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Our work on Violence against Women (VAW) is based on the premise that VAW has such vast dimensions- to succeed in combating it, the effort needs to be equally vast and broad based. In 1999 SWATI therefore took the initiative to call for a meeting.

17 NGOs from the Kachchh region, where SWATI was involved at the time, attended the meeting. We planned and coordinated capacity building for there. In 2002 the group of NG0s, reduced to about half due to shift in priorities (earthquake recovery work etc.),

decided to call itself Saurashtra Kachchh group of agencies on VAW (SK-VAW), henceforth working together on combating VAW.
Members of Me group today work ironer 350 villages in five districts. SWATI has been the coordination and support agency till 2008 and has played a coordination and capacity building role for the group.

Our Initiative

Community based Women led forums to address VAW- The Mahila Nyaya Semitic
Mahila Nyaya Samitis - Women's Justice Committees are community based, women led forums that function in a socio-legal and genderjust framework to prowde an alternative to women in their quest for justice. Rooted in cultural and community norms, the Committees actively engage their communities in a dialogue on what is just and right. Coming out of a process of empowerment and raising consciousness of rights among women the Nyaya Samitis consist of active women leaders drawn from the village level groups. The Committees support the redressal of VAW through a process of arbitration and counseling. They undertake decision making in cases, where women are subject to domestic violence or other injustices. In cases where satisfactory resolution for all is not possible or where punitive action is required, the Nyaya Samitis take recourse to the police and the court. In this sense the Nyaya Samitis function as quasi legal non-formal platforms that are proving to be an alternative to other justice giving mechanisms both formal and traditionarThe Nyaya Samitis receive on average four to five cases per month.

Involving men and youth from a masculinity perspective

SWATI recognizes that women are not single gendered and men's subjectivity is central to gender domination. In order to understand this subjectivity SWATI with the Saurashtra Kachchh network conducted in 2004 a qualitative study to understand male perceptions of VOW. The study has informed our understanding and also given a direction to our work with men.
Since 2004 we have been working extensively with men and youth on building male partnership and community opinion against VAW. Campaigns were conducted to involve merle the issue of VAW.
Youth groups have been formed at the village level and through workshops and campaigns they have been
sensitized and involved in working to prevent VOW. A training of trainers was conducted in 2006 to t,i10 a resource pool of male trainers for working with men. Twenty six senior staff of eight organizations participated. SWATI is an active member of South Asian Network to Address Mesculinities (SANAM) - a regional alliance to A South Asian Network to Promote the Role ofglobal alliance of groups working with men to combat gender based discrimination and inequality. We are also a core member elan Indian alliance FEM - Forum for Engaging with Men.

Advocacy on Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act, 2005

SWATI and the SK-VAW network have taken up advocacy of implementation of Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act (2005)- PWDVA. We broad based our advocacy to include all interested civil society groups and organizations in the state of Gujarat. SK-VAW, the Gender Resource Centre (a research group set up by the Government of Gujarat) and the National Commission for Women organized an orientation workshop for N005 and government departments. During the designing phase of the Act, SK-VAW took the initiative to bring together several women's organizations to discuss the possible rules and regulations to the Act.
After the Act was passed the SWATI along with other women's groups has had several rounds of discussions with the Department of women and Child development (the nodal agency for coordinating the implementation of the Act) and submitted a memorandum of demands lathe Government of Gujarat on behalf of the women's groups. The outcome of these efforts has been that Gujarat is one of the few states which have appointed Protection Officers, who serve the implementation of the Act as its provisionsdemand.
Since extensive efforts to fulfill the requirements of the PWDVA have already been undertaken in Gujarat, SWATI contributed significantly lathe drafting of a memorandum of demands at the national level.

Work with Institutional Stakeholders

Placing VOW on the agenda of institutional stake holders such as local authorities and public health facilities has been one of our key objectives. Project financed by the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust: Engendering Governance - Making Violence against woman concern to be addressed by Panchayati Raj Institutions
The project by SWATI isa pilot initiative and we aim to work over a period of three years in two districts of Gujarat with 50 village level elected bodies (gram panchayats) towards activating and empowering them in addressing the social justice and violence related concerns of women. This scale we feel will provide the critical mass of know-how and experience so necessary to create acceptance and mainstream the issue of violence against women and other current women's development issues in Panchayati Raj institutions.
The village level elected bodies are highly patriarchal bodies, and to enable them to address the issues in a gender just approach ills important that they set up systems with women's involvement and leadership at the level of the local elected body, the village and the region no that issues such as violence against women are monitored and redressed in a gender just manner. It is also important that women in these regions are empowered to engage with these elected bodies and demand that they play a role in combating violence against women and in other questions essential for their wellbeing.

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