Strengthening Panchayats to respond to Violence Against Women

Strengthening Panchayats to respond to Violence Against Women

Unaware by the change which was emerging in their lives, Phoolkumari and her friends along with other villagers of Sushi village of Janjgir Champa district in Chhattisgarh headed towards the Gaon Panchayat (village self-governance institution) meeting in November 2017.

“I heard they will discuss something on women today, I am excited to know,” Phoolkumari shared with one of our team members who also on her way to the meeting. Bharti, her friend adds, “I will be going to the gaon panchayat meeting for the first time in my life because they will discuss violence on women.” 

Prior to this meeting, Nivedita Foundation, our partner in Chhattisgarh had been actively working with the panchayat to pass a resolution to end all forms of domestic violence and take strict actions against the violators.

Just before sunset, all the villagers had gathered for the meeting. All waiting for the discussion to commence. It was a different kind of gram sabha that day. Soon after greeting the gathering by Hemant Kumar, the sarpanch, a skit depicting all forms of violence against women and girls, forced marriage and child marriage was performed. This was followed by interaction with the Gaon Sabha members on the various forms of violence and its presence in their lives.

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Following this, Kumar addressed the crowd and shared: “we are here today to take an important resolution”, amidst guesses made by the villagers, he continued, “we hereby pass the resolution to stop physical violence against women (wife) by their husband”, the resolution further added “efforts will be made to stop domestic violence in the gaon panchayat jurisdiction” and “Liquor will not be made in the panchayat areas”. Thanking Nivedita Foundation, he added, “We had earlier tried to stop wife battering in our panchayat but was not successful. Today the way villagers were mobilized through skits and discussion I hope this will lead to positive change.”

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This is just one step closer to our mission. We need to sustain our involvement to achieve our ultimate aim of reducing violence against women in totality.

Help us reach out to more panchayats by:
1.    Supporting our campaign, Bano Nayi Soch 
2.    Donating NOW for greater gender equality in India

Text by Megha Kashyap | Illustration by Shivanee Harshey/ Oxfam India 


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