Experiences of domestic violence prevention interventions and gender equality promotion work: a qualitative study of Nirdhar Groups in rural India
Hayter M., Lee A., Dixit A., Rasalpurkar S., Fewings H., Ali P., Whitfield C., Giridhari S., Kabra P., Rayamane K., Ovseiko P., Ahankari A.
Domestic violence and abuse (DVA) against women in India is a serious concern. To address this, community-based interventions to facilitate sustained change at local levels have been implemented in 37 villages by the Halo Medical Foundation (an NGO working in the Maharashtra state of India). This qualitative study of community led alliances (known as Nirdhar Groups) evaluates the experiences of these ‘community citizen groups’. Participants from 12 villages from the project area participated in qualitative focus group discussions. Nirdhar Groups used local interventions to address priorities such as safe and equal access to education and healthcare. They offered education to address financial oppression and used community pressure and ‘Responsible Couples’ as mechanisms for change, to instil ‘fairness, gender equality, kind and compassionate community values’ and a variety of techniques to reduce DVA. The drivers for change included role modelling, empowerment of women in communities and a focus on changing cultural practices for present and future generations. This paper reveals how local interventions empower communities to address gender disparities and DVA.