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Raising men to respect women, and take action to end violence and discrimination against women once and for all

ECF will inspire a new generation of social programming amongst community based organisations, the education sector and the media that raises men to respect women. This inspiration will come from the development of an evidence base for the approach, practical methodologies for others to use, and a campaign to raise awareness of the problem and solutions. These activities are delivered by our three programmes: Action for Equality (AFE), Research and Development and Man Up India!

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So whats the problem?
There are 230 million men under 18 in India. As they witness other men's violence against women being systematically unchallenged the become abusive too. Extrapolated UN data suggest 116 million of these men will grow up and hit women and 58 million will rape women. Women's empowerment, the common approach to preventing abuse, unfairly places the burden of change on women. And fewer than 5% of organisations working to end the abuse of women actually tackle men’s role in the problem.

And what does Equal COmmunity Foundation do about it?
Young men aged 14-17 from low income urban communities join AFE's 15 confidential events facilitated by mentors who men trust and respect. Men discuss experiences of violence and discrimination and their role as perpetrators. As men understand their part in the problem they also learn their part in the solutions. With this clarity and with strong relationships built on intimate debate men cautiously but purposefully take their first steps to change their own behaviour towards women and challenge the abusive behaviour of others. Graduates deepen their resolve at ongoing weekly meetings, later mentoring younger men in the programme and working with parents and teachers for systemic change.
Research And Development builds primary research to inform national strategy, recently identifying media parents and teachers as key stakeholders.
Man Up India! raises awareness amongst funders, policy makers and practitioners of men's role in gender discrimination and practical solutions that work.

So whats new about this?
Organisations who work with men tend to deliver short term interventions that focus on a specific social issue such as HIV/AIDS. This limited approach fails to deliver on two well established requirements for long term behavior change. 1. sufficient and ongoing intervention and 2. comprehensive community involvement. Therefore the impact of such programmes diminishes over time.

Our approach first provide an intensive dose of fun, experiential learning for groups of young men that initiates the behavior change.

This initial experience is strengthened and deepened through ongoing weekly meetings and leadership training. This extended experience means men can make measurable behavior changes in more than one social issue that effects women i.e. violence, livelihoods and health.

Finally young men's experiences are reinforced and policed by a network of more equitable peers, role models, parents and educators that nurture men's new behavior for extended periods.

How will this change people's lives?
Over 1500 young male graduates from 20 low income urban communities have changed their own behavior, and challenged other men's abusive behavior in order to tackle violence against women. We work with 75% of the target age group in each community bringing generational change.

This change results in 60% of women living with graduates to experience a significant reduction in one or more areas from: physical and verbal violence, earned income, household income, domestic burden, and access to medical care.

Graduates have since volunteered 30,000 hours to support women.

Over 50 male leaders continue to develop their skills and train to become programme mentors, supporting ECF in the development and delivery of the programme. 

Leaders teach committees of parents and teachers how they are unwittingly raising men to abuse women, and how to stop.

By Q4 2015 we will scale to 400 communities across India, inspiring 100 of the top NGOs in India to work with men and supporting them as they do.
 

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Very inspiring work Will. I'm curious to know more about how your organization enrolls young men and boys in your programs and what is the content of the program.

You might also check another idea posted for this challenge: http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/applause/their-problem-is-ours-too
I'm sure Melchior would be interested to share some information on your program. It'd be great for example to have some of the boys/ young men who went through your programs share their experience.

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