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EKTA Resource Centre for Women

Protect and Promote women's Rights

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CAPACITY BUILDING

Capacity Building is perceived by Ekta as more than trainings and an ongoing process through which individuals, groups, organizations and communities enhance their ability to identify and meet development challenges and move towards actualizing their rights. The interventions in this are centers around the following thematic areas:

GENDER AND GOVERNANCE

Governance relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power to people. It is believed that women because of their connection to social movements that promote women’s empowerment will use their power in transformative ways and avoid co-option. Moreover activism within social movements enables the forging of collective identities, consciousness raising and combativeness towards authorities that may continue to influence women’s identities and interests within institutions. Therefore, facilitating women’s political participation is seen as very crucial to women’s empowerment. Thus, Ekta gives utmost priority to gender and governance with the following specific objectives:

  • Enhancing women’s political participation at all levels
  • Strengthening their knowledge base and leadership skills
  • Advocacy for an enabling environment to participate in the governance.

 GENDER AND HUMAN RIGHTS    

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) enshrines that human rights are universal and indivisible. The rights declared are civil, political, economical, social and cultural and constitute an obligation for the members of the international community to fulfill the same. These principles of UDHR have been enacted into two primary treaties on human rights as International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). In this division of the rights into separate categories, the primacy of civil and political rights (public) and marginalization of social economic and cultural rights (private) create issues and problems in actualizing women‘s rights as human rights.

Constitution of India gurantees equal rights of all citizen and has special provision for the protection of the vulnerable groups. However the gap between the legal framework and its implementation at the ground level remain a huge concern. The victimhood of vulnerable groups of women, dalits and minorities remains grossly unaddressed. The main reason being lack of legal awareness and also the deficit in the mechanism to monitor the implementation process. Therefore Ekta gives priority to awareness creation on the national, international legal instruments and frameworks to address gender inequality. It has been facilitating grass root mobilization since the Pre- Beijing process, holding consultations at various levels to disseminate Beijing plat form for action, CEDAW, Sexual Harassment at work place prevention and Sustainable development goals.

Beijing+20

CEDAW

Sustainable Development Goals

GENDER AND MASCULINITY    

Empowerment of girls and women is absolutely essential, but it is also both unjust and impractical to expect those who are discriminated against, to take the responsibility for ending gender based discrimination and violence. Therefore working with men and boys is adopted as an essential strategy to question the idea and practice of automatic male power and privilege, along with female inferiority, based on gender definitions, is very crucial. Ekta organizes training programmes and promotes debate and discussions at various levels (among students, NGOs and lager civil society organizations) and engages them in campaign initiatives.

CAMPAIGN AND NETWORKING

Ekta envisages social change as a process of collective action and reflection, and therefore works in collaboration with similar thinking organisations and individuals.

‘One Billion Rising’ is a worldwide campaign, to create a world free from violence. It is an International Campaign and more than 180 countries around the globe are carrying out this campaign every year on 14th February since 2013, by organizing different events. It is a day of One Billion Women and Men Rising to challenge patriarchy and end violence against women. Ekta in collaboration with NGOs, academic institutions and committed individuals in Tamil Nadu is carrying out this campaign in Madurai since 2013 by convening a public event. 

The 16 days campaign(Nov 25 – Dec 10) was launched by Ekta in 1994. The purpose of this campaign is to create greater awareness on the issue of violence against women and also to express solidarity to the inter-national campaign on the above issue. Each year events like public meeting, mobile van and exhibitions are held to create awareness as well as to engage different stake holders in both rural and urban areas in this campaign.

Safety audit is a participatory tool for understanding the elements of public spaces that contribute towards creating safety or vulnerability. With rapid urbanization in the state of Tamilnadu, more and more women are coming to the city for education and livelihood. A city where women and girls are free from the fear and anticipation of violence Women and Girls enjoy Public spaces and Public life without fear of being assaulted. To understand the safety deficits in the city Ekta initiated safety audit in Madurai with the guidance from Jagori, New Delhi and Sakhi, Kerala in 2013. Since then, it is followed up with repeat audit of the same public places.

The ‘Study Circle’ was initiated at Ekta on the 14th January, 1992. The objective  was to create a space for women from different professional backgrounds to come together to discuss, debate on women’s issues and thereby evolve strategies for collective action.  Since then regular study circles are organized to reflect on various critical issues affecting the lives of women and children in particular.

SANGAT is a South Asian Feminist Network that seeks to work towards greater peace, democracy and human rights in the region through feminist capacity building trainings for women as well campaigning and advocacy activities with like-minded civil-society groups. Since 2009, SANGAT and Ekta have been collaboratively organizing the 10-day Feminist Capacity Building two country courses in Tamil every year. The participants  come from both Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu. The main objective of this programme is to equip women activists with knowledge on gender and development issues that perpetrate gender inequalities at the level of household, community, workplace and the state.

We work with the following institutions and networks:

  • The Naz Foundation (India) Trust  - Life Skill and Sports for Adolescent girls
  • Girls Not Brides - Advocacy to prevent child marriage
  • Forum to Engage Men (FEM)
  • International Women Peace Group (IWPG)
  • Voluntary Action Network in India (VANI) – Information dissemination
  • National Alliance of Women (NAWO) – Networking of Women
  • State and National Commission for Women – Promotion of women rights
  • Universities and Colleges – Advocacy and Lobbying for Gender Equity
  • National Centre for Advocacy Studies (NCAS) – Advocacy and Lobbying 
  • Women Power Connect (WPC) – Women Reservation Bill

COUNSELLING

Ekta provides counselling to women and their families irrespective of their class. Based on the merit of the case, they are helped to access to get referrals to Police and Family Courts. For litigation process, we get the help of specialized agencies.

PROGRAMME WITH YOUNG ADULTS AND ADOLESCENT 

Adolescent is considered as an age of opportunity.  Ekta strives to sharpen the skills of adolescents to help them navigate risks and vulnerabilities, enhance their self-confidence and self-worth, to secure their rights both at home and outside and set them on the path to fulfilling their potential.

Under Adolescent Programme, we run:

Life Skill Programme

Creating Future Leaders

Life Skill Education is one of the flagship programmes of Ekta. 

In the year 2000 Life Skill programme was initiated in six corporation schools in Madurai. 

The students in the corporation schools who primarily come from the urban poor settlements are victims of poverty, social discrimination, malnourishment and broken families. They also lack access to development opportunities.

This programme aims to provide these students relevant information and counselling for enhancing their self-esteem and skills to address the problem the disadvantages they are confronted with.

 

Students for Change

Engaging Students with focus on gender equality, social justice and peace:

This was launched in the year 1994 in collaboration with the National Service Scheme (NSS) of Madurai Kamaraj University. Later a survey was undertaken in some select colleges among the students to assess their understanding about the situation of women in society and violence against women in particular. Following this a three day residential workshop was organized for the women students of the above colleges.

We help the youth to understand societal issues through discussions, Seminars and workshops. We take the students on exposure trips to institutions such as Children’s homes, Old Age Home, Juvenile Homes, General Hospitals, Courts and Women Police Stations. This gives the students an opportunity to have practical understanding on social institutions and social issues.

Ekta offer, students internship they are encouraged to undertake a project work of their own choice.