Mainstreaming Gender

Gender Resource Centre

The resource centre is an integral part of Sanhita’s work. The idea behind the initiative was to ensure women’s access to information – by streamlining the process of that access – collecting & collating information, and making sure that it becomes relevant to women. The resource centre also devised innovative mechanisms for disseminating information. Understanding that language can and often does act as a key barrier to questions around access to information, Sanhita initiated the operation that made development communication in local language, a reality.

Sanhita regularly produces issue based resource materials for wide ranging civil society actors, the youth, grassroots collectives, and women’s initiatives, reaching out in the local language with innovative means.

Initiating Dialogue & Discourse

Sanhita regularly organises dialogues and discourse along with public education campaigns – on issues concerning women’s human rights.

These initiatives Sanhita has held in the past and continue to do so, in collaboration with other human rights groups and civil society initiatives. The idea is to create information synergies, connecting diverse grounds on the question surrounding human rights. Issues have included Muslim Women’s Bill, people in prostitution, dowry, legal rights of women, gender concerns in HIV/AIDS, dialogues on gender diversity and sexual orientation, issues of feminist self defence and such in the past. These initiatives take different forms of expression – seminars, panel discussions, memorial lecture and performance / theatre and use of public media such as hoarding and billboard campaign, etc.

Gender Training

Sanhita believes in order to bring gender equity; effective governance should involve building capacity together with social mobilisation, ensuring the understanding of gender concerns, integrating human rights education and reach out with relevant information to a range of stakeholders. As one of the foremost gender training groups in eastern India, Sanhita’s efforts have been directed at engaging stakeholders through advocacy efforts in integrating gender concerns at multiple levels – both at policy and implementation stages.

Sanhita works with wide ranging government departments, including key departments like police, local government, health and social welfare, and a number of training institutes training government personnel across departments, members of local governance units (Panchayats) and institutions and policy making bodies. Sanhita has been engaged in the design of the gender training curricula and module of training institutes for government bureaucrats –in West Bengal and nationally. It has also developed a training module on Gender & HIV/AIDS for the policy makers in collaboration with UNIFEM, New Delhi.

Over the past years Sanhita has trained number of community based and grassroots groups not just in West Bengal, but in the eastern Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and North East.

Sanhita involves a conscious effort to engage with issues concerning feminism and women’s rights within its trainings and holds it with a multiplicity of partners spread across diverse geographical regions of South Asia.

Gender & Rights Initiative with Young Women

  • Started in 2004 - this programme continued till 2010 in 2 phases
  • A programme that is rights based and which believes in the capacity of young women to be partners in the process of social change
  • Over 6 years the programme covered more than 10, 000 young women from 39 education institutions spread over 13 districts of West Bengal, and in Patna, Bihar
  • Education institutions included women’s colleges from districts, technical training institutes, nursing institutes and others
  • Issues: Legal Literacy, Women & Bodies – Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights, Violence against Women


Women’s Bodies, Menstruation Health & Safety

  • Pilot initiative with adolescent girls in village level


Information for Crisis Intervention & Action Research

With its focus on facilitating access for women to make informed choices, Sanhita has undertaken projects that are mechanisms for crisis intervention. From the city’s first dedicated helpline for women facing discrimination and violence at their workplace to the referral services, Sanhita sustains its commitment to support women facing violence and their requirement for appropriate information for support.

Sanhita has been using research as a dynamic tool for advocacy, need-based interventions and change. The focus is to understand and address the concerns in a systematic way through changes in public policy and law; and develop strategies to empower women in need to play leading roles in achieving those changes. A challenge for Sanhita is to connect the work with a simultaneous system of monitoring that became necessary in order to understand the need for and efficacy of its interventions. From sector specific surveys, to mapping studies, to status reports, Sanhita evolved its own systems of creating research and monitoring mechanisms.



Tomar Boi, Sanhita

Glimpses

Resources for Women, A Directory, 1998

A direct response to the need for comprehensive guide on resources available for women in crisis situations in Calcutta, the directory provides details of over a hundred organisations working in the area of counselling, legal aid, alternative shelters, skill training, marketing and credit. Published in English & Bengali the directory is meant for individual women seeking help, activists, policy makers, development planners and government agencies as well as organisations working with women in crisis situations.

Support Services to Counter Violence against Women in West Bengal A Resource Directory, 2002

Inspired by the positive feedback from the earlier directory Sanhita’ initiated another effort to bridge the information gap between women facing violence and services available for them, - this time covering all the districts in West Bengal with emphasis on services for women in crisis situations. Services listed here are provided by government, semi-government as well as non-government organisations. This directory was published simultaneously in English & Bengali and was aimed at individual women seeking help, activists, policy-makers, development planners, government officials as well as organisations working on gender violence.

Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace

Sanhita’s programme on sexual harassment at workplace began in 2000 in a scenario where sexual harassment at workplaces was unnamed and unacknowledged as a reality by both employers and employees. The programme has been working at the grassroots level by reaching out to women workers of all levels. Sanhita is working towards policy and programmatic intervention through training, research and advocacy with monitoring and implementing bodies, reaching over hundreds of organizations from central and state government ministries and departments, Public Sector Undertakings (PSU), Universities and select private workplaces. Sanhita is presently working at the grassroots level by reaching out to vulnerable women workers from organized and unorganized sectors. Rights education, evidence based research and crisis interventions are important areas of the work.

Sanhita’s Helpline +91 8017825956