U.S. Experts share best practices in “Effective Communication Strategies to Counter and Prevent Gender Violence

Global India Fund in partnership with Samhita Social Ventures and Girl Rising and supported by the U.S. Embassy, New Delhi and its four Consulates in India, organised a workshop on “Effective Communication Strategies to Counter and Prevent Gender-Based Violence (GBV),” in Ranchi from April 12-14. This was the fourth in a series of five pan India workshops.  The first three were held in Vijayawada, Trivandrum, and Bhopal while the remaining one will be in Jodhpur.

India currently ranks 125 out of 142 countries on the Gender Inequality Index and globally 1 in 3 women report experiencing violence in their lifetime. Communities across India are seeking to collaborate and engage multiple stakeholders to prevent and combat gender-based violence.  Through these workshops, Global India Fund seeks to support Indian stakeholders (policy makers, women and community activists, social media groups and youth leaders) and enhance their efforts by providing skills-based training led by U.S., South Asian and Indian gender and communications experts. These workshops provide a platform for the cross pollination of initiatives and an opportunity to further build organizational and individual capacity to address gender violence.

Addressing the Ranchi workshop participants virtually, Jamie Dragon, Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Kolkata noted that “gender based violence affects each of us, men and women alike, we need to empower women but at the same time encourage men to become agents for change to be part of the solution.”

Dr. Amita N Vyas, Founder, Global India Fund, and Associate Professor George Washington University, said, “It is a wonderful opportunity for people in the U.S. and India that care deeply about the prevention and treatment of gender based violence to spend time in a meaningful way and to learn from one another. These types of people to people ties between our countries will ensure that girls and women across the globe will continue to be a priority.”

Dr. Karen A. McDonnell, Associate Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Prevention and Community Health, George Washington University, stated that “Violence against women and girls is one of the greatest injustices of our time. I was happy to share the public health implications for the prevention and action towards gender based violence with community leaders in India. I also learnt much from them that I am taking back to share in the U.S.”

Using innovative communication tools and solution-centric storytelling, these workshops address policy and programmatic gaps, and build stakeholder capabilities.  The workshop focused on:

  • Identifying and discussing prevalent forms of gender-based violence in the community including the underlying root causes of the violence and gaps in policies and programs;
  • Training sessions on behaviour change communications, the power of storytelling, and best practices from evidence-based programs and interventions across the globe;
  • Facilitating discussions around global experiences when working with multiple stakeholders to address gender-based violence;
  • Skill-building sessions on developing awareness and advocacy campaigns using effective forms of storytelling and media.
  • to promote cross-fertilisation of ideas for new programs, learnings, and sharing of best practices
  • Engaging with U.S. and South Asian gender experts, to learn how other countries operate in similar socio-political contexts and how they have designed communication strategies.
  • Creating networking opportunities between local and national stakeholders, as well as experts from the U.S. and South Asia to enhance India’s capacity in tackling GBV.

Addressing gender-based violence requires holistic interventions at multiple levels. Hence, the workshop created awareness around this issue through the sharing and discussion of critical information. The workshop also facilitated the creation of a collaborative national and international platform for an exchange of ideas to counter gender based violence.