India is home to the largest number of adolescents in the world—~243 million. 57% of Indian adolescent males ages 15-19 justify violence against women, according to UNICEF’s Global Report Card on Adolescents (2013). According to the National Crime Records Bureau report of India 2014-15, perpetration of violence against females by males is rising across Indian states. This situation typically transcends religion, class and caste. Factors associated with increasing gender-based violence (GBV) include gender norms allowing men control over female behavior, acceptance of violence as a way to resolve conflict, the notion of masculinity linked to dominance, honor and aggression; rigid gender roles, association with peers who condone violence, male control of wealth and decision-making in the family, witnessing marital violence as a child, and alcohol use. One key issue is a lack of safe spaces in communities for young people to address concerns and access evidence-based, non-discriminatory, comprehensive information that encourages boys to question their privilege and gender roles, and to be supported to act in ways that respect women and girls’ rights, including to freedom from violence and bodily autonomy. ECF’s survey in 2015 found that fewer than 5% of organizations working to end violence against women engage men.
ECF was founded in Pune, India in 2009, by Will Muir and Rujuta Teredesai. Rujuta trained as a journalist, with over 10 years working in the not-for profit space, she co-founded ECF because she believes in engaging boys and men as a part of the solution to end gender based violence in India. Will began ECF after 12 years of experience in social and environmental management consulting firms, his previous career brought him to Pune and by seeing the situation faced by women and girls in India he, decided to co-found ECF. ECF aims to reduce violence and discrimination against girls and women by engaging boys and men, through training and mentor support, to serve as role models in their community, family and to successive generations of men by reducing their own violent behavior, and advocating an end to violence and discrimination against girls by their peers. Mentors deliver a unique and attractive program of lifeskills training, using cinema, where adolescent boys and young men uncover the pivotal role of women in their lives, and are concurrently coached through a process of personal behavior change towards women. ECF has a strong, structured program model that ensures males don’t simply study and debate equality, but they take personal and collective action with other males they trust, supporting each other within the community to reduce violence and discrimination against women.
EMpower’s 1st grant to ECF enables boys to complete life skills training to become active role models in their community to advocate, practice and promote gender equality through social actions.
Primary Location: Maharashta
Funded Since: 2016
Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.