India is a complex country, having varied customs, traditions and practices. Some of these restrict the rights of women and girls and hinder their access to information and services. Most communities in India follow patriarchy, which discriminates against women and perpetuates the belief that women are inferior to men. India also witnesses a significantly high number of crimes against women. Therefore, to empower women and girls and enable them to access information and resources to take control of their lives — within and outside their homes — deep-rooted biases and beliefs have to be changed through social conditioning and sensitisation.
To achieve this, the Family Planning Association of India (FPA India) creates awareness among marginalised and vulnerable women on sexual and reproductive health, including HIV and sexual and gender based violence (SGBV), and empowers them to take action when their rights are violated. Men are also sensitised about the patriarchal system and how it affects women’s health and rights.
To address SGBV, FPA India staff are trained to identify and support SGBV survivors and to link them to appropriate agencies. To facilitate linking, partnerships have been developed with one-stop centres, family counselling centres and NGOs working for GBV survivors.
Encouraging women and girls to be self-sufficient through skilling is an important initiative under the gender and empowerment portfolio. Women and girls are taught skills that provide them opportunities to work within or outside their ecosystem or become self-employed. The training has inspired many to learn non-traditional skills such as two / three / four-wheeler driving and repair, computer / mobile phone repair, etc. FPA India’s para medical course is also hugely popular as it guarantees jobs on completion.
While sensitisation of the society is ongoing, work with key population (KP) groups such as men who have sex with men (MSM), sex workers (SW), people using drugs (PUD), transgender (TG) people, people living with HIV (PLHIV), and vulnerable and marginalised women is also strengthened. It enables the KPs to fulfil their sexual and reproductive rights. Twelve targeted intervention projects have been implemented to address the HIV care and support components of trucker, PLHIV, PUD, MSM, SW and TG community care.
Self-help groups (SHG) are also developed and nurtured among marginalised communities and linked to government schemes, helping SHG members avail loans.
We focus our efforts on
- Skilling and economic enhancement
- Reducing Gender-Based Violence (GBV)
- Challenging and changing gender norms, roles and responsibilities
- 1,20,0000+ Women and girls attended awareness sessions
- 63,841 Adolescents received comprehensive sexuality education
- 92,138 Women provided with health services
Shadows and Light Project
It was a three-year project funded by BACKUP Health, aimed to address the linked SRH and HIV needs of key populations within four IPPF member associations.
Chennai Metro Rail Limited
Addressing the HIV needs of informal migrant workers of Chennai Metro Rail Limited(CMRL) project was implemented by FPA India, supported by Japan Trust Fund (JTF) and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) from April, 2012 to March 2014 at Chennai.
Community action for sustainable and inclusive growth: increasing access to sexual and reproductive health through a gender equality and women’s empowerment approach for marginalized women in India.