Work on Violence against Women
Puntos has worked on VAW since its inception and considers the right to live without violence as a fundamental right. It takes an intersectional approach to work on diversity and discrimination on different themes. It does not work on violence as an isolated issue but makes the connections with other aspects of people’s lives. The focus of its activities is on promotion and it seeks to achieve this by influencing public opinion, providing training, and preventing violence through supporting changes at the personal level. It works closely with organisations that provide treatment for survivors of VAW so it can refer any individual cases in need of support services.
Puntos sees preventing VAW as being integrated with other factors such as HIV and risk taking. Addressing gender and power relations are key in relation to risk factors, so for example, it looks at the role of men in HIV prevention and in decision-making in the home. It also has a focus on the links between family relationships and different forms of violence – not only physical violence.
Promotion of equality is central to the work of Puntos, as can be seen by the television series it runs called Sexto Sentido (Sixth Sense). Through this programme Puntos has thrust controversial topics such as sexual abuse, VAW and abortion into the public arena, and made these subjects more visible.
Sexto Sentido has been shown throughout Central America and on a US cable channel. The series was shown in Bolivia, where a range of activities using materials from Puntos was also implemented. It is currently being subtitled in English for showing in Belize and Caribbean countries.
Another positive result of the work of Puntos is the production of training materials that are used by other organisations and groups working on these issues.
Networking and making alliances are key activities and Puntos emphasises the importance of working in coalition with other organisations to run joint campaigns. For example, it carried out a successful campaign with the Men Against Violence group ‘Violence against women is a disaster that we men CAN avoid’.
Its research findings are transformed into communication materials, and based on realities that people can recognise and understand. For example, a publication on financial and intimate decision-making called Las decisiones económicos e íntimas was summarised and published in a more accessible document and distributed as in insert in La Boletina and in a national newspaper.
Lessons, obstacles, challenges
Puntos can point to achievements in two areas of its work: influencing public opinion and working with other organisations.
It aims to impact on attitudes in relation to gender norms and has been successful in reaching a wider audience through the mass media. Many organisations use its materials and tools to support their own work on equality and diversity themes.
Puntos is committed to gathering evidence, and sharing it with others, such as the academic world and groups outside Nicaragua. It measures the success of its actions at various stages through surveys, using a base line and various methodologies (including gathering quantitative and qualitative information).
Challenges remain. Gender norms and fundamentalist ideas limit women and their decision-making possibilities. Regressive factors, such as the abortion law in Nicaragua and the influence of the Church continue to affect women’s rights.
Restrictions in international support (e.g. finance and budget reductions) affect advocacy activities, especially where gender is concerned. It is a fight merely to survive and even more creativity is needed to be self-sustaining.
Puntos is working to close the gap between economic rights and sexual rights at both theoretic and practical levels.
They have the following lessons to share:
- All activities should be based on a sound analysis of the context, and materials should be adaptable to a variety of contexts.
- Use entertainment as a strategy. TV allows intimate and complex themes such as rape, abortion and sexual diversity to be approached in a very open manner and reach a wider, more diverse audience. Music is another way to deal with difficult subjects in an accessible way.
- Links should be made to personal experiences, whether talking to journalists or facilitators delivering training.
- Lessons gathered as a result of reflection and analysis should be shared with the people who use the materials.
Puntos measures its achievements through:
• Dialogue with other organisations and journalists, monitoring feedback on changes brought about as a result of the work. For example, after every edition of La Boletina, the organisations that receive the magazine are followed up.
• Exchanges with other organisations. Puntos has held a series of meetings, some in other Central American countries. For example, in 2010 it held a meeting in El Salvador with 12 organisations to work on a joint research proposal.
Manual: We need to be able to talk (eng version)
Manual: Necesitamos poder hablar
Other materials are available from: http://www.puntos.org.ni/sidoc/nuestras_publicaciones.php
|INSTITUTO PROMUNDO Brazil||Religion, Violence and Justice|