by Hannah Leach, @ehlleach, The PIN Team.
On 11th October 2014 we witnessed the celebration of the UN’s International Day of the Girl, the theme of which this year was the empowerment of adolescent girls in order to end perpetuating circles of violence. As such we at Practical Initiatives Network (PIN) thought it would be topical to put a spotlight on an initiative from our network that works to level the gender playing field for victims of abuse in India. “Inequality” is the buzzword for Blog Action Day 2014 and what better way to dive into this topic than to celebrate the efforts of an organisation that recognise the real-life dangers of disparity between the sexes and devote their time and resources to ensuring that all people, both male and female, have a “Choice: to live life free from abuse”.
My Choices Asia (http://practicalinitiatives.org/reports/view/134) strives to prevent and treat domestic violence against women and girls in India through a variety of programs encompassing pastoral support, counselling, educating, and assisting victims. Under the umbrella of this noble task, they also assist victims of human trafficking, child marriage, infanticide, sexual abuse and a whole host of other crimes committed against the female population in this part of the world. It is perhaps not surprising therefore, that after Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia, India has been tarred with the title of one of the worst countries in the world for physical abuse against females.
MyChoice’s Peacemaker program is but one branch of their multi-faceted approach towards combating gender-based violence and puts local women through a 4-week training program intended to equip them with the necessary tools to make a significant impact in decreasing the prevalence of such acts within their community. Following a subsequent 8-week internship, these women become all-in-one role-models, social workers, educators and lawyers: a societal force to be reckoned with.
Gender inequality remains one of the largest hurdles of development in all its infuriating facets and forms, and as such has been dealt with by means of varying methodology. Some say nought will be achieved until we have flipped definitions of gender on their head, others say we must begin with policy, far-reaching legal frameworks and by convicting the perpetrators. The certainty in this messy mish-mash of opinions and approaches is that there is no sure-fire solution to any of it, save an effective combination of all of the above. Until this comes into play, however, it will surely be the sweat and grit of grassroots operations workers to help establish global equality between the sexes. We at PIN will continue to use our platform to foster connections between these groups, and to support and promote their ideals, because as we always say, “development works better together.”
To join the network, share your experience, and to PIN your initiative to the map, visit our website: www.practicalinitiatives.org. We also welcome contributions to our blog – just send us an email email@example.com and we’ll get back to you. We look forward to hearing from you!
Hannah Leach is the Social Media Officer for Practical Initiatives Network and also currently works for the GSMA M4D Impact team in Communications. She has a particular passion and interest in mobile technology and development and human trafficking. She is currently studying Arabic and Spanish at the University of Leeds. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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