Project Theme

Transformative Women's leadership

Target Group


Project Period

01 Jul 2015 - 30 Mar 2016

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Chitrakoot is one of the most backward districts of the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh. Manikpur block of the district lies in the dense forest area of the Vindhyachal Plateau. A harsh geographical landscape, combined with a lack of access to natural resources, and a deeply entrenched feudal structure have led to the social and economic marginalization of women and Dalit in particular. Women are principal providers of care and support to families. Yet every social indicator shows a fundamental social bias and inequality. Newspapers and periodicals of all hues in India often carry reports about violence against women (VAW). These include among others incidents of young brides being burnt for bringing ‘insufficient’ dowry, women dying in abnormal circumstances, rape on hapless women and molestation of young girls. In some cases, there are public protests by women activists and such protests receive media coverage. Domestic violence suffered by women on a regular basis in the form of psychological or physical abuse goes unreported. Very rarely do women themselves file police cases against the ill treatment meted out to them. A few women who escape death end up in shelter homes, but the majority continues to live in marital union and endure abusive behaviour. 

Vanangana is a feminist organization working in Banda and Chitrakoot Districts of Uttar Pradesh. The organization has been an integral part of the feminist movement, and uses a feminist lens to carry out the social, political and economic analysis of society, using this analysis as the starting point from which it attempts to bring about a positive change in society.  Vanangana was established in 1993 with the objective of empowering women for accessing their rights and fighting against discrimination inflicted on them. 


About the Project: 

This proposed project will address diverse kinds of violence that women are subjected to- domestic violence, declining sex ratio, trafficking, development induced violence and other forms of violence. Research and advocacy initiatives will be undertaken to cover the entire state through alliance network partners. Continuous interventions will be made with various government departments to ensure improvement in policy situations. Moreover, the project will seek direct engagement with the population from excluded communities like tribals, Dalit, PWDs, and other backward caste women in the state of Uttar Pradesh

The project aims to break the silence and acceptance on violence against women (VAW) through awareness programmes, sensitization workshops and by challenging the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour that perpetuates violence against women through campaigning, lobbying and advocacy and by strengthening women survivors to lead a life with dignity (support to women experiencing violence by State and non-State actors) The project would target all the actors that are involved in either perpetuating VAW or not fulfilling their mandate in prevention and relief, these being the individuals (perpetrators and survivors), families, communities, society and the state.  


Objectives of the project 

1.Reduce the social acceptance of violence against women and bring a positive change in the policy and program environment that perpetuates its acceptance at an institutional and community level

2.Provide holistic support to women survivors of gender based violence through formal and informal justice 

3.Change such behaviour and attitudes of men and women that perpetuate discrimination and violence against women


Coverage Area 

The head office of Vanangana in Karwi. They are running two support centres, one at Banda and other at Chitrakoot. These (located at district headquarter of partner) support centres has been providing support to the women survivors. The coverage area of the project is as follows: 

•Total number of districts -2 

•No of blocks- 4

•Total no of Gram Panchayat- 75

•Total number of villages – 170

•Total number of community intervention House- 2000

Till now they had provided support as counselling, legal or medical aid to 3265 women survivors. 


Results to be Achieved / Impact: 

•Government officials in the relevant departments (Police, Protection Officers under Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), Women & Child Development Officer) are sensitized on support services, related budgetary allocation procedures to be followed for expenditure, and time bound orders for implementation of PWDVA.   

•Women experiencing violence, especially those from marginalized communities, in the programme districts increase their access to formal justice system.

•Men and women aged 15-50 years in the programme districts are sensitized on VAW and have demonstrably increased their knowledge on laws related to VAW and legal and other support services available for those experiencing violence.    


Prior Achievements:

•Nearly 500 women survivors approached the support centre and sort help as a result, 300 cases were registered and out of this 30 DIR were registered.  In 130 cases, some were filed for divorce, compensation for food and shelter and FIR.  

•During 16 days of activism campaign awareness on PWDVA 2005 was created among 6581 women and girls, 3546 men and boys who actively participated in various actives related to campaign on violence against women and different forms of gender based discrimination.

•Establishment of 170 empowered vigilance groups to work on violence against women in Chitrakoot and Banda district. There are nearly 2550 members out of which 340 members are given training on issues related to violence against women. 

Quotes of Beneficiaries: 

Ya hamar  ghar hai jub sub sath chor detay hai tub humko yaha sahar milata hai didi logo ka payar milta hai ladaee ko takat milti hai baccho ko payar milta hai....urmila ..chitrakoot


Case Studies/Human stories:

The strides that Beliya has made in her struggle to ensure a worthwhile life for herself and her 18 year daughter Phooli are unbelievable given that she was once too timid to even verbally protest against her abusive husband. But with some support from Vanangana, mother and daughter are confident that justice shall not elude them.Beliya’s trials started sixteen years ago- the day her one year old daughter Chunni succumbed to fever and cough that had wracked her little body for over a month. Every time Beliya had asked her school teacher husband Ayodhya Prasad for money for the treatment, she would be told that it was worthless to invest in a girl.Beliya, a Scheduled Caste, illiterate woman from Kusaipur village of Chitrakoot District was married to Ayodhya Prasad at the age of 15. Her father had spent to the best of his ability on the wedding of his only daughter. But that best had not satisfied her husband and in-laws, who taunted her daily for coming without any dowry. When Beliya’s first daughter was born, physical abuse was added to the verbal torment. Beliya’s lack of education, her cooking skills, how she spoke—anything and everything would prompt her husband to hit her. By the time the second and third daughters came he had started bringing other women home. Like Chunni, Beliya’s youngest Usha also died due to lack of medical attention. “You are as useless as the daughters you bear he told me”, remembers Beliya.


Beliya slipped into a deep sadness. Her father got her with him, thinking that a change of atmosphere would do her good. She was just learning to cope when Ayodhya Prasad sent her a divorce notice. When her father went to reason with him, he was abused and shooed away. She then filed a case under Section 498 A of the IPC for dowry harassment. Perturbed by the move and fearing social ridicule, Ayodhya Prasad pleaded with Beliya to come back and promised not to mistreat her. When she did go back, she found that her husband had re married. Beliya still hopeful of a change and mindful of social sanctions, agreed to share the home. Ayodhya Prasad’s second wife devised her own ways to drive Beliya out—denying her food and locking her up at will. The husband resumed his daily ritual of abuse. A year later, a completely broken but determined Beliya returned to her father’s home and approached Vanangana for help. As demanded by Beliya, the organization helped her file a case for maintenance under the Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005. A year later the court ordered that she be paid Rs 1500 monthly. For some months, Ayodhya Prasad complied but then challenged the decision in the High Court where it is still pending. 


Vanangana had meanwhile started working on Beliya’s economic empowerment. She was trained in sewing and also helped to set up a small provision store. However Beliya’s simple and trusting nature—she found it impossible to say no to those who wanted to buy on credit, made the shop unviable. She now works as a daily wage labourer—carrying bricks on construction sites for Rs 100 a day. Her husband once sent her word that he would be willing to take care of their daughter if she come and live with him but Beliya refused as she is confident of taking care of her daughter.“I don’t trust him. Why did he not take her when she was little”, asks Beliya.Phoola, studies in class 8 in a private school, and Vanangana chips in with her school fees. She says that she does not want to go to her father. She says, “he might give me comforts, but I have decided to fight with my mother”. Together, mother and daughter are determined to win.