youth both girls and boys. An example, from 2006-2011, Action India was Secretariat for Delhi to coordinate 10 alliance partners for the We Can Stop Violence Campaign promoted by Oxfam (GB) reaching 80,000 “change makers.” We worked more than 75 schools and 5 colleges in the capital area addressing children, teachers, and parents on the issue of gender based violence and the importance of creating a violence free society. We are also involved in global campaigns such as 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence from 25th November to 10th December, International Women’s Day on March 8th, and more recently, have joined the One Billion Rising to end violence against women.

Through these experiences, Action India is part of a network of stakeholders at senior levels in the law, educational institutions, and government funded commissions. We also are part of a network of other civil society organizations such as CBOs and other NGOs working on violence against women issues. Throughout implementation, we will ask for feedback from these groups to get further information and insight on their experiences with women survivors of violence, their families, members of the communities, school teachers, social workers, health service workers, police, lawyers and magistrates to identify continuing problems and facilitate discussion on improvements.

Where should this idea be implemented?

National Capital Territory Delhi (NCT Delhi) in six Sessions Courts focusing on the implementation of the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDVA 2005).

How might you prototype this idea and test some of the assumptions behind it?

For a pilot of this project, the implementation will take place in three Sessions Courts in NCT Delhi. The implementation will include working with all NGO Mahila Panchayats in those communities to create a Mahila Panchayat network to increase awareness and strengthen the effectiveness of the informal women’s community mediation centers, to increase awareness and access by women to use the Direct Incident Report (DIR), legal services, and government funded support services for women survivors of violence. We will further use the Mahila Panchayat structure to facilitate discussion groups among paralegal case workers, share court experiences, and create strategies for encouraging legal service workers to adopt a gender sensitive attitude.

The implementation will also include using existing relationships to get assistance from members of lawyers groups and education institutions to design a education program on gender sensitivity with education materials and workshops to support the program.

The implementation will further include using existing relationships to get assistance from senior level stakeholders in law with groups such as Lawyers Collective, Multiple Action Research Group, Human Rights Law Network and Delhi Legal Services Authority, educational entities including The Judicial Academy of Delhi, government funded commissions such as Delhi Women’s Commission as well as government representation to create an oversight committee to review the government budget to support the enforcement of the PWDVA 2005 and services such as protection officers, medical care and shelter homes. The oversight committee will also monitor the gender sensitivity training with inputs from the NGO network to influence a wider acceptance of the gender sensitive attitudes at the legal system level.

We assume that some NGO Mahila Panchayats may delay participation in a network due to individual NGO Mahila Panchayat processes and resources that may be tailored to the community and level of funding and, as a result, the NGO leadership may choose to focus solely on the short term needs of the individual Mahila Panchayat and not to spend time developing the network or allow their paralegal case workers to participate in discussion groups. We will work with these NGOs to understand the individual concerns and find ways to work together.

Since the PWDVA 2005 is a civil law brought in the criminal courts which are overcrowded, problems such as the delay of an order or injunction to stop violence may require a more localized solution. We will work with the stakeholders to get suggestions and assistance from the magistrates, lawyers and protection officers to solve the delay and effect a change in the court procedure to make the woman’s case a priority for this type of order.

Although there is general understanding of the need for gender sensitization in the legal system, bringing together different organizations to collaborate on a gender sensitivity training program may encounter resistance due to current project commitments, budget and resource allocation considerations, and other pressures. We will work with these groups to understand their concerns, create a realistic project plan and a time line, and, if necessary, get referrals to other groups that have the interest and availability to participate. We anticipate similar resistance to the formation of an oversight committee and we will similarly pursue workable solutions.

What might a day in the life of a community member interacting with your idea look like?

A couple has come to the Mahila Panchayat for a hearing. A wife sits pensively next to her husband. He looks nervously annoyed at being compelled to attend the mediation. There are no other family member witnesses as the couple and their children live alone due to a love marriage that was not supported by their families. The couple is encircled by as many as 20 women community volunteer members of the Mahila Panchayat present to act as mediators. Also present are two paralegal facilitators. First, the wife speaks her case that he drinks after work and spends the rent and school monies. Also, she gives a poignant description of his treatment of her when he comes home. A Mahila Panchayat mediation leader says, “now let us hear his point of view.” Next, the husband responds with his side of the matter. Then, various volunteers ask questions and make suggestions that leads to lively interaction among the participants. At one point, the husband reaches for his wife's hand and she pulls it away. He realizes that she is not alone and through the process comes halfway to acknowledge her words. Finally, a large register is brought out to record the agreement between the couple primarily that he will come home straight from work, give her the money for household expenses, and be mindful of his behavior towards her. Everybody present signs as witnesses. The couple is given a copy of the agreement and told that a Mahila Panchayat representative shall visit their home in two weeks to inquire how they are doing.

Evaluation results

28 evaluations so far

1. Does this idea have the potential to impact the lives of low-income women and girls living in urban areas?

Yes, the idea clearly targets low-income women and girls living in urban areas. - 85.2%

The idea targets women and girls but isn’t necessarily focused on those living in low-income urban areas. - 11.1%

The idea targets people living in low-income urban areas but doesn’t seem to benefit women and girls specifically. - 3.7%

2. Does this idea describe a set of next steps and a timeline to accomplish them?

The idea clearly outlines next steps, the resources and team needed to execute them and a timeline to accomplish this. - 96.4%

The idea gives a broad explanation of what it hopes to accomplish but there is no clear timeline or activities to reach its desired goal. - 0%

The idea has not clearly articulated what the next steps are. - 3.6%

3. How feasible would it be to implement a pilot of this idea in the next 12-18 months?

Very feasible – the next steps described in the contribution seem achievable in this time period. - 89.3%

A pilot appears feasible but more work needs to be done to figure out how it would be executed. - 7.1%

The idea is not ready to be piloted yet – the concept needs several more months of user feedback and prototyping to be ready for a pilot. - 3.6%

4. Does this idea bring a new and fresh approach to the city or region in which it’s set?

Yes, this idea appears to be new and innovative! I’m not aware of other ideas in this city or region that address this need using a similar approach. - 53.6%

There are other initiatives doing similar work in this area – but this idea targets a new group or has an updated approach. - 39.3%

I can think of many initiatives addressing the same need using a similar approach in the same region. - 7.1%

5. How scalable is this idea across regions and cultures?

This is an idea that could help women and girls in many different cities. I can see it being implemented across multiple regions and cultures. - 92.6%

Maybe but I’d imagine it would need very significant changes. - 3.7%

The idea is really only suited for one specific region / population. - 3.7%

6. Overall, how do you feel about this concept?

I love this idea! - 96.4%

I liked it but preferred others. - 0%

It didn't get me so excited. - 3.6%

159 comments

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Comment
Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great leverage of the the existing Mahila Panchayats! And here's a friendly tip: update your OpenIDEO profile so folks can dig who they're collaborating with. Think skills, experience, passions & wit! Looking forward to seeing more of you across conversations on this challenge...

Photo of Manash Samaddar
Team

This is an excellent idea. Reinforcing the same with one-stop crisis centers, as put forth by the Justice Usha Mehra Commission, could really work wonders for restoring confidence in the system.

http://www.iosworld.org/download/submission1.pdf

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Dear Manash Samaddar,
Thank you for your interest in our idea Stopping Violence Begins at Home. Hopefully the pilot project will lead to one stop crisis centres like Dilasa in Mumbai. Government or private hospitals must create the space and provide resources to serve victims of violence effectively. Ultimately, change in attitude and woman friendly environment at the institutional level will “restore confidence in the system”

Photo of Jogi Panghaal
Team

Dear Gauri,
This is a significant initiative that you are proposing.
I have done a quick reading of your concept note and comments that have come in. I have few suggestions. It's possible that I have missed some highlights of your proposal. Here is my take:

Bringing together of (1) informal community based solutions, (2) using public infrastructure to create awareness, compliance and oversight of the existing framework of laws and systems, (3) creating a channel to constantly inform new policy/legal challenges and opportunities from the ground up , creates a powerful vision towards stopping violence against women in our city.

I feel that this initiative should try and stage it's interventions and activities in an open and explicit manner and not go along the path of plodding quietly and anonymously with its target subjects without news or success stories going out in the public.

What I am suggesting is that dirty linen should be washed in public!

If a woman approaches Mahila Panchayat, then she should be encouraged to display publicly her affiliation to Mahila Punchayat through a process of visual identifications or branding of Mahila Panchayat label in her home in an appropriate visible manner. In an emerging civil society, in a modern state, Mahila Punchayat should perhaps encourage invention of new iconography of symbols and logos that represent new affiliations that this women is becoming part of and which shall empower her in new ways of laws besides renewing the old ways of solidarity.

What this would do is to perhaps encourage the start of a very public and visible movement that addresses a very important social need as you have articulated so well. What I am suggesting is that Mahila Punchayat perhaps should have a strong visual face and thus an identity which would expand its association, recognition and thus affiliation among larger number of communities in our city.

I hope this makes sense, I would love to participate and bring in a social design perspective to your wonderful initiative, Best, Jogi Panghaal

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Thank you for your well thought out collaborations to take forward our mission. However victims of violence need confidentiality and washing the dirty linen in public may harm her and increase the violence.

Photo of navjot sidhu
Team

Great Idea!! Indeed a required platform to boost morale of Indian women, so she can not only speak for herself but also get listened by others.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Welcome to our Changemakers campaign. We would like more and more young man to bring about attitudinal change and develop a new culture where women are respected.

Photo of Soma Kp
Team

I endorse the idea Gouri- there is a dire need to have such initiatives that will strengthen the space between law and its effective implementation. and this strategy brings women into the centre of decision making processes.
Do work on the institutional mechanisms to create greater gender sensitivity. This could also be linked to outreach groups to support gender awareness related to status of girl child, dont you think?

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Dear Soma,
Outreach groups will be crucially important after the pilot stage in Delhi is ready to be replicated. As you know Action India is working on gender awareness related to status of girl child as that is crux of the problem. Sensitizing institutional mechanisms are very much on our agenda. We will need all your support to make this a successful campaign.

Photo of Rachna Shanbog
Team

Gouri ji, glad to know that the project will be with Mahila Panchayat Members, involvement of community participation in dispute redressal is an important aspect of empowering women to take own decisions. Any project that looks at building capacity of the community addresses the sustainability issues that we all have been facing in our project areas. As we all are now talking to Sustainable Development Goals post 2015 MDGs, this initiative will definitely can be one such models contributing to the SDGs.
Wishing Action India the very best for a successful campaign.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Thank you Rachna,
Your organisation Women Power Connect will have to play very important role in forming the oversight committee. This will involve advocacy and lobbying and I am confident that WPC has skills and connections to reach the important people in order to create political will.

Photo of Deepti Mehrotra
Team

We really need this project in Delhi - a city where by today's news figures, 6 rapes and 10 molestation cases have been reported everyday between Jan-April 2014. The city has high incidence of crimes like dowry, dowry-related wife-murders, marital rape, sex-selective abortions, and widespread acts of discrimination and neglect of girls and women. At the same time we have a history of strong women's movements, which have taken up each of these issues, & due to which these issues are visible and reported. From years of learning within Delhi's movements, and from a social science perspective, I know that groups like Action India contribute to a sense of women's agency in this city, building women's voice, confidence, and a discourse that counters violence and misogyny. At the present juncture there is an urgent need to strengthen these voices and take concerted action to generate security in order that women enjoy greater mobility, freedom and wider life-options.

A few suggestions to the project team - in response to their excellent ideas and ground-level plans:

1. The proposal focuses on women's safety in low-income areas -- gigantic slum settlements, ringed around India's capital city. I'd like to suggest that cross-class linkages between women be explored systematically, as part of the project. Mahila Panchayats function with low-income women's leadership - and this is something middle-class women need to know more about, learn from, build links of solidarity with - and contribute to. Dialogue, at different levels including public platforms, would be mutually beneficial for a forward-looking movement.

2. Young women particularly need to be provided opportunities to fight violence, within homes and in public spaces and institutions. They face the brunt of male violence and they are battered, beaten, assaulted - and simultaneously called insulting names, humiliated and defamed. Young women need as much chances for mobility, education, choice, and leadership, as possible. They also need to be respected, honored and heard - at many different forums. This project can set a model for this.

3. Women in low-income areas have evolved some incredible coping and fighting mechanisms. The project should identify, understand, and strengthen these. Women survive because they stand up for their rights, within families and outside. I know women who are strong beyond belief, living in adverse circumstances, all the odds against them. Their strengths and stories need to be highlighted. These women need to be respected as community leaders. They can teach many of us several skills, which can help us think on our feet, protect ourselves, self-defend... care for oneself, and at the same time, for others.

4. The project, with all its proposed activities, has deeper ethical and political dimensions. It will contribute to building up a feminist understanding of women's security/ human security. Women would be helped to clearly reject patriarchal definitions of security, and define and claim the right to security as we see it, to live without fear and controls. At the same time, women in this project would help re-conceptualise terms like justice, caring, human rights; satyagraha and ahimsa; praxis and dialogue.

6. Women's testimonies will gather. The dimension of writing and communicating human interest stories (through articles, features in the media, books and booklets, short films, public art-work, social media and wall journals etc) should be seen as an integral and inseparable part of the project. Everyday a story could come out of this project, and reach people across the globe. It can truly make a difference, not just locally - but also globally.


with all best wishes.

Photo of carolyn elliott
Team

This is a very impressive and worthy project by an organization with deep roots in local communities, a long history of building local institutions to deal with community problems, established ties with other NGO's, and political know-how about the importance of securing implementation of law. The problem it addresses is notoriously elusive and requires the multi-faceted approach that is proposed. I think this project is eminently deserving of support.

Photo of Tanu Arora
Team

I feel it's a great way to bring change in our society and can very well help women empowerment. We all support this initiative by you !!!

Photo of Raju Kumar Singh
Team

"Stopping violence begins at home" is a very good initiative of Action India for creating a equitable society for future not in India only but across the globe, if it is supported by society and the respective government. The three elements of the this program provide a conducive environment at different level of action to empower women in this patriarchy based society where women and girl child (mainly female sex) are suffering from physical and mental violence since their birth. In India the birth of male child is celebrated with joy in all section of society and in this process some women of the family also play a role. In some cases it has been seen that some women of a family always use abusing language against a woman who delivers girl child. Therefore changes in attitude is also important in women mind also for the successful of this mission. In this concern I would like to give some suggestions which are following:-
1. In the case as discussed above, this type of women who support inequality in between male and female and prefer male child over the female child should be made aware about the negative implication of her behavior through different type of program.
2. In our country there are sufficient law regarding domestic violence but the main problem is not proper implementation of the law and slow rate of delivery of justice by the judicial system of India. Therefore I want to suggest that much more NGO's, civil society, and activists etc. should come together to make pressure on government to make a crucial judicial reform as soon as possible for accelerated delivery of justice.
3. The second element of the program about gender sensitivity through education is very important for future society. In this concern NCERT and other state agencies which design course material for students in India should work together and develop books for the students from basic class.

Photo of Kriti Paliwal
Team

I also like Raju Kumar Singh's idea, work together with NCERT for gender sensitivity in education for students and teachers.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Thank you Raju Kumar for your thoughtful views and suggestions on the issues around violence against women. We hope you have the opportunity to work with an NGO addressing these questions.

Photo of Soma Kp
Team

Dear Kriti, I believe NCERT has been working to integrate gender issues in curriculum and to sensitize teachers since the 80s, A more recent effort by Nirantar and others to revise the curriculum was very useful, and they included short case studies of innovations to address gender discrimination as I recall.

For this project, the Mahila Panchayats can well be visualized as a fulcrum for engagement and dialogue on all kinds of gender issues, and that will certainly create a more positive environment for gender equality in their areas of work.

More strength to you all in this endeavour
Soma

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Dear Deepti,
You have an amazing capability to express the ultimate concept. This will enrichen our ideas and reach out to a wide readership on our wall at the openideo.com . we will comeback to you if we get to the proposal writing stage.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Thank you Carolyn for presenting the issue of VAWG in the context of legislating the law PWDVA 2005. Yes ! implementation and enforcement is the responsibility of the Government, but we know that civil society cannot be complacent.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Soma, as you know story telling ,songs, poster making, puppets and street plays are integral to our awareness programmes, making ways of communication creative and culturally relevant for dialogue and debate at the community level.

Photo of smita khanijow
Team

This is one amazing concept which not only creates a community based mechanism of addressing issues of domestic violence and harassment but also enhances capacity of women from various communities in terms of their legal literacy.

Photo of abhishek mittal
Team

Fifty years ago when the India became independent, it was widely acknowledged that the battle of freedom had been fought as much by women as by men .Perhaps women has to face violence especially in the form of rape, dowry deaths and child marriage. The unacceptably widespread issue of violence against women in India has been growing concern and domestic violence remain graver as it is within four walls , left under reported and gets less highlights and legal support.


It is a good collective initiative of action india for creating a equitable society for further not in India but across the globe.

Photo of Pooja Dua
Team

It is a Good campaign.. It is not only creates a community based mechanism of addressing issues of domestic violence but also enhances capacity of women from various communities in terms of legal literacy.

Photo of Abhishek Mittal
Team

This is a great collective initiative taken because it not only strengthen the community women through "mahila panchayat mediation centres"but also provide a platform where women can speak intrepidly and audaciously to get justice. Moreover i support the idea of action india working closely with government system to stringently implement PWDVA .

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Congratulations, Good work! your idea resolves the community based issue and I believe that it encourages women to get involved in the community to a greater extent.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Dear Surriya
The alcohol card is a very-very interesting idea. Can you tell us more about it and how we can access the tool.
It is important to be aware that the mahila panchayats are working in Delhi, in communities where Action India has built a conducive environment over the years and women's solidarity through collectives like Sabla Sanghs, Chhoti Sablas, (14-19 years) Nanhi Sabla (9-13 years ).

Our experience in the rural villages in Hapur distt. shows that it took us 10 years to start the mahila panchayat, as you said women and girls have no options and therefore suffer in silence. A big movement across the country supported with the infrastructure to implement the PWDVA 2005, is possible by strengthening the network of women's organizations in every state.
Thank you for your interest and concern.
Gouri

Photo of Piali Bhattacharya
Team

Its a very nice campaign.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

We would be happy to keep you informed about the project if you would like to join our team.

Photo of Rama Soni
Team

i would heartily pray for success in this important initiative.we all support the mission of Action India.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Thank you Rama for joining our mission. We look forward to your participation
Gouri

Photo of Pâmella Brum
Team

That's a very good campaign, hope your initiative is successful.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Thank you Pamella. Keep in touch.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

One another major problem is alcohol in low income urban settlements. Accept it or not it creates men/women into evil of sorts where they do all sorts of unspeakable crime against those who are silent victims of these evils.

Not only does it cause problem by distorting and taking portion of income from livelihood but also creates problems in the form of increased anger, stress, violent behavior over the victims.

Alcohol behavior cards be introduced and given to women of these households. If the husbands create any sort of problem then women just presses a button, it updates the system and the person cannot have alcohol for a given duration (say weeks or months). Regular trouble creators wont be given an opportunity

Photo of Ravi S
Team

Great thought suriya :) ! Just hopeful that such wonderful suggestions dont get lost !

Photo of Kriti Paliwal
Team

Dear Gouri Di,
Mahila Panchayat is an unique idea of a redressal mechanism for violence against women. It is for the women by the women. I whole heartedly support this Mahila Panchayat forum of women who are unbiased and deal impartially with family conflict to stop violence in the home. The testimonials are reassuring, and show that the survivors of violence become champions for the cause.
 The changemakers can change the gender biased mindset of the community involving boys and men … I am with this idea and change is possible.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

The Changemakers campaign will bring together men, boys, women and girls in the community to make a statement that violence against women is not acceptable. Violence against women is not to be condoned. The best thing about Changemakers is that they pledge to begin with themselves. Small changes make a big difference.

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

One of the major problems is the breakage of social structure where in which due to lack of father figure present within these shorter families most of women/girls/children don't have the moral/educational and at times employment support needed to carry on with their lives without their men. So they just accept the fate of violent behavior. And some young women are afraid of bringing out the problem to Panchayat because her image will be spoiled. How do you motivate the afraid victims to bring their problems to public/Panchayat?

Photo of naseem khan
Team

Gouri di
Good to see the support of Rashmi mam as she is really as asset and great supporter of our initiatives. She was the first one to appoint protection officers in GNCTD. Yes she is very well aware on Mahila Panchayat and I have seen their pilot project of Nari ki Chaupal at PALI of Jodhpur. Fortunately, I was part of it and there also she gave me the opportunity to share the concept of Mahila Panchayat. Thanks Rashmi mam.

Photo of Rashmi Singh
Team

I wish Action India success in this important initiative. While struggling to put systems in place for securing implementation of various acts and schemes meant for women for more than a decade of my work as a public servant , I am fully convinced that such community based practices ( through mahila panchayat or naari ki chupal started as an initiative by us as part of the national mission for empowerment of women, GOI) are absolutely essential for securing an enabling environment for women. I am also hopeful that we will be able to see a more robust system of improved institutional mechanisms in the days to come towards strengthening our ongoing efforts related for preventive measures and redressals for women who are vulnerable/ survivors of violence.
I am sure that together we will make the difference-Rashmi Singh

Photo of naseem khan
Team

I would also like to share very important experience during my visit to Afghanistan for conducting training on Gender and Advocacy with NGO heads of Kabul city and recently to Ranchi, the concept and strategy with the focus of role of Mahila Panchayat members in keeping the vigil on violence in their communities was shared as best practice. It was very much appreciated. Also shared the role of Mahila Panchayats in demanding the Domestic violence act and their active participation for enactment of it. This plan/proposal will play a great role in reviving the movement again.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Dear Naseem
Great news that you have taken Mahila Panchayat to Afganistan. Lets hope for the best for this pilot projects.

Photo of naseem khan
Team

Dear Gouri di
I can see the excitement and support of all friends of Action India for the cause we all are dedicated. It will be our pleasure to come together under the umbrella of Action India once again. Looking forward to hear the go ahead from you.

Photo of Maureen Choudhury
Team

One very significant aspect of Action India’s amazing work, not mentioned anywhere in this proposal, is their active association with Girls Learn International (GLI), a global movement for girls’ access to education. GLI and their partner organizations, like Action India, operate on the principles that humanitarianism has no minimum age requirement, and that global youth, in particular girls, have a crucial role to play in leading the movement to affect change for girls and women all over the world.

GLI school-based Chapters in the U.S. are paired with Partner Schools in countries where girls still lag behind boys in access to education and where girls are far less likely than boys to stay in school past the primary grades. Through communications and creative student exchange projects, students in GLI International Partner Schools learn about each other, the challenges to girls’ education, and what students are doing to advocate for girls’ human rights. These partnerships create opportunities that address the obstacles facing girls and women around the world. This is one more way that Action India’s participation is building a movement of informed advocates for universal girls’ education and a new generation of leaders and activists for social change.

GLI also offers all girls the opportunity to reach fathers, husbands, brothers and uncles in the home and realistically influencing patriarchal attitudes…before violence has a chance.

Congratulations on your ambitious proposal and best wishes for a successful implementation.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

This is a great idea linking GLI girls to the project, Stopping Violence Begins at Home. Could you be more specific as to how we could connect with different schools and include them in our Changemakers campaign. They will obviously need a communication link directly with GLI girls.

Photo of Maureen Choudhury
Team

Expand the GLI network to as many schools as possible!! GLI students/members use an extensive curriculum developed by GLI to learn about issues dealing with human rights and girls’ education. The GLI curriculum is specifically designed to guide participants in developing critical thinking, problem solving, and advocacy skills essential to effective leadership. Members examine the relationship between girls’ access to education and poverty, early marriage, trafficking, violence and discriminatory practices. Group activities and exercises are included in the curriculum to help members think about human rights in creative and interactive ways. GLI members apply the knowledge they’ve gained to raise awareness in their schools, communities and homes about the challenges facing girls around the globe. GLI members learn through the curriculum how important and vital it is to spark global conversations that focus not only on protecting the right to education, but also on the importance of raising awareness and demanding action. Building student-to-student, and student-to-parent/family awareness, GLI is building a movement of informed advocates and a new generation of leaders and activists for social change.

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Team

Wonderful scope for involving the younger generation. We hope we will continue to strengthen the international ties between GLI girls.

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Here's a friendly tip: update your OpenIDEO profile so folks can see who they're collaborating with here. Think skills, experience, passions & more!

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Team

Dear Meena,
Greetings from Action India. We hope you have seen our story boards on mahila panchayat and changemakers, the timeline and Delhi Model for implementation of PWDVA,2005 etc.
We have earlier responded to the questions sent by Yennie Lee and hope that you have seen it.
We will be sending you a profile of Gouri, Action India's staff details and 3 testimonials of victims to survivors. Please guide us wherever you feel we may not have completed all the steps required.

Thanking you
Gouri Choudhury

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Dear Meena,
Greetings from Action India. We are nearing the end of the Refinement phase. We have presented all aspects of Stopping Violence Begins at Home and responded to comment with clarification. We have uploaded 9 additional files with illustration , poster, testimonial, photos, timeline and activity chart and diagrams. Please give us your feedback and enable us to initiate a discussion/ dialogue with the IDEO design team to refine our ground level experiences to create innovative strategies to amplify change. Also, we would like you to introduce us to new communication skill/ tools to be employed at three level of the stakeholder. Look forward to your response.

Thanking You
Gouri Choudhury

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Would be great if you can fill out the two additional sections in the submission form: Show Us What Implementation Might Look Like + Get a User's Perspective on Your Idea. We're sure you've got further insights to share for both sections, ahead of our Evaluation phase which starts in a couple of days.

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Team

Dear Meena,
We have described in detail what implementation might look like and its relevance to women and girls in low income urban areas. We have earlier presented three testimonials which show how women have stepped out of violence in the home and rebuilt their lives.
 Also as the idea of Mahila Panchayats to access the law has been envisaged on the earlier experience, we have emphasized the training and linkages of the para legals with the state appointed protection officers who enables the victim of violence to get the stop order injunction and the reliefs provided in the law. More importantly we are training 98 paralegals to support 18 protection officers spread over 12 Districts in NCT Delhi to enforce the law effectively. The role of the oversight committee will ensure accountability and all round motivation to reach our goal.

Please do guide us to how to find the submission form to upload two additional section : Show Us What Implementation Might Look Like + Get a User's Perspective on Your Idea ?

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

If you hit the Update Entry button, you'll see the 2 questions I mentioned near the top of the submission form. If you are answering either of these questions via the PDF files which you have uploaded, you can just enter a line like: "See our XX PDF" as your answer to the question)

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Team

Dear Meena,
We have given explanatory narratives on implementation of the pilot, and its relevance to women and girls in low income urban area. This has also been updated in our idea as an additional pdf file 10.

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Team

Lee Ann Hedeen
May 27, 2014 @ 8 am EST

I worked at a Crisis Center and Shelter for 18yrs. Having many groups working together, police, lawyers, judges, shelter homes, and community volunteers improves the ability of women and children to survive and rebuild their lives. Action India ideas are important in understanding that all the different groups are needed for a solution
May your efforts have great results

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

You are so very right talking from 18 years of experience. Hopefully this pilot project will facilitate bringing together the many groups mentioned above. The National Secretariat for Implementation of PWDVA 2005 formed in 2006 gives us the confidence and credibility that we can build alliances and foster new leadership at three levels to build the Delhi model. From victims to survivors will tell many success stories in the days to come. This piece of legislation is historic and revolutionary . If implemented in ts true spirit it will empower women to seek protection directly from the magistrate with a little guidance of the protection officer provided in the law. The Mahila Panchayat becomes a stepping stone to access the court.

Photo of Karen Choudhury
Team

I like the testimonials. They show how women helping other women leads to positive change that expands from one woman to many women. When I first looked at the Action India brochure and poster files on violence against women they seemed overly busy and bright with the highlighting of terms, but when I read Santosh's testimonial that she was able to piece together the information in the Action India brochure with only a 5th grade level education which led her to seek help then I understood that these postings work to help women with limited education to know they have rights.

  I like that this idea examines the existing Action India and other NGOs Mahila Panchayats and collaborates on best practices to seek mentorship and improvement among them. What I also like about Action India's concept is that each group you have identified (1) NGO and other grassroots organizations, (2) legal and other service providers, and (3) the oversight group are all separate and important components in the success of the implementation of the PWDVA 2005 and other recent laws protecting women, girls, and children against various forms of violence. Can you provide more information on how you and the NGO organizations will work with the other groups to create a unified effort on the implementation of the PWDVA 2005?

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

How we intend to create a unified effort to implement the PWDVA 2005. First of all many of the activities in the timeline will run simultaneously converging at different points as shown in the Venn diagram. That is there will be a vertical feedback system on sharing of experiences and data. The role of the core group is crucial acting as a steering committee and the members from the earlier campaign to legislate PWDVA 2005 will collaborate to build the alliance with orgnisations, institutions, NGOs, CBOs and the grassroots members of the Mahila Panchayats, paralegals and protection officers. Only a unified strength with a clear strategy to challenge the gender bias in our society and the legal machinery will enable the victims of violence to access justice.

Photo of Karen Choudhury
Team

The sharing of experiences among the groups is really good. I agree that a core group needs to provide the feedback and updates to all groups and keep the work on everybody's to do list, mostly when you ask respected persons who are giving of their time to be involved. It is good that Action India is taking the lead to make sure the idea moves forward.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

We will continue to need your constant vigilance on our documents and data.

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Team

I feel it's a great way to bring change in our society and can very well help women empowerment. It's a different approach and very realistic in nature and if supported well then can make a lot of difference. I would like to support this initiative on this "Open Ideo" forum so that it can be taken forward.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Thank you Alok for your support. May be we can ask you for technical support particularly reaching out to the IDEO team.

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Team

Surely, I would like to help in any way to this initiative.

Photo of Alok Paliwal
Team

Please provide details around the technical support you would need on this initiative so that we can work out a plan together, let's take this initiative to next level by helping each other

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

...for instance programme design or strategic planning beyond pilot stage...

Photo of Ann Congleton
Team

Each of the three elements of the "Stopping Violence Begins at Home" Idea seems to me very worthy of support, and together the three make an enormously valuable proposal. First, the already successful establishment of individual Mahila Panchayats makes the creation of a network of them feasible as well as powerful. Second, educational materials the proposers have developed in the past show the proposers' impressive capacity to "design gender sensitivity continuing education" which can be accessible to the most vulnerable women and to their communities and which can be made available to them through the mahila panchayats. Third, "the formation of a committee with government representation to monitor the enforcement of protection laws" would meet a central need which I heard recognized by the proposers of this Idea even before the PWDVA was passed, namely the need to assure enforcement if the law was to be of any use.

I had the great good fortune to get to visit Action India a couple of times a few years ago, and what I learned there became an important part of the course I taught in feminist theory in a U.S. women's college, Wellesley. First, my U.S. students were greatly impressed by the mahila panchayats, including the impressive way in which Action India had drawn upon an existing and accepted social structure, the village panchayats, to make understandable a version which would meet gender needs (of men as well as of women), needs not met by the traditional panchayats. The fact that the U.S. lacks anything like the panchayats made the mahila panchayats all the more impressive and instructive to my U.S. students.

Second, Action India's educational materials which reach across economic and educational divisions were also very impressive to my U.S. students, most of whom were only beginning to develop understandings of the challenges of achieving economic justice across educational divides. And third, the recognition that laws are useless without enforcement is something that I heard the proposers of this Idea discuss at the very beginning of the movement that achieved the PWDVA and that was very important for my students to think about because it is something that needs to be recognized and provided for by any reform movement anywhere.

Thus for all three of its elements and their combination, I greatly applaud and admire this idea, and I join all its other supporters in hoping it can receive the support it needs to go forward.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Dear Ann,
What a deep insight you have expressed in your comment and thank you for your support to the cause of violence free homes for Indian women.

Photo of Ann Congleton
Team

Your "Stopping Violence Begins at Home" could achieve things that could be a model for "the cause of violence free homes" for women in many places!

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Team

Dear Ann,
We seriously intend to continue our journey on accessing justice through the PWDVA, 2005 and take it beyond Delhi to other states.

Photo of Soma Kp
Team

Institution building on Micro finance has captured the imagination of so many due to its profiteering potential, whereas institution building for a world free from violence remains a challenge due to the resistance from structures of patriarchy that thrive on the culture of violence!
It is important to converge these forums with state support for infrastructure and legal support and shelters as well and to make sure that these are robust agendas with adequate funding; so can I suggest that we also undertake an exercise to strengthen gender budgeting for infrastructure and legal support with state institutions such that the overheads of the programme can eventually be viewed as entitlements for every woman?
 Andhra PRadesh had set up pranganams in every district with infrastructure for vocational training, legal aid and crisis shelter for women - their limitation however was the lack of an active outreach forum for women to have access and support in cases of violence. Here we need the reverse linkage
Hope this suggestion is useful friends.
Soma

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Team

Dear Soma,
Gender budgeting, though not mentioned specifically is very much on the agenda. The Government's gender budget programmes are in place in many ministries, but we don't know how this benefits the women's constituency.

Photo of Sonali Singh
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Gouri Di, This is a great initiative to be taken especially of strengthening the community women through "Mahila Panchayat mediation Centers". This initiative is important also because it will bring change at grass root level. When we talk of change in era of globalization and liberalization. The change will only be in real terms once it reaches at grass root level. When our community women are strengthened and are not sufferers of violence, then it will be development in real sense for our nation. I strongly support this initiative and I am hopeful that it will be able to help community women to shine and to outshine violence. They will be change makers of ending violence rather than being the sufferers of it. My best wishes are with you.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

We like your appreciation of change at the grass root level. We are working bottom up hoping to connect with the NGO network we are planning to strengthen and reach up to the government and ministry level through advocacy and lobbying.

Photo of Sonali Singh
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Dear Di, this would be great going in bottom up direction by networking and advocacy. Reaching to ministry finally. If each one of us from grass root level to higher level give our best, it will be revolutionary change towards a violence free society where women would live a life of dignity and self respect. My best wishes and full support with this. I would like to be part of this change maker campaign and would give my best in bringing this change towards women.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Thank you Sonali.

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I feel the best part of the Changemaker’s campaign is that, they are community based action groups and ready to take active step to stop violence and able to provide mental support for the victim.

Photo of Soma Kp
Team

It is our every day efforts in the day to day life that will bring about a change- and we can all be change makers in that way, so kudos to the changemakers and we need more such intense campaigns, led by the women of the Mahila Panchayats!
Soma

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Their is nothing that can grow and become a strong movement for change without the day to day efforts by Changemakers. As they say little change makes a Big Difference.

Photo of Sulekha Singh
Team

yes this is great idea .All women groups,educational institutes,intellectuals should join your campaign.i wish your success.

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Thank you for your appreciation. We hope you will work hard to make this campaign a success.

Photo of Sandhya Mishra
Team

Wonderful idea having three pronged strategy.....appreciate it. If we are creating demand by educating women and girls on sexual violence issues at the same time the services providers will be motivated and encouraged through Mahila Panchayat. Thank you Gauri ji.

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Team

Dear Sandhya,
Glad to see that the three pronged strategy is appreciated. The test of the model lies in the convergence both vertically and horizontally.

Photo of Mahak Saboo
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Mahila Panchayat mediation center will bring a great change to the society and will help for a better and brighter India

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Team

Mediation is non violent way of conflict resolution it offers a win win outcome for both parties.

Photo of Riddhi Bhasin
Team

It is a great beneficial thing and it shall be helpful in formulation of a better and a good society to live in. I support this initiative.

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Team

Join the Change makers campaign Riddhi and take the spirit of no violence back to Dehradun.

Photo of Amit Choudhury
Team

Helping women live without fear of retaliation and violence when they speak out, and to live with equal respect and dignity should be the norm. The Mahila Panchayat mediation centers and Action India are in a position to help make this a reality and should be supported for their effort.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Thank you Amit for your appreciation. We will need your support and guidance on technology to develop innovative tools for women to use for communications

Photo of Kay Hedeen
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I have worked with a charitable organization that advocated for children using volunteers to do home visits and draft reports to the courts. In my experience, the judges welcomed our reports and evaluations on the child's situation in the home. I believe Action india's idea of having the NGOs and CBOs support the efforts of law enforcement and the courts to get faster results to a larger number of women in violence situations is a good one. Also, having the community worker's provide reports and evaluations to an Oversight Committee is a very good idea.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Dear Key, I think including children is very important while addressing domestic violence, particularly discrimination against the girl child. The oversight committee is expected to make a big difference to ensure proper enforcement of the PWDVA, 2005.

Photo of Kay Hedeen
Team

When I met Gouri in 2006, I learned that her group had once helped rural folks understand that my Rotary organization's polio vaccine was a good thing for their children. I was not surprised to see from other comments that Action India's Mahila Panchayat is established and respected as a creative solution to get women redress. Since there are so many women in need, maybe there is a way for courts and government (they both likely have a lot on their plates as it is) could work with the Mahila Panchayat network to get enforceable results faster for women in very serious bad situations. From Ed Hedeen

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Dear Ed Hedeen, Thank you for your observation. We look to you for your continued support.

Photo of Tanu Arora
Team

I feel it's a great way to bring change in our society and can very well help women empowerment. We all support this initiative by you !!!

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Team

Welcome Tanu, to our initiative, we hope you will continue your interest actively to grow this idea.

Photo of Spencer Hedeen
Team

I would like to support this initiative through 'Open Ideo' of having the courts, NGO 's and law enforcement work together so that women can live without fear of retribution when they speak out to express themselves.

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Thank you Spencer, for your support and encouraging women to live with out fear of violence and speak out.

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Gouri di, it seems you have already rolled out the project and the campaign... great going. I wish you and this project loads of luck. I am certainly hopeful that through this, the millions of women in Delhi will realize their dream and right to live in violence free homes.

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Team

Leena, We look forward to you joining our team if we initiate this idea and take it to the implementation stage.

Photo of khadijah faruqui
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Dear Gauri Di My Action India team, Happy to see your proposal and I really like the idea of bringing justice and support system to the door step of women facing violence.I strongly support the idea of working closely with government system to strongly implement PWDVA. i strongly support the idea of involving young boys and girls in understanding genesis of violence and creating a sense of responsibility in each boy and girl to create a violence free home and a gender just society. My best wishes and commitment to action India campaign.

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Team

Dear Khadijah, do spread the changemaker campaign and get more and more youth involved on social media and around you and your community. Join the IDEO team.

Photo of Tanu Arora
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I feel it's a great way to bring change in our society and can very well help women empowerment. We all support this initiative by you !!!

Photo of Japhet Aloyce Kalegeya
Team

You are idea is good we are all together

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Thank you Japhet , do you have any similar practices in your Country ?

Photo of Vidhu Prabha
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The unacceptably widespread issue of violence against women in India has been a growing concern and domestic violence remains even graver as it is within the four walls, under reported and gets less highlight and legal support. The nuances and the notions of patriarchy creates unequal power relations, subordinate positions of women within homes and affects women's lives and the right to live with dignity.

As we all know,even though India has an excellent law to address domestic violence against women but the ideas, beliefs and practices in the society at large, institutional biases and low public spending to implement the laws, has forced women to stay in the violent homes and society.

Action India team, I congratulate you all, for your continuous effort to empower women, support them and then advocate for better implementation of laws.

The three pronged approach of this proposal seems very empowering:
Having community level prevention mechanisms - through 'Mahila Pnachayat' and paralegal workers, making a dent in the institutions to to enhance the women's access to justice and to educate youth would definitely make a change thousands of families. The idea of this proposal has the potential to generate another level of movement in the region of NCR region where consumerism has given rise to more subtle forms of violence in the lives of women.

 Therefore to me the answer to what might a day in the life of a community member would be....'a fulfilled woman and a progressive family'

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

You have so aptly described the three pronged approach of our campaign Stopping Violence Begins at Home and the importance of enhancing women's access to justice and the importance of changing mind set through education. I see that you are already thinking of expansion from NCT Delhi to NCR region which has two and half times more population. As you pointed out the growth of consumerism and the aspirations and greed fostered by the market economy is leading to greater demand for dowry and consequently devaluing women and leading to more VAWG.

Photo of Vidhu Prabha
Team

Gouri di....no doubt the idea presented through this proposal has the potential of nation wide expansion. As I said , this may lead to a movement initiated by youth .

I juts wanted to add one thing, Action India has such a unique initiative of GLI, I think this should be definitely mentioned . Also to give a boost to mass awareness generation and reaching out to youth social media can be a very good medium, as these days every hand has a mobile and increasingly an android based mobile.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Dear Vidhu you will be happy to learn that the GLI initiative has been connected to this idea if you read Maureen's response. Certainly the long term change has to mobilize large numbers of youth and social media will play an important role. However we need to understand that smart phones are not accessible to women or girls in low income urban settlements.

Photo of Amrita Chhachhi
Team

This is a very important initiative. I find the linkage with the Mahila Panchayats a particularly strong element since it provides a grassroot level institutional base linking with the decades of work done by Action India for women. My full support.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Dear Amrita,
Your vast experience of working with students at the ISS Hague, has given you the knowledge of a variety of grassroots strategies. We hope you can add this to your collection for review and reflection.

Photo of Vibhuti Patel
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Action India has played pivotal role in all India level campign against domestic violence and also for enactment of PWDV Act, 2005. Still there is lot of work required to get the law implemented in different states, budgetary allocation for services such as an emergency shelter, counselling, police intervention, legal aid, child care for (women and children) survivors of violence assigned under the Act.
I support the mission of Action India from bottom of my heart.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Thank you Vibhuti for spelling out each and every aspects of implementation of the PWDVA 2005. We know that we can count on your support and guidance to expand our mission beyond the pilot phase.

Photo of runa bhuyan
Team

Kudos to the team of Action India for taking this initiative towards creating a violence free society. Gouri Di I have perused the entire idea and i must say it is scribbled down in a very systematic and result oriented perspective. Being associated with the working structure of the Mahila Panchayat and the values it carries , I am sure it can act as a catalyst to stop violence at home. Gouri di , as we are talking about delivery of justice , we should also try to rope in the the Judges of the lower judiciary. Speaking from my personal experience, your task become that much more easier if you have gender sensitized judges at the other side. We have now Mahila court in every district court so in association with the bar council of each district court we can organize interactive gender sensitization session for the judges which will in a way boost the moral of our Mahila panchayat workers and survivor of violence. .
My sincere efforts and support towards creating a violence free society is always with u and the team of Action India.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Thank you Runa for your suggestions. Sensitizing the lower judiciary is very much on our agenda. We will need your help to reach them and bring them in to the loop to join this initiative to access the PWDVA,2005. Also share your experience of the mahila courts with our paralegals to facilitate speedier orders for stop violence.

Photo of Megha Sehdev
Team

Dear Gauri,

I've looked at the project on the site. My major concern is the project is too broad. The title (Stopping Violence at Home) contradicts the many layers of the project (expanding the mahila panchayat network, and developing an oversight committee). In that sense it is somewhat confusing. Can you focus on one objective, such as an oversight committee and the work of paralegals in monitoring and tracking the law?

I realize you may not have time for this. Otherwise the description is nicely written. You may want to define "Mahila Panchayat" at the outset, as well as acronyms such as CBOs. How you will expand the panchayat network is not clear. You could define the various types of mahila panchayats / community groups and how they can be linked.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can offer more help.

Megha

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Thank you, Megha for a deep scrutiny of the idea which no one else offered until now. So let me try to clarify why all these components need to work together to bring about a systemic change.We are trying to graduate the mahila panchayat and the paralegals to play a more active role in accessing the law, particularly using the D.I.R. (Direct Incident Report) to the magistrate to get an injunction to stop violence immediately. This is an emergency law to prevent fatalities from domestic violence. That is why the prescribed time between applying for an injunction and getting an order is three days. Most importantly, the Government of India has ratified CEDAW (Convention on Elimination of Discrimination of Women) and vowed to respect, protect, and promote the dignity and safety of women. Therefore, the oversight committee proposed in this project plays the crucial role of watchdog and seeking accountability from the state.

Regarding the expansion of the mahila panchayat, we are depending on our past experience of building alliances with other NGOs and CBOs (community-based organizations), many of whom are affiliated to the Delhi Commission of Women. Based on the history of our work over the last twenty years, the groundwork for this level is already established. The Delhi Model has four regional zones and thereby responsibility can be distributed efficiently, and yet consolidated for higher-level advocacy.

Photo of Megha Sehdev
Team

Thanks Gauri, very clarifying. Yes, Action India is very well-linked to the NGO/institutional world. Now I want to focus on another issue: that of policy. How will Action India steer the formation of an Oversight Committee. Does it have the clout needed to influence policy change? How do you envision the composition of the committee, its mechanisms of analysis? Finally how will you link the regional networks in Delhi to the overarching watchdog. What kinds of information will flow back and forth? Very curious.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

In 2005 and 2006 the National campaign to legislate the Domestic Violence Bill was an important landmark in Action India's history. The women's network from 22 states organised two National Conferences in Delhi where Action India was nominated as the National Secretariat for implementation of PWDVA 2005. We were able to involve leading lawyers and sensitive judges and high level members of the Government at that time. We are confident of reviving the activist team to continue the process of advocacy and lobbying which was unfortunately nipped in 2007 for lack of resources. Remember, we have a historic and revolutionary law drafted by the women's movement and legislated in Parliament. The oversight committee will design the protocols necessary for effective enforcement of the law. The composition of the committee will require meetings and consultations with high level officials in the ministry, and judiciary, and lobbying with political representatives. Active support from the media will make a great difference and the biggest challenge will be to overcome commercial interests. And ,last but not the least, the campaign network will be strengthened and sustained with your support and participation and all those who have joined the IDEO Amplify Change and given us the inspiration to Think Big.

Photo of Mita Bose
Team

Comprehensive proposal, excellent initiative - a much needed one. Can't think of any organization more qualified than Action India with its impressive track record, vision and commitment to implement this. Excellent story board - however, the screen 'Small actions are making a big difference' has a couple of typo's/ language errors that need to be addressed. The posters are very informative and motivating - although Poster 1 (File 6) seems to have a bit to much information to be absorbed from a poster.

Awesome work, Action India - you can count on my support!

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Thank you for joining our team and we look forward to your active interest at the implementation stage. Poster 1 (File 6) is lengthy and crowded no doubt but it sums up the definition of gender based violence. Its easier than reading the Bare Act !

Photo of partho choudhury
Team

This is a defining issue for our global society today and needs to be a top priority. We also need to recognize that social behavior related policy effectiveness , requires integrated comprehensive support from all stakeholders- families; institutions from schools to judiciary; media and grass root workers. Additionally, political capital and energy needs to be deployed to implement a "system" with "zero tolerance" accompanied by a hyper active media and a streamlined judicial process.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Welcome Partho to this global sharing of ideas ! We are just beginning to learn how the ideo.org brings people across the world to address serious issues and concern by bringing like minded people and organisation to share best practices and in the process gather a wealth of skills and tools to enrich their idea and implementation.

Photo of Sulekha Singh
Team

Mahila panchayat is a great idea, where women get a better platform to become confident and they can speak without fear to get justice. Because the Mahila panchayat consists only of women judges .My suggestion, that the Mahila Panchayat should be everywhere in the country so that women could get justice from any kind of discrimination. I'm here to help for my whole life .
for the expansion of this kind of planning.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

This kind of life long commitment gives us the strength to pursue the struggle to enforce the PWDVA 2005 which has been legislated by the state but has not shown a sincere and serious effort to implement the Law and bring it from words to action.

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Team

A great idea - and I can't think of anyone more suited than ActionIndia for implementing it. These experienced and committed team of activists has been involved with Mahila Panchayats ince their inception, and have been standing shoulder-to-shoulder with struggling women to demand an end to violence. The implementation of the PWDVA Act cannot be left to the state alone - it needs to be tracked and monitored from the bottom up by the all the women who were involved in bringing this pro-women law onto the statute books. Bravo Action India - you deserve to win this award.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Thank you for your appreciation, we will need women like you to be a part of the oversight committee to track and monitor the implementation of the law.

Photo of Saroj Kashyap
Team

Great Idea. I will support the idea.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Join the campaign and be an active part of our team.

Photo of Shibbu Pathan
Team

Me and my all frnds support you......................!

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Welcome Shibbu, bring your friends to join the Changemakers campaign and reach out to the wider community and ensure respect and value for girls and women.

Photo of Devendra Kumar
Team

Good idea it will create a peace in family and society ,equal participation in development process. It will also contributing to reform the Indian culture and moral value among the male section of the society.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Men and women together can build equal partnerships and bring peace in the family through sharing and caring.

Photo of Kavita Ramdas
Team

Action India has experience, commitment, passion, and community roots that can enable it to make a real difference in Delhi's communities. Ending violence at home requires the mobilization of all members of the family, but it also requires connections to legal assistance and community leaders as well as existing government programs to support the family in diffiicult situations. This program seeks to build those bridges across institutions. We hope it succeeds in all its goals! They are bold but achievable in a pilot in Delhi.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

We are glad for your support over the years. We are hopeful that this pilot project will build a Delhi model and from here we can continue the national campaign for implementing and enforcing the PWDVA 2005 in its true spirit. Violence free homes and to live without fear of violence is every woman's right.

Photo of Rashid Salmani
Team

That is the fantastic and great idea for Women campaign.
Me and my family is very impress for this idea.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Rashid get your friends together to join the Changemakers in your community, and bring your family into the No Violence Zone.

Photo of hemant sager
Team

Congratulation for comprehensive idea. This will create a peace in family & society.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Glad for your support. We need more and more men and boys to join our campaign to stop VAWG.

Photo of Vikrant Thakur
Team

great idea.........i will support your the campaign to stop violence at home.me and my friend always supported u....

Photo of Vikrant Thakur
Team

great idea.........i will support your the campaign to stop violence at home.me and my friend always supported u....

Photo of Rohit Choudhury
Team

It is a wonderful idea..........

Photo of Sonam Shabana
Team

Great idea..............................................for helping of womens.

Photo of Shireen Parveen
Team

It is a wonderful idea Gouri di. Me and my all friends support you

Photo of naseem khan
Team

Gouri di, it is very exciting to see the proposal /plan to work on the structure you are planning. As we believe to bring change in lives of women and girls by activating/channelizing the community participation, state machinery and Judiciary. It made me to recall the period of National campaign with Action India for demand/early passage of PWDVA and the collection of 2.5 lacs signature and its presentation in parliament. I can feel the same kind of sensation in myself. After the 24 years of experience of working on Violence against women, wherever we are (Products/Friends of Action India) we offer our services and contribution in qualitative project implementation as we all believe that committed team of individuals/professionals can make the project successful, can take the project to campaign and to the movement. Action India has the strength of bringing the team of experts (Friends of Action India) together as we have shared the same vision with Action India to end violence against women. For us, it is a valuable gift of Action India that our personal and professional life is devoted for the cause. We are very thankful for the same. I think, once again this is the right time to join hands together to contribute for the proposed project by Action India to take it to the greater heights.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Thank you for joining the campaign to stop violence at home, we see the possibility to take this beyond and address the growing violence against VAWG in the capital city. We look forward to your collaboration and guidance.

Photo of Yennie Lee
Team

I've been doing some additional research on Mahila Panchayats, and wondered if you're affiliated with Action India or the Delhi Commission for Women. It seems like there is such a great opportunity to build on the existing redressal system, as your idea suggests. I'd love to learn more!

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Action India has been intensively involved in the movement to combat violence against women since the early 1980s.At that time, “dowry murders” were reported in the daily newspapers and police records showed 600 women were killed every year in Delhi alone. Particularly, young brides were burnt to death in their marital home. Addressing domestic violence became the focus of Action India’s work at the community level.We formed women’s collectives to develop a redressal mechanism to help women facing violence and preventing suicides or murders in the marital home. Survivors of violence inspired the new mediation entity.Women helping women and resolving marital disputes at the community level gained recognitionas mediators – the beginning of Mahila Panchayts. The social concept of Panchayatsas a village level forum for arbitration exists was dominated by the patriarchal ideology. The Mahila Panchayat or women’s mediation centres broke the structural norms with feminist concepts of gender equality. Action India introduced principles of non judgmental and non hierarchical values to build the capacityof Mahila Panchayats members on gender justice.Paralegals were trained by feminist lawyers on women’s legal rights. Mahila Panchayats we reaccessible to women in crisis within the community at no cost or loss of time, and avoided delays suffered and expenses in courts of law.A major achievement of the Mahila Panchayat women, who have sustained their commitment to gender justice, has been the acknowledgment by the male respondents that the mediation hearing was considered as being fair and impartial.After the hearing of conflict resolution,regular followup by the paralegals and members of the Mahila Panchayat ensures the safety and security of the women and children on their return to the household where they had earlier suffered violence and neglect.
The first Mahila Panchayatwas initiated in 1994. Action India’s history of 20 years affiliation is embedded in this the Stopping Violence Begins at Home plan of action which now envisages expansion in conjunction with other NGOs and CBOs. The expansion would include:
- Capacity building of NGOs, CBOs and members of the Mahila Panchayats to access the new law PWDVA,2005 (Protection of Women’s against Domestic Violence Act).
- Change the gender bais attitude at three levels: mediating conflict, educating women on the law and the available support services, and encouraging service providers to handle women’s cases with gender sensitivity which will achieve improved systems response.
- A Delhi Model has been designed to divide the capital city into four regions to facilitate coordination on a monthly basis, and quarterly review of the progress made in the three selected courts in the pilot project.
- Centre to the State level experiences of systems response to enforcing the domestic violence law by holding quarterly meetings locally and an annual conference sharing experiences with a wider participation from Delhi and other States will enable this project to recommend to the government budgetary allocation to ensure proper implementation of the PWDVA,2005.
- Training of paralegals will be an important component of strengthening women’s access to the Magistrate Courts and providing support to Protection Officers to perform their role in facilitating immediate orders and injunctions effectively to stop violence and ensure the five reliefs to be gained under the PWDVA,2005.

Photo of Titlee Abhai
Team

Wonderful Idea Gauri aunty ! We all support this initiative by you !

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Hii Titlee, it's good to see that you are starting young. Please forward this to your friends and ask them to join this exciting campaign to bring freedom from violence in the home.

Photo of Titlee Abhai
Team

Sure Aunty !

Photo of Leena Prasad
Team

Dear All at Action India
It is indeed amazing to see this proposal!

Over the decades that Mahila Panchayat and its workers have been on the field, lives of millions of women and children have already been saved. I suggest we try and capture the impact numbers also somewhere. The so much vocal voices of women that we have at MP is incredible and I only feel proud to be part of such a empowering process.

My gut feeling is that this is the rights based women centric (RBWC) approach that is needed today to ensure women in Delhi are protected and safe inside their own homes. Loads of power to you for making this a huge success. May the PWDVA reach every home in Delhi and bring the much awaited justice to its beneficiaries.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Dear Leena, we hope this idea will come through and fulfill our dreams of 2006 and we will move forward to recreating the National Secretariat PWDVA 2005 and bringing all the states to demand enforcement of this law.

Photo of Sunila Singh
Team

Dear All at Action India
Indeed profound initiative!!

Over the decades that Mahila Panchayat (MP) and its workers have been on the field reaching out to millions of women and children by protecting and ensuring safety. MP and its members have become focal points to address the issues of violence against women that large number women face on daily basis and MPs ensuring that unheard voices of survivors reaches corridors of justices through both formal and no formal measures.
 
Thus vocal voices of women (MP) is incredible and feel proud to be part of such a empowering process. I wish this successful model be replicated in other places as well ,where millions women suffer from heinous violence, women in entire nation be protected and live freedom from violence freedom from threat. I hope the legal provision will reach to every suffering woman get speedy justices.
 
Best,
Sunila

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Dear Sunila, we are looking for your support and participation to implement the idea and strengthen the movement to enforce the law. Please join the team.

Photo of Bhumika Jhamb
Team

Dear Gouri di and the dedicated team of Action India,
First of all, many congratulations for a very comprehensive proposal! The proposal aptly recognises the need to work with the communities (men, women and youth) as well as with the government with the objective of strengthening their interventions and enhancing access to entitlements for the most marginalised women and girls. The strongest point is to leverage the potential of the existing mechanism i.e. the Mahila Panchayat that has already proved to be a great success. The fact that the Delhi Commission for Women is working with Action India reflects the potential of this mechanism. With the limited budgets of the existing legislations and policies, it becomes all the more critical to sustain the pressure on the state to meet its obligations, yet work with the government alongside to support it in strengthening its interventions.

Sincerely hope and wish that Action India can expand the scope of this critical intervention!

In solidarity,
Bhumika

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Thanks Bhumika, you have so aptly presented the solution to implement the law. Please join the team.

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Team

Congratulations on making it to the Women's Safety Challenge Refinement list, Gouri! Thank you for your submission to this challenge. Our team were really impressed with your approach and the experience and expertise you brought to your idea! We’d like you to consider a few questions so we can understand more about your idea and work with you to refine it in the next couple of weeks. How are you affiliated with existing Mahila Panchayats and how will you work with them in future? How will you bring them on board with this idea? Who will you work with first? Would you work with existing actors who work with Mahila Panchayats such as Action India or the Delhi Commission for Women? Can you explain more about how you will enable existing Mahila Panchayat programmes and other CBOs in your area to communicate and work together to share information? What system will you use? How would you form a committee with government representation to monitor protection laws and embed gender sensitivity? Who in the government could work with you on this? What would be the first step you would take to make this idea real? For more tips for this Refinement phase, check out http://ideo.pn/ws-refine-tips and catch our Tools for Refinement at http://openideo.com/content/tools-for-the-womens-safety-challenge-refinement-phase.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Responses for refinement process:
System we will use
form a committee with government representation to monitor protection laws and embed gender sensitivity.
The government work with this idea.
First step we will take to make this idea real

http://www.action-india.org/downloads/Response-to-IDEO-questions-15-May-2014-1.pdf

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great stuff! I especially liked the story board which explained your idea in a human-centered way. Would be great if you could add all of these documents directly to your post using the Additional Files upload feature so that others here can find them in the upcoming Evaluation phase.

Photo of Gouri Choudhury
Team

Meena, Thank you for your review. We had some initial difficulty updating our post with our story boards and timeline. We will try again because we want it to be seen during the evaluation.