Non-governmental organisation Swissaid, which has been supporting agricultural communities in India since 1960, has recently launched a campaign in Switzerland to promote its work on preventing violence against women.
The Swiss organisation has partnered with a local NGO Manavlok to offer counselling to married couples, as well as legal aid and shelter for abused women in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.
“We are not a women’s’ rights organisation as such,” Catherine Morad, spokesperson for Swissaid told swissinfo.ch. “However, domestic violence was a major problem among the communities we were working with in the area of agriculture and we were asked to help.”
The NGOs have organised seminars for couples, where men are encouraged to value the role their wives play in the family through discussions and role-playing. So far, 845 couples have participated in the scheme. Another technique used to prevent violence against women is the creation of around 20 men’s groups that intervene when a husband physically abuses his wife.
In 2016, Swissaid gave CHF58,000 ($58,172) to Manavlok to implement its domestic violence programme, a collaboration that has lasted five years.
Morad said Swissaid has taken part in similar social projects in Guinea-Bissau in West Africa, where it launched a programme to end female genital mutilation.