Gender based violence (GBV) flourishes in many parts of the world despite a wide variety of public and non-governmental efforts to combat it. One innovative solution PTF is exploring in India with the Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) is the promotion of greater citizen uptake of GBV prevention and response services through greater awareness raising, social accountability activities and constructive engagement exercises.

PTF and the Indian Development and Relief Fund (IDRF) are supporting CFAR for a two-year project to reduce GBV, specifically domestic violence, sexual harassment and sexual assault against women and girls, in 10 gram panchayats of the Kishangarh block of district Ajmer in Rajasthan, India.

Rajasthan has for long been acknowledged to be a state where women’s low status is a cause for concern. GBV is deeply rooted and embedded in the patriarchal traditions. Gender is a structural determinant that influences and in many ways thwarts even the simplest intervention like nutrition and access to healthcare and education. Deeply engrained, adverse and harmful social norms determine what a woman and girl can or should do. Traditional authorities inhibit and deter mandated safeguards for the rights and entitlements of women, girls and marginalized groups.

The project’s leading Theory of Change asserts that GBV will reduce if the rule-of-law is affirmed and upheld from the level of prevention to final dispensation of justice. This shift to right-based approach will be influenced by:1) effective citizen demand for and participation in ensuring safe environment; 2) sufficient duty bearer capacity and sensitivity to uphold the role of law and provide effective prevention and response services; and 3) effective convergence and better coordination among stakeholders to translate community voice to effective action.