Safe City Initiatives
Safe city: A perspective
Safety has emerged as an important issue for governments/non-government agencies across the world. It refers to the duty and function of the state/co-actors to ensure the safety of its citizens, organizations and institutions against threats to their well-being as well as the traditional functions of law and order. With more than half the global population today living in urban areas, safe city is increasingly being considered essential in ensuring secure living and prosperity. Urban planning standards, byelaws and the design of public spaces play a major role in the prevention of sexual harassment and violence against women outside their homes and workplaces.
Through Safe City Initiative project, we will create environments that offer lesser opportunities for violence against women. Women have both higher levels of fear of crime and are more at risk and insecure in public spaces that are rendered unsafe by virtue of their bad design, isolation or inadequate and poor maintenance. Furthermore, many women in Indore work in public spaces, for example women hawkers and street vendors, and many live on the streets as well. Improved planning, for example by elimination of dark alleys, dead ends and ‘entrapment areas’; removal of boundary walls and ensuring ‘eyes on the street’, and putting in place hawker-friendly policies, can help in making cities safer for women.
Safe City Initiative –Project of MPUIIP [DFID Supported]
The Safe City Initiative is an action research program to assess effectiveness of primary prevention strategies to reduce prevalence and threats relating to violence against women and girls. This unique program is an initiative of MPUIIP supported by the partnership of GoMP and DFID, being implemented in four cities of Madhya Pradesh namely Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur and Gwalior. The overall purpose of this program is to reduce the incidence and threat perceptions of violence experienced by women and girls both in the domestic and public spheres in the urban context. Being an action research based program, it aims at building a body of evidence on the interventions within this initiative, their effectiveness in reduction of incidence and threat perceptions in so that effective strategies can be up scaled in future.
Municipal Corporation is the nodal agency for the implementation of the Safe City Initiative program through a Community Support Agency. In the context of Indore, IMC through BGMS as the lead CSA along with PAHAL will implement the program.
Objective: Specific objectives of the program are;
- Promote gender equality and empowerment of women at the community level through multi-pronged approaches.
- Influence positive attitude and behavior change among men and boys regarding gender and VAW.
- Create enabling environment at the ULB level to address Violence against Women.
- Develop linkages between community women and service delivery institutions.
- Policy Advocacy for improved service delivery.
Key Area of Intervention
In order to achieve the desired objectives the program would focus primarily (not limited to) on four key areas of intervention. Strengthening Women’s Collectives Economically: One of the key interventions of the program is working with existing community level women’s collectives such as SHGs and MFGs for empowering them economically as a strategy to deal with violence.
I. Strengthening women’s collectives economically
In this category, slums have been selected for the existing SHGs in the slums to be strengthened. 2 groups from each slum will be selected in this category.
II. Developing capacity of women’s groups to prevent and respond to VAW:
The focus here would be building perspective on gender and VAW of SHG and MFG members and equipping them with skills such as counseling and information related to legal provisions to prevent and respond responsibly and effectively to VAW.
III. Working with men and boys on life skills and awareness rising to prevent VAW:
In most cases of VAW men and boys are the perpetrators. However, that does not mean that all men are violent. There has been a growing realization that men and boys should be engaged in all efforts to end violence against women. The program would form and engage with community level youth collectives in building their understanding on life skills and raising their awareness to stop VAW.
IV. Working with ULBs and other departments to improve responses to VAW:
In the recent times there have been various positive measures taken by the state through policy change, legal amendments, introducing pro-active and emergency services to end VAW. However, the problem is still rampant.
This calls for more responsive service delivery mechanisms. In this context the program would engage with ULBs and other stakeholders. In terms of the geographic extent of the project, a total of 63 slums come under the purview of the research based program. 10 slums are identified as the control group for the purpose of the study where no intervention will take place. The remaining 53 slums are the treatment groups where pre-assigned combination of interventions will take place. Based on the area of intervention the 53 slums are grouped under the following 5 categories;
|Sl.||Category||No. of Slums||Interventions/Activities|
|0||Pure control||10||In these slums, there will be no women’s or boys’/men’s interventions|
|1||Men’s||11||In these slums, there will be one boys’/men’s group in the slum will receive a Life skills training intervention|
|2||SHG||11||In these slums, 2 women’s SHGs will receive an SHG strengthening intervention.|
|3||SHG + Men’s||10||In these slums, 2 women’s SHGs will receive an SHG strengthening intervention and one boys’/men’s group in the slum will receive a Life skills training intervention|
|4||SHG + VAW||10||In these slums, 2 women’s SHGs will receive VAW/Legal rights training in addition to the SHG strengthening intervention.|
|5||SHG + VAW + Men’s||11||In these slums, 2 women’s SHGs will receive VAW/Legal rights training in addition to the SHG strengthening intervention, and one boys’/men’s group in the slum will receive a Life skills training intervention|