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Strategies adopted by Communities to combat Violence against Women
By: SDPI

Partner: UNDP

Duration: 2010-11

Locale: Select districts of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa

Team Members: Mome Saleem

Introduction:

Having conducted several extensive researches related to gender issues and women empowerment, in May 2009, SDPI in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) focused its expertise towards finding cost effective, sustainable and unexplored solutions for combating Violence against Women (VAW). The basic objective of the research study was to investigate and mainstream community solutions and strategies for combating VAW, involving positive masculinity.  Action oriented research to end VAW revolves around the rationale that VAW does not concern an individual or only women but it is a dilemma for the community as a whole.

To test the working and authenticity of the concept the research study focused on documentation of the best practices adopted by the communities. The geographical coverage of the project was Burewala, Sialkot, Daska, Kasur, Gujranwala, Muzaffargarh in Punjab, Karachi, Khairpur, Badin, Sukkur, Tharparkar in Sindh, Jafarabad and Usta Muhammad in Baluchistan and Haripur, Abbottabad, Badabair, Manshera and Batgram in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa.

Methodology:

The survey tools used were:

  • Review of available literature (secondary sources) on the subject,
  • A collection of case studies
  • In depth interviews with the survivors of VAW,
  • In-depth interviews with the stakeholders identified as  social capital (explained below)
  • Informal meetings with the communities with best practices
  • In-depth interviews with formal and informal institutes including police and local elected members.
  • Individual meetings with the policy makers.
  • Consultative meetings with the stakeholders at the provincial level.

Purposive sampling is based on;

  • Liaising with the CSOs/local media to identify target communities/case studies,
  • Reviewing police records that show community action against violence,
  • Media reports both electronic and print.

Recommendations:

The study has helped produce new knowledge by documenting best practices adopted by local communities for reducing Violence Against Women (VAW) in the form of an anthology. Engaging men for combating VAW is yet another solution focused towards empowering women. Social inclusion/encouragement/ of men who are ridiculed as providing weak support to women/victims has helped reduce gender antagonism among the communities with best practices. Men with positive masculinity have been made into role models during the National Consultative meetings held at provincial and federal levels. The study has also looked into the complex interplay of formal and informal institutional mechanisms to combat VAW. Further more, the study has successfully raised awareness about the social capital and its potential at both the provincial and federal level through the consultative meetings and a strong advocacy campaign including seminars, newspaper articles and lobbying with policy makers. Policy advocacy of the research with policy makers at the national level has helped gain valuable inputs for innovative and cost effective policy recommendations from the grass roots.