Prevention of violence against women through grassroots movement

Posted December 6, 2015 from India

Developmental challenges are diverse, and any single success formula applied in one place may not derive expected result in another place. Every developmental challenge demands contextual analysis and necessary policy formulation. Hence, grassroots level movements are very important, particularly in the context of government and civil society organisations inability to reach and address all the issues. Local people are the best judge to understand gravity of a problem and to guide themselves how to find a solution in the given scenario. In most cases grassroots movements are formed as a non-institutionalised collective action strives to bring change. Initially, a local leader or group of people starts such movements and locals gradually become part of the movement when they can relate themselves with the motto of the movement. Often such movements inspire others to identify and act towards their local level problem.

In India one such popular movement was ‘Chipko Movement’ started in the northern Himalayan segment of Uttar Pradesh. The main objective of the movement was to restore lost ecological balance and safeguarding livelihoods of tribal people as their livelihood is revolved around forests. Sunderlal Bahuguna was at forefront of the movement and gradually many women and locals join him and started a non-violent protest by clinging to the trees to prevent those from felling. Chipko movement paved the way for many such environmental movements in India.

I have personally noticed how inaction towards rising violence against women prompted local people to form local level movements. In West Bengal in Kamduni area a girl was raped by a group of local youth while she was coming back from her classes. To ensure justice for Kamduni victim many local women and youth come together and made their appeal at different forums. Soon media people noticed activities of the group and media interest in the case as well as protestors voice pressurised the ruling government to take the matter seriously. Initially ruling government tried to cook up a conspiracy theory that the movement was triggered and suported by their political opponents. Though, later on seeing the adverse public response the ruling government took a lesson from their inaction.

As India shares porous border with countries like Nepal and Bangladesh in many of the bordering region instances of human trafficking is very high. In India because of severe economic disparities in country migration rate is also quite high. In the name of marriages or work many women and girls from poor families become victims of human trafficking. These women and girls often find themselves in brothel houses and dance bars. Some of them also work as bonded labourers. In most cases of trafficking, victims go through severe mental, sexual and physical abuse. Many rescued victims once back to their place of origin started grassroots level movements. They start such movements with an objective so that other girls and women from their area do not face the same fate as theirs. Together with other victims and locals, they try to counsel rescued victims, take initiatives to stop child marriages, try to spread awareness among locals and also look for opportunities/avenues to engage rescued victims.

These grassroots movement often face challenges from local administration and also from the people who are behind the cause of the problem. I think it is our duty to mobilize support for such grassroots level organisations to strengthen their activities. So that in future local women and girls do not become victims of human trafficking.

Grassroots Mobilizing

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Dec 10, 2015
Dec 10, 2015


Dear Madam USHREE, Hello!

We thank you very much for sharing your POST regarding the "prevention of violence based on gender through the movements and actions of the masses at the base"; and through the experience of CHIPKO movement in India.

Indeed, the local people are best inked to know and understand the severity and specificity of the problems in their communities, and make appropriate solutions and the most fitting strategies.

In my view, however, organizations and mass movements at the base, [which are often informal and unstructured] sometimes turn to deplorable abuses if we are not careful. In some rural areas of Africa, for example, due to suspicions of sorcery, we deplored extrajudicial deaths of innocent women by stoning, mass suspecting them of being witches! That said, I do not underestimate the importance of mass movements at the base!

Once again thank you and good job Madame.



Chère Madame USHREE, bonjour !

Merci beaucoup de nous avoir partagé votre POST concernant la « prévention des violences basées sur le Genre à travers les mouvements et actions de masses à la base » ; et à travers l’expérience du mouvement CHIPKO en Inde.

En effet, Les populations locales sont les mieux encrées à connaitre et comprendre la gravité et la spécificité des problèmes qui se posent dans leurs milieux, et y apporter des solutions idoines et le mieux appropriées. Oui, elles sont parfois supplétives aux carences des organisations Gouvernementales et de la société civile.  

A mon avis Cependant, les organisations et mouvements de masses à la base, [qui  sont  le plus souvent informelles et non structurées] tournent parfois à des dérives déplorables si on n’y prend garde. Dans certains milieux ruraux d’Afrique par exemple, par suite à des soupçons de sorcelleries, l’on a déploré des morts extrajudiciaires de femmes innocentes  par lapidation, la masse les suspectant d’être des sorcières ! Cela dit, je ne sous-estime pas l’importance des mouvements de masse à la base!

Une fois de plus merci et bon travail Madame.


Claudia Ashah
Jan 15, 2016
Jan 15, 2016


i agree with you 100% that the grassroots movements should be supported because they people on the ground know where the shoe hurts the most. One thing am happy about is that people in India are learning to take action against matters that affect them and seek solutions. If all local communities did the same and not just relied on their government, then we would have better countries and environments to live  in.