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Rural populations

Initiatives working with rural populations to address violence against women and girls

 Violence against women and girls is perpetrated in every country, within every socio-economic class and in both urban and rural settings. There are very few known initiatives that work with men and boys in rural areas despite this being a priority area for intervention with unique challenges.

Cambodian Men’s Network (Cambodia). The Network, established in 2000 and based in Phnom Penh, works with men to end violence against women and promote gender equality. Among other initiatives, the Network, with the help of the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, has established community-based men’s groups in three provinces using local role models to counsel and engage men at the community level on masculinities, gender equality and domestic violence. These groups monitor implementation of the anti-domestic violence law passed in 2005 by the Royal Government of Cambodia, working with the police, village chiefs and communal authorities to assist in addressing cases within the communes.  See the case study in English.
Cantera (Nicaragua and Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala). The Center for Popular Education and Communications based in Managua and established in 1988, began its work with men on the issues of masculinity and gender in 1994. CANTERA’s “Masculinity and Popular Education” course is implemented over the period of a year and consists of four, three and a half day workshops centred on four main themes: male identities; gender, power, and violence; unlearning machismo and forging just relationships. To learn more about the training and to get copies of the manual in Spanish contact: cantera@ibw.com.ni . See the case study.

Ghamkhori (Tajikistan, Central Asia)

The NGO Ghamkhori originated with a demand by rural women for help in accessing family planning services, but later expanded to provide health services and non-formal education sessions to support the population to improve their lives in a variety of areas – ranging from political education and public transportation to health-related issues. As part of its gender training work it seeks to change male attitudes towards violence against both women and children. The organization takes a holistic approach to promoting social change, spending between six and twelve months in each village, with each group of participants receiving weekly educational sessions based on a curriculum established by the members of the group.

For a detailed account of Ghamkhori’s work see its gender training in English.

ReproSalud (Movimiento Manuela Ramos, Peru). The ReproSalud project aimed at promoting reproductive and sexual health inPeru ’s rural areas and urban slums, and working in 91 districts and eight regions, with teams that spoke the indigenous languages Quechua and Aymara. While it was not directly aimed at men or at ending violence, when women were asked to participate in the design of the project and in defining their sexual and reproductive health problems, domestic violence and the involvement of men were topics that were consistently mentioned as a priority for the communities, leading ReproSalud to implement a series of workshops for men.  Using qualitative impact studies and quantitative surveys, ReproSalud found an increase in women’s self-esteem, control of cash, knowledge of rights and comfort with their bodies, as well as decreases in alcohol consumption and domestic violence by men.  See the case study. To learn more about Reprosalud, see Manuela Ramos website.