Engaging communities to challenge VAW

HUMSAFAR strongly believes that a survivors’ fight to access justice requires wider community support at various stages – to break the conspiracy of silence around violence, access services, wage a long legal battle, rehabilitate herself and her children emotionally and financially and reintegrate in society as an aware citizen well-aware of her rights and responsibilities.

HUMSAFAR is guided by an innovative multi-faceted approach to change societal patterns of violence in the family through direct case support while concurrently building networks with different sectors of society, such as students, professionals, and government officials to raise community responsiveness.  The main aim is to break down the stigma and secrecy associated with domestic violence and generates supportive and responsive communities that enable women to reach out and receive assistance in times of crisis.

This is HUMSAFAR’s unique intervention meant not only to increase public awareness on Violence against Women (VAW) but is also aimed at providing a community support mechanism. These local watch groups meet with a HUMSAFAR’s Community Mobilization team every month to discuss incidents of gender-based discrimination and violence in their locality. They are familiarized with the protocol to intervene as well as the manner in which to access the police.

Nigrani Samitis (Neighborhood Watch Committees):

Active community members have been organized under Nigrani Samitis who provide a supportive and enabling community environment for violence survivors to re-integrate into society.

Neighborhood Watch Committees are active in 53 urban settlements of Lucknow where they work as first points of reference for violence survivors. Their capacities have been built through a structured training module and regular orientation to recognize gender based violence.

They intervene on behalf of the violence survivors, help them approach the police or HUMSAFAR and provide them emotional support during the crisis.

In recognition to their positive contribution to check violence the Lucknow police have provided them an identity card which facilitates their work.

Oxfam UP had selected a Neighborhood Watch Committee member for a month-long training and paid internship at the Marks and Spencer showroom.

Similarly, Oxfam chose another pro-active Nigrani Samiti member as ‘Agent of Change’ for the year 2013-14.