Joining hands to combat alcohol abuse
Eliminating all forms of violence against women is a critical step towards building equitable societies. Centre for Catalyzing Changes’ program, Do Kadam: Barabari Ki Ore works in the state of Bihar, with institutional and research partners to build an understanding of the most effective ways of reducing risks and enhancing protective factors for violence reduction and prevention among women and girls. Exposure and learning on various aspects of domestic violence, interaction with visitors and resource persons from Women Development Council, the availability of a Women Helpline, all form part of the trainings that encourages women to take a stand and access support services. One of the main interventions under this program is to strengthen women’s collectives to support women facing violence. In one such training, five Sakhi Salahkar’s of the Self- Help Group in Lohra Village in Bihar shared the story of rampant alcohol abuse in their village, leading to increased incidences of domestic violence. A pledge to make their families, society and village safer, led to catalytic actions…
Beginning with mobilizing other women of their SHG’s and their locality to understand the causal link between alcohol use and violence, the peer mentors also organized a meeting at their village that had close to 80 listeners. This meeting was also graced by two ward members who played a pivotal role in setting up a village liquor prohibition committee to oversee the sale, illegal manufacture and use of liquor. An amount of Rs. 505 was decided as penalty for those who evade the rules on sale and manufacture of illegal alcohol. It was also decided that men who consume alcohol and other substances and violate their family members, including verbally abusing and beating their mother, sister, wife, daughters and other women of their village would also have to pay the penalty.
Community members galvanized to protect their village, participated in a village foot march, shouting slogans against sale of illegal liquor, ill effects of liquor and demanded for gender equality. They stopped at each ‘tola’ (unit) of the village; spoke to the villagers about the ill-effects of alcohol in ruining the family and affecting future generations. They also warned the villagers of consequences of selling & illegal manufacturing of liquor and informed them of the penalty.
The prohibition by the committee members of Lohra village seems to have worked and till date there has been a significant decrease in the sale, illegal production and usage of liquor by the villagers. As a follow up of the Committee constitution, the second meeting of the committee on 8th June 2014, witnessed the unanimously declaration that the first Sunday of every month would be a day for the Committee members to meet and work towards eradicating alcohol abuse and domestic violence in the village.
Important Information on the Case Study
• Training Program held: Date, Nawada Sadar block, Nawada District Bihar
• Trainees: Sakhi Salakar of 5 groups Puja, Seeta, Durga, Sanju & Sharda Groups of Gonawan Panchayat of Nawada Sadar block, Nawada District, Bihar
• Liquor Prohibition Committee constituted: June 1st, 2014, Gonawan Panchayat, Nawada Sardar Block, District, Bihar
• Ward Members present: Ms. Malti Devi, Mukhiya and Ms. Sonmati Devi, Nawada Sadar, Nawada District, Bihar
• President and Secretary of Liquor Prohibition Committee: Ms. Phool Kumari and Ms. Manju, Gonawan Panchayat, Nawada Sadar, Nawada District, Bihar