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Let's raise boys and men to end violence and discrimination against women and girls. (Updated on May 26)

This idea aims to provide young men an opportunity to study and practise gender equitable behaviour. It provides them with knowledge, skills, peer support and leadership so that they can end violence and discrimination against women in their lives and communities. The focus is on prevention rather than post intervention. Also, most importantly the idea aims to move beyond attitude change and focus on behaviour change, so that these young men are equipped to take personal and collective action. The objective here is to create leadership in the form of young men who would work with different community members so that men are raised differently by the community as a whole. The pilot is being implemented & we are looking to scale it.

Photo of Rujuta Teredesai
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Provide a short description of your idea

Our idea is a behaviour change programme model that engages adolescent men. It tackles the problem of violence and discrimination against women and girls. It aims at creating systemic change in a community, where the participants of the programme end their violent and discriminatory behaviour; and the community as a whole supports and raises men to be gender equitable.

Get a user's perspective on your idea.

(Experience map uploaded in the form of 7 steps alongwith the photographs)

Show us what implementation might look like.

(Implementation timeline uploaded alongwith the photographs)

The Action for Equality programme primarily focuses on men in the age group of 14-17 years from low-income communities. It trains mentors to engage successive generations of men; and through partnership places them into low-income communities. Mentors deliver a unique and attractive programme where adolescent men uncover the pivotal role of women in their lives.

The programme is designed to provide men with knowledge, skills, peer support and leadership.

Action for Equality Programme (AFE) is divided into three parts – Graduate Programme and Alumni Programme and Leadership Programme.
AFE Graduate programme
The AFE Graduate programme forms the foundation and lasts for 15 weeks.  The curriculum that has been designed specifically for this programme covers topics such as: Equity, equality, patriarchy, what is discrimination, violence on self and on women, sexual and reproductive health, human rights and so on. Men who participate in the training are also coached through a process of personal behaviour change towards women using bespoke tools that help them manage their behaviour over time and how to apply them in real life situations. At the end of each cycle, men take collective action to support women in their community.
AFE Alumni Programme
In order to reinforce and sustain the positive behaviour change in men demonstrated by them at the end of AFE Graduate Programme, continued opportunities must be provided for them to practise the new found pattern of behaviour. The Alumni Programme builds on this insight and provides volunteering opportunities for graduates on a weekly basis to develop, prepare and deliver interactive and multimedia community activities on issues that focus on violence and discrimination against women. This not only reinforces the behaviour change in the graduates but also increases their capacity to plan and implement the activities. This also benefits the women in the community who receive awareness information and practical advice on tackling daily life discriminations and violence. This is an ongoing activity and is conducted year-round.
AFE Leadership Programme
The AFE Leadership Programme builds on the Alumni Programme. Most active volunteers are nominated to be leaders. They receive training on how they can gradually take complete ownership of the programme and the core objective in their communities. As a pilot in one community, these leaders have formed a committee of community members and are facilitating a dialogue to identify problems and relevant solutions to address the issue of violence and discrimination against women. Safety of women and girls is a primary topic of discussions. The objective here is for the leaders to take complete ownership so that an organisation like ECF is no longer needed in these communities.

Till date:
  • Over 2791 men have enrolled on Action for Equality Programme
  • 1216 men have graduated from Action for Equality Programme from 20 communities across Pune
  • Over 440 men continue to take action every week to support women in their communities
  • Over 2000 men and women have benefited from the programme. 
  • Figures till date demonstrate that 61% of women who live with the graduates of the Action for Equality programme report a reduction in experience of violence or discrimination.

Future plans:

Over the next 5 years we want to:

  • Sustain: Continue to implement and further improve Action for Equality Programme and conduct robust monitoring and evaluation.

  • Expand: We have identified ‘partnerships’ as a key element to expansion. We are currently conceptualising a programme to provide incubation support to organisations that wish to start working with boys and men through their existing work. By end of 2014, we aim to start the pilot. We will provide basic structure to the partner organisations (based on Action for Equality), provide seed-funding for the selected few and coach them in adopting the principles of AfE to the context of their work. So, the communities we reach out to will be where the partner organisations are already working. Our preference would be to begin low-income urban communities. We will be open to working with organisations across India. In this manner, we aim to work with 100 organisations over the next 5 years.

Explain your idea in one sentence.

Create constructive safe spaces for men in the age-group of 14-17 to provide them an opportunity to study and practise gender equitable, so that they can take personal and collective action to end violence and discrimination against women.

We are already implementing this idea across 20 low-income communities in Pune, India for more than 3 years. We are now looking to scale this model and inspire other organisations to adopt the approach of raising boys and men.

What is the need you are trying to solve?

There are 230 million men under 18 in India. As they witness other men's violence against women being systematically unchallenged, they can become abusive too. (Extrapolated UN data suggests that 116 million of these men will have perpetrated violence against a partner and 79 million will have perpetrated sexual violence against anyone.)

Women's empowerment, the traditional approach to addressing this issue, unfairly places the burden of change on women. This approach does not tackle discrimination at its root and is alone not delivering the anticipated or required results in reducing inequality and violence. Women shoulder the burden of the empowerment process; whereas men, whose attitudes and behaviour sit at the root of the problem are absent from the solution.

We believe that unless we embrace the approach of engaging boys and men; irrespective of the resources that are mobilised to support women directly, women will continue to face violence and discrimination.

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

A) Action for Equality (is and) will impact:
1. Boys in the age group of 14-17
2. The women and girls in the communities where they live.
3. The peers of the boys and the other men in the communities

The programme is currently being monitored through four elements:
1. Participation data and inputs of the programme
2. Behaviour assessment of the participants at the beginning and at the end of AFE Graduate Programme
3. Outcome assessment interviews with the women associated with the graduates of the programme.
4. Research to understand the factors that influence men's behaviours in these communities.

B) The programme at scale:
1. 100 community-based organisations working on women's empowerment
2. Communities and the men and women they work with.

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

ECF has been successfully implementing the Action for Equality programme in the 20 communities in Pune, India. We are partnering with 4 community based women's empowerment organisations in this implementation.
  We are currently looking for resources, experts and partners to:
- conduct third party evaluation of AfE
- provide financial support to sustain existing program across 20 communities
- provide strategic advice in the areas of: Incubation support and Knowledge Transfer
- provide non-financial and financial support for overall communications activities required for expansion
- provide financial support for funding the different phases of the expansion program: concept and program development, scouting and selection, coaching and seed-funding for the partners.

Where should this idea be implemented?

It is currently being implemented across 20 low-income communities in Pune, India.

With minor adaptation, this idea/programme can be implemented in low-income urban communities across India.

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

Evidence and details regarding Action for Equality are given above.

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

An experience map has been uploaded to give a better idea.

Within a community on a long term basis, we expect that:
- Women and girls will experience a reduction in the violence and discrimination they face at the hands of men within their families and the wider community.
- Young boys will be raised to respect women and their rights.
- Male advocates will stand up for the rights of women in the community.
- Male advocates will take active role in facilitating dialogue where they identify problems and solutions to end violence and discrimination against women in their communities.

Evaluation results

49 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. - 89.8%

The idea targets women and girls but isn’t necessarily focused on those living in low-income urban areas. - 10.2%

The idea targets people living in low-income urban areas but doesn’t seem to benefit women and girls specifically. - 0%

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. - 89.6%

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. - 10.4%

The idea has not clearly articulated what the next steps are. - 0%

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. - 87.5%

A pilot appears feasible but more work needs to be done to figure out how it would be executed. - 12.5%

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. - 0%

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. - 81.6%

There are other initiatives doing similar work in this area – but this idea targets a new group or has an updated approach. - 16.3%

I can think of many initiatives addressing the same need using a similar approach in the same region. - 2%

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. - 89.8%

Maybe but I’d imagine it would need very significant changes. - 8.2%

The idea is really only suited for one specific region / population. - 2%

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

I love this idea! - 93.9%

I liked it but preferred others. - 2%

It didn't get me so excited. - 4.1%


Join the conversation:

Photo of David Neisinger

Fantastic, full support for this!

Photo of Rujuta Teredesai

Thanks David. We are excited about the potential this idea has if more and more organisations adopt the approach.

Photo of Karolle Rabarison

Hey Rujuta — Had a couple of quick question about the plans to scale AFE across India. What's the best way to reach you?

Photo of Rujuta Teredesai

Hi Karolle,

You can contact me via email. My email id is: rujuta(dot)

I look forward to hearing from you.


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