A Pioneer and Leader in India working among Men and Boys to prevent gender-based violence on women

Inka Achté
Posted January 6, 2020 from Finland
Gender sensitization project
Gender sensitization project (1/5)

I have been knowing Mr. Harish Sadani, for over 5 years, as a pioneer and leader in the movement for gender equality in India. In March 1993, Harish co-founded Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA), a voluntary organization of sensitive and concerned men to work with Men and Boys on issues of gender-based violence against women, enabling them to and speak for the rights of women to safety and dignity. This is pioneering and significant work in India. Harish has been sensitizing and ‘men’toring hundreds and thousands of young men and adolescent boys across India on issues of gender, masculinity, diversity and sexuality. Harish has been working painstakingly with women’s rights organizations, educational institutions including Universities and Colleges, Civil Society Bodies across India to advocate male involvement for gender equality. I have interacted with Harish and some of his adolescent youth leaders during the course of my shoot of a documentary film based on this work. The film titled ‘Boys Who Like Girls’, directed by me and released a year ago, is being screened to numerous international film festivals and the issues covered in the film are being deliberated. Over the past few years, I have keenly observed Harish’s role in influencing and shaping a significant number of young men in colleges, in rural and urban communities, sensitizing them on gender and toxic masculinity issues, and equipping them to communicate with peers and men in the larger community. Through a unique travelling film festival being run by him (now in its 3 rd year), street-play performances, inter-collegiate meets and competitions, wall newspapers, innovative workshops, annual cultural magazine and social media, Harish has been advancing his work to the hinterlands and cities across India through a dedicated team of 700 plus ignited youth mentors. Harish has been providing safe, non-threatening spaces to young men and women in Universities, Colleges and other educational bodies to open up, exchange thoughts, ideas, dilemmas and experiences on gender, sexuality and toxic masculinity and its impact on women and men, which is so vital in today’s times where crimes against women is alarmingly at a high level in India. This work is finally empowering women and preventing gender-based and sexual violence which is neglected by many stakeholders. This work is also very challenging and hence commendable, in the light of patriarchal forces constantly influencing the subsystems of Indian society. Harish is a strong leader with a Vision and Mission, with a clear strategy and a road- map involving a vast youth population, their lives transformed for a better, healthier tomorrow. I strongly recommend Harish for the World Pulse Spirit Award in view of his notable contribution towards women’s empowerment and human emancipation. I believe that honouring a Man of Substance would inspire many young men and boys to take ownership of issues that are largely seen as ‘‘women’s issues’’.

This story was submitted in response to #SpiritAwards.

Comments 11

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Anita Shrestha
Jan 06
Jan 06

Good work dear, keep it share more and more

Lisbeth
Jan 06
Jan 06

Dear Inka,
A warm welcome to world pulse and congrats also on your first post. To understand you much clearer,
You are not Mr. Hamish? You live in Finland whilst Hamish from India? I'm I correct?
I think I got little confused there
On the other matters, if you are nominating him for world pulse #spiritaward kindly attach his profile Link for us here in world pulse here. This will help us know more about him.
Hope to hear from you but before then my very best wishes.
Warm regards
Lizzy

Inka Achté
Jan 06
Jan 06

Dear Lisbeth, Yes you are correct. I am a filmmaker based in Finland and nominating Harish who is based in Mumbai. I hope I got this right? I think Harish now created a profile and it should be ok, right?
All the best from Helsinki!
Inka

Lisbeth
Jan 07
Jan 07

You are welcome. Just edit her profile link :-).
Regards
Lizzy

Hello, Inka,

Welcome to World Pulse! What a joy to know a voice from Finland us rising up!

I’m very impressed about Mr. Harris’ work. Thank you for introducing him to us.

I agree with Lisbeth, we need his World Pulse profile link if you are nominating him for the Spirit Awards.

Thank you for participating! Please keep writing!

Jan 06
Jan 06
This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
Harish Sadani
Jan 06
Jan 06

Hi Karen.. I am Harish here from India. I have uploaded my profile just now.. hope you can now see it...

Welcome to World Pulse, Harris! Will check it. Thanks!

Jill Langhus
Jan 06
Jan 06

Hi Inka,

Welcome to World Pulse:-) Wow! Thanks for sharing the amazing work of Harish. It sounds like he's doing some amazing work. I'm very interested to hear more about your films and work, too. I hope you're able to bring even more women from Finland into the community. I would love to hear more about the challenges and wins that women and girls are experiencing there:-)

Hope you're doing well and having a great day!

Inka Achté
Jan 06
Jan 06

Thanks Jill!

I am still trying to understand how all this works but it looks amazing! Finland is a very odd place -on one hand we currently have a government where all the parties are lead by women, but at the same time our domestic violence statistics are worrying to say the least. Anyway, excited to be on here and connect with new people! :)

Jill Langhus
Jan 08
Jan 08

You're welcome:-)

Yes, it is. Let me know if you have any questions:-)

Oh, dear. Yes, that's helpful to know. I was wondering.

We're excited and glad that you have joined the community, too!

Hope to see more posts from you soon:-)

Hope you have a great, rest of the week, dear!