Page 1


change Synthesis of Results and Lessons from the Regional Assessment of the We Can Campaign

We Can Campaign Š 2011

about the author

executive summary


SUZANNE WILLIAMS is an interna-

tional consultant in social development, a feminist, an anthropologist, an artist and more recently, a keen photographer of bees. With some 30 years’ experience of a wide range of work on human rights, gender equality and ending violence against women, she has been documenting We Can (with enthusiasm) for several years. Suzanne has drawn, for this report, from an immense amount of detailed information gathered by the research teams under the guidance of ANURADHA RAJAN, who designed and conducted the Assessment. The report can’t do justice to the rich material gathered, but does its best to reflect the main findings and the intent of the research She worked in Oxfam GB in various countries, and has authored several books and articles published by Oxfam and others. She is often heard to say things like: ‘but its more complicated than that’, and ‘I need more coffee’. She lives near Oxford in the UK with cats, parrots, a wild garden, a husband, and a daughter in London.

his report draws upon the Consolidated Regional Report and some of the Country Reports of the 2010 Assessment of Phase II of the We Can Campaign in 5 countries – Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

contents executive summary 1 background to the assessment 3 The We Can Campaign at a Glance 4 • The Assessment Results in Brief 5 • The Shape of the Campaign 8 • The Campaign’s theory of change 8 • The Assessment Methodology in Summary 9 • How do we know change is happening? 9 • What was the Campaign trying to achieve? 11 • What did the Assessment Measure? 13 • What did the Assessment Find? 15

learning 23 Achievement of Outcomes 23 • Measurement of Change 23 • Contradictions and the internalisation of change 24 • The Importance of Context 24 • Contribution and Attribution 25 • Change Makers, their circles of influence, and the tipping point 26 • Re-engaging Change Makers: keeping the Campaign going 26

case studies  28 SUZANNE WILLIAMS • OXFORD JUNE 2011

Evidence of a tipping point from Bangladesh 28 • Conclusion 29 • Example of a tipping point from India 29 • Conclusion 31

encourage them to deepen and widen the changes they were making, through new actions and through increasing their influence within their communities. 4. The Regional Assessment assessed three intended outcomes of Phase II:

It focuses on those findings from the Assessment which offer most insight into the results of the Campaign’s efforts, and which offer the best opportunities for learning.

●● The deepening of change amongst existing Change Makers

Based on these findings, it tries to balance the Campaign’s successes with what emerged in the Assessment as areas for further work to present a realistic and nuanced picture of the challenges of campaigning work in this field.

●● Building networks that sustain change ●● A collective attitudinal shift translating into the creation of an enabling environment for the issue of VAW to become more visible

1. The We Can Campaign was launched in South Asia in 2004. Since that time it has signed up 3.7 million people across 6 countries to the Campaign, its Change Makers, through its campaign partners, or Allies. It is active in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and to a lesser extent, in Afghanistan.

5. The Assessment interviewed 560 Change Makers and 1196 people from their circles of influence – those closest to them whose attitudes and behaviour related to violence against women they had sought to change. 6. The Assessment found:

2. The Campaign’s Goal is to reduce the social acceptance of violence against women. Its Vision is the generation of a mass social movement which will create a climate in which violence against women is not tolerated. Its Approach is to promote the transformation of personal attitudes and behaviour related to violence against women. The Campaign’s Theory Of Change is that personal and individual change is essential for social change to take place, and will make it more sustainable.

●● Almost all Change Makers interviewed (91%) showed change at some level due to the activities of the Campaign; of these, 80% were assessed to have deepened the changes they were making to some degree. ●● The presence of a strong set of pioneering champions or Change Makers who had showed significant changes in their own attitudes and behaviour, sustained their activities, and taken actions to influence others;

3. In 2009/2010 the Campaign carried out a Regional Assessment of its second phase. Its Phase I focussed on raising awareness about violence against women, and encourage individuals to begin a journey of personal change. Phase II aimed to reconnect with these individuals and

●● Over 90% of the respondents in the Change Makers’ circles of influence reported having made some kind of change in relation to their own attitudes and behaviour as a result of their contacts with the Change Makers;


●● While the evidence of impact of the Campaign was localised and fairly small-scale, the community changes can be seen as steps towards changing wider gender norms;

background to the assessment

●● Setting baseline information for any future assessment of attitudinal and behaviour change; ●● Paying attention to and addressing the specific contextual factors which affect the ability of Change Makers to be effective;

●● Change is complex and nuanced and often contradictory. While Change Makers and their circles of influence show marked awareness and supportive attitudes in relation to a wide range of issues regarding women’s equality, some attitudes related to specific forms of violence against women are ambivalent, pointing to the fact that some beliefs are harder to shift than others;

●● Directing support to both the Change Makers and those in their circles of influence, in other words, working more closely with the communities where change is taking place;

●● The personal qualities and social context of individuals were determining factors in how they were able to respond to the possibility of change, the obstacles they faced, and the kinds of changes they were able to make;

●● Strengthening Change Maker networks and opportunities for mutual exchange and support;

●● Attribution is particularly difficult to establish in Campaigning, and in relation to attitude and behaviour change. Many We Can activists belong to other organisations active in the field of women’s rights and combating violence against women, and there are many other actors in this field. However, evidence from the narratives of the Change Makers and their circles of influence points to a significant and substantial contribution by We Can to shifting attitudes and practices on violence against women.

●● Using the rich seam of narrative gathered in the Assessment process to design new materials based on Change Maker experience and successes.

●● Ensuring that materials are tailored effectively and more closely to context and social and cultural differences;

Change Makers collecting feedback from community members after an event (2009) ▼

●● That Change Makers were strongest where they had been in constant contact with Campaign allies, other Change Makers and other organisations working in the field. Re-engagement in Phase II was less important than constant engagement through ongoing Campaign activity. 7. The Assessment recommended: ●● Tackling the areas of attitudinal change in relation to violence against women which are harder to shift, and have to do with deep seated beliefs about power in relationships, in future Campaign materials and strategy;


were almost unanimous in agreeing that the community should share responsibility for support to victims of violence.

his report offers a summarized account of the main findings and issues presented in the reports of a Regional Assessment of the We Can End all Violence against Women Campaign, undertaken in 2009 and 2010.

The Regional Report and the Country Reports conclude that key factors that supported the processes of change that Change Makers were involved in were:

The Assessment was designed to measure the extent to which the Campaign had leveraged changes in attitudes and behaviour related to violence against women in its activists – Change Makers; and those people closest to them who they had tried to influence – their Circle of Influence, sometimes abbreviated to COI.

●● continued and regular contacts with the Campaign through its partner organisations or allies, and other Change Makers; ●● participation in other networks and groups working in similar areas of concern;

1756 people were interviewed in 5 countries – Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. 560 of these were Change Makers. People in their circles of influence tended to be predominantly members of their extended families, and friends.

●● their own motivation as direct or indirect victims of violence, or perpetrators of violence themselves; ●● support to victims of violence in their families/communities; ●● community recognition and status that they gained as Change Makers.

Across the five countries, the Assessment found that almost all the Change Makers interviewed were able to give examples of ways in which their attitudes, beliefs and behaviour in relation to violence against women had changed as a result of being involved with the Campaign.

The activities of the Change Makers were seen across all five countries to be contributing to collective attitudinal shifts in the communities of which they were part. The extent and impact of these shifts vary greatly according to local and national context, as well as other initiatives and actors.

Averaged across the countries, the Assessment found that the majority of Change Makers were able to show growth in understanding of violence against women over the 6 or so years they had been involved in the Campaign, a strengthening in attitudinal shifts, and sustained actions to tackle a wide range of forms of violence against women. The Regional Report calls these Change Makers the Campaign’s Pioneering Champions.

The findings of this Assessment indicate that We Can Campaign activities have contributed to bringing about a shift in individual and collective attitudes. However, the extent of influence is context specific and is further impacted by different deterrent and reinforcing factors. There is evidence that in many areas We Can activities have contributed to tipping the balance towards Ending violence against women, but it may not have been the only factor. Pakistan Country Report

People in the circles of influence attributed their own changes in attitudes and behaviour largely to their contact with the Change Makers and the Campaign, and in attitudinal surveys



The Assessment Results in Brief The Assessment of Phase II of the Campaign was begun in 2009, in five countries – Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – and carried on through 2010. The main objectives of Phase II were to intensify and deepen the experience of change amongst existing Change Makers, to encourage them to take more actions, and to reach out to more people around them. The Assessment’s purpose was to understand whether and how this was happening, as well as to explore attitudinal shifts within the Change Maker’s circles of influence.

◄ ▲ A few of the many communication materials that were developed as part of the We Can Campaign.

All the country studies recommended renewed effort by the Campaign to support the Change Makers to continue their work to bring about change at community level, in line with the overall aim of the Campaign to help create a broad social movement of intolerance towards violence against women.

mation is an essential part of the journey towards social, cultural and political change. Individuals who change themselves will be more effective Change Makers in their societies; and social change without individual change is unlikely to be sustained. It is a theory based on the inter-relatedness of internal and external activism,1 and the interdependence of internal and external change.

A combined strategy of Change Maker outreach as well as small scale community level events promises to be a more effective strategy in fostering broader community change India Country Report

The Campaign’s vision is the generation of a mass social movement which will create a social and cultural climate in which violence against women is not tolerated.

The We Can Campaign at a Glance

By mid-2011, the We Can Campaign had registered 3.7 million Change Makers across the South Asia region, in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Campaign is being taken forward and implemented by an estimated 3400 Allies, or national and local partner organisations, and Oxfam GB has now relinquished its coordinating role. A Global Reference Group of volunteer members from amongst ally organisations, supporters, and Oxfam GB staff was established in 2010 to support the development of the Campaign in the future.

The We Can End All Violence against Women Campaign (hereafter referred to as We Can or the Campaign) is a multicountry campaign whose goal is to reduce the social acceptance of violence against women, in all its forms. It focuses on domestic violence, based on the premise that violence against women has its roots in familial relationships and gender inequalities which are played out in the home. It has been planned in phases, and its second phase is the subject of the 2010 Assessment summarized here.

The Campaign has spread beyond the region to East and Central Africa, Europe and Canada, where some 200,000 change makers and about 800 allies have joined it.

Initiated in 2004 by the South Asia programme of Oxfam GB, the Campaign’s approach is to encourage and promote the transformation of personal attitudes, practices and behaviour of women and men in relation to violence against women.


Its theory of change is that personal and individual transfor4

The Allies are Campaign partners who implement We Can. They are from a wide range of sectors, including local and national NGOs and civil society organisations, women’s rights organisations, local government and legal and law enforcement agencies, the media, trade unions, educational institutions, religious groups, and individuals who take on the role of allies. They mobilize Change Makers through a range of public awareness activities, such as corner meetings, street theatre, public rallies, discussion groups, workshops and many others – the form of engagement depending on the opportunities and spaces afforded in the particular social context.

Some Headlines from the Assessment Report: ●● The Assessment in all countries shows the presence of a strong set of pioneering champions (Change Makers showing significant deepening of change) who are engaging with the issue passionately.2 ●● Almost all Change Makers from the sample surveyed demonstrated personal changes in attitudes and practice as a result of their involvement with the Campaign. ●● Some 90% of Change Makers reported that they had influenced others – 478 Change Makers offered names of 2707 people, the majority family and friends, from amongst people in the circles of influence.

The Campaign messages are delivered through communications materials designed to question norms and assumptions about women and men, and to open up discussion about inequality and violence against women – and alternatives to it – through the portrayal of familiar and everyday situations. They take the form of booklets, posters, stickers, flipcharts, comic strips, and other local variations, conveying messages that have been carefully constructed in regional workshops and discussions since the beginning of the Campaign. The materials for Phase II of the Campaign include case studies drawn from Change Makers’ experience which explore new ways of addressing violence, as well as material encouraging Change Makers to take more actions and to build support groups around them.

●● 94% of the respondents from the Change Makers’ circles of influence reported having undergone some kind of personal attitude and/or behaviour change related to violence against women and gender equality as a result of their association with the Change Maker and/or the Campaign. ●● Attitudinal surveys of respondents from the Change Makers’ circles of influence showed that 90% felt that responsibility for supporting women who face violence should be taken up beyond the family, by the community.

Internal Activism happens when people begin to question their own assumptions and experience, as part of the process of personal change



Regional Report of the Assessment of We Can Phase II, Draft Version II. Anuradha Rajan and Swati Chakraborty, December 2010.

1621 people, that’s more than 9 of every 10 people, strongly believe that the community should support women facing violence


67% also believe that women should speak out and share her experiences of domestic violence.

1568 people, that’s almost 9 of every 10 people, believe that a violence free family benefits men, women and families Most also believe that families are violence free when the members practise equality.


●● While We Can is only one amongst multiple sources of messaging about violence against women in the sites explored by the Assessment, the Change Makers were found to have been important sources of information and knowledge.

The Complexity of Change Beyond the headlines, the picture presented by the regional and country reports of the Assessment is complex and nuanced. The Campaign has achieved remarkable outreach since 2004, and thrown into relief some of the complexities of change, and the challenges of addressing change on a large scale. Some of these are outlined below.

While the evidence of impact of the Campaign presented in the Assessments is fairly localized to individuals and small social groups, communities and villages, the campaign is playing an important role in tipping the balance in favour of intolerance to VAW. The community-level changes may be seen as smaller tipping points that are pushing gender norms to change.3

What counts as change? Within the approach of the Campaign to promote personal and individual change as an essential component, if not precursor, of social change, is the principle that all changes are of equal value, or to put it in another way no change is small. Changes which may seem small – such as, for example, a boy saying he no longer insists that his sister brings him water whenever he asks for it – are deemed as important as changes which have a wider impact – for example, the decision by a local jirga4 in Pakistan to ban the practice of sawara5. In the context of South Asia, where the forms of violence and discrimination are innumerable and pervasive in every aspect of social life, any shift in attitude and behaviour is considered by the Campaign to contribute to its goal of a creating a large-scale climate of intolerance of violence against women.

Across all countries people in the circles of influence reported positive changes in the following areas: ●● Greater community awareness of subtle and invisible forms of VAW ●● Non-acceptance of VAW and the need to intervene to stop it ●● Acceptance of the belief in equality between men/women, boys/girls

1498 people, that’s more than 8 of every 10 people, believe that violence against women is NOT acceptable in any form in our community

●● High degree of support for equal education for girls


●● Support for girls mobility through rejecting the associated stigmas ●● Rejection of early marriage of girl children

While this approach proved successful in encouraging large numbers of people to feel able to embark on change, it made it difficult to gauge the degree or quality of change in individuals. The Assessment brings out the complexity of measuring experience which is highly subjective, and dependent on multiple contextual factors.

●● Greater participation of men in housework ●● Importance of using non-abusive language towards girls and women 1392 people, that’s almost 8 of every 10 people, have provided concrete examples of taking actions to prevent violence against women Most believe that violence will increase if people keep quiet - it is important to protest to show that VAW is unacceptable.



◄ Graphic representing key findings of the Regional Assessment, adapted from Rubaru (vol.5 - 2010), a newsletter for Change Makers. The numbers of people refer to respondants out of 1756 people involved in the study; see Fig. 1 : Assessment Sample Statistics, on page 9


Regional Report of We Can Phase II, ibid, Chapter 7: Conclusions



Council of Elders


The practice of using girls as compensation payments between families to settle disputes

The Importance of Context and Personal Capacity

of control, there is ambivalence. Even within a family defined as violence-free, 27% of change makers thought a woman should not go out without the husband’s permission, and almost 20% thought it was acceptable that a man would abuse6 his wife occasionally.

To try and measure this very wide range of forms of change, the Assessment categorised Change Makers according to the degree of deepening of change. These categories were derived from detailed narratives of the Change Makers’ attitude and behaviour changes, and thus took into account the social, cultural and political environments in which they lived.

Contradictions in Attitudes and Behaviour It is common experience that peoples’ attitudes are often self-contradictory, and that attitudes and behaviour may contradict each other too. Results in attitude and behaviour change directly related to violence against women were more ambivalent than those related to equality, and sometimes contradictory.

An action or a shift in awareness which may seem quite small in one context may represent a triumph over huge obstacles in another. The Assessment has shown that a full exploration of the particular contexts of individuals and groups is essential to understand the role the We Can Campaign plays in their lives, and the nature of the change they have experienced. Certain factors were found to be common across national contexts, such as exposure to violence, family support or hostility, links to social organisations. Combined with intrinsic personal qualities such as tenacity and determination, these played a determining role in the individual’s ability to deepen the changes they were making through the Campaign.

While, for example, a high number of respondents across all categories agreed that a man is never justified in hitting his wife (ranging between 68% and 84%), a significant number across categories agreed that an occasional slap by the husband does not amount to domestic violence (ranging between 21% and 49%). This finding is reported on more fully below, but is important in highlighting the gap between beliefs and specific behaviour, and between what is perceived as low risk and high risk change. The Regional Report concludes: The notion of inequality as a form of violence is well entrenched in the minds of the change makers and to a large extent among their circles of influence. However, deeper attitudinal change among change makers that embeds the values that violence is not acceptable under any circumstances needs to be facilitated. This would help the Campaign to also improve the Change Maker’s understanding of issues perceived as ‘high risk’, such as women’s mobility and women speaking out against domestic violence.

Inequality, Discrimination and Violence against Women A central message of the Campaign has been Equal relationships are violence-free, and its communications material has addressed discrimination and inequality at household and community level, naming these as violence. Much of the kind of desired change reported in the Assessment is related to equality and women’s rights – that girls deserve the same access to education as boys, that men and women should share housework, that food distribution should be equal, that girls should not be married off young. Change Makers exhibited a high level of awareness of the connection between gender inequality and violence against women. However the Assessment also points out that while Change Makers have developed a very nuanced understanding of what constitutes violence against women, in areas that entail deeper levels

The Assessment Methodology in Summary

structured interview guides applied to Change Makers and people in their circles of influence; ●● Focus groups discussions;

It is notoriously difficult to measure attitude and behaviour change, especially in mass campaigning, and was particularly difficult in this case in the absence of baseline data against which to track attitudinal shifts.

●● Social influence mapping to establish the Change Makers’ circles of influence. Respondents were selected through a combination of purposive and random sampling. 560 Change Makers and 1196 people from the circles of influence were interviewed. Sites in each country were selected to offer a wide range of geographic and social contexts, where the Campaign had worked to re-engage Change Makers.

A methodology was developed which did not rely on comparing before and after states, but which explored the development of changes within the sample of re-engaged Change Makers, from their own accounts. These were collected in detailed life histories, and from them criteria were developed to describe the level and depth of change in the individuals. Categories were created on the basis of these criteria, into which the change makers were subsequently grouped, for the purpose of quantifying the degree of deepening of change amongst them.

Fig. 1 : Assessment Sample Statistics STUDY SITE

The influence of Change Makers on others was explored through interviews with their circles of influence. The Assessment drew on the notion of inter-connectedness from systems thinking to inform its exploration of the interactions between individual and social change. In addition, attitudinal surveys were conducted with both Change Makers and people in their circles of influence. These yielded snapshots of attitudes and practices in relation to a range of different aspects of violence against women. As no previous baseline data had been collected, the survey was not able to measure shifts in attitudes and behaviour over time, or within particular sites – the attitudinal shifts recorded were those referred to within the narratives of Change Makers and respondents from their circles of influence.


What constitutes abuse is not specified in the report





















Sri Lanka




Total Sample size




There were a number of challenges in the sampling and interview process. The pool of Change Makers for study was defined as those re-engaged by Phase II activities, and these were difficult to identify for a number of reasons, including the fact that some re-engagement activities were large public events and records could not be kept of all those who attended. The interview process was long – a day was required of Change Makers, and this proved difficult for many who could not afford to lost a day’s work. In some countries, interviewees were paid the equivalent of a daily wage to overcome the difficulty, but in others this was not done.

Data collection methods were: ●● Life history narratives exploring the nature of the Change Makers’ involvement with the Campaign, and the issue of VAW;



●● Attitudinal surveys through applied structured and semi9

Across the region, the majority of people from the circles of influence interviewed were friends, followed by family members, neighbours, relatives and others. In all countries the majority of Change Makers cited most changes in their own families.

CM ▼

Sex Fig. 2 : Overview of Assessment Sample characteristics

60% 57%

Sex, Age and Education ▲female

The profiles of the Change Makers and those in their circles of influence with regard to sex and age were similar, while the Change Makers had a higher educational profile than those in their circles of influence. A higher proportion of people in the circles of influence were in unskilled occupations than those in the Change Maker group. The data is not disaggregated by gender.


40% 43%


his section presents the main findings of the regional and country Assessments, extracted principally from the Consolidated Regional Report. There are important differences between countries, and some of these are presented where they vary significantly from the aggregated regional results.

shifted to existing ones, with the support of the Allies; ●● Nurturing of Change Maker networks to spread and sustain change, achieve collective attitudinal shifts and build an enabling environment for non-tolerance of VAW; ●● Deepening of change amongst existing Change Makers by motivating them to find new ways of acting against VAW; ●● Promotion of institutional change, with a specific focus on schools and local government institutions.

What was the Campaign trying to achieve? Age

60% of Change Makers interviewed were female, and 40% male, compared with 57% and 43% respectively in the circles of influence. Change Makers are marginally younger than those in the circles of influence; in both groups the highest number are in the age range of 20 – 24 years old (21% of Change Makers and 18% of their circles of influence).

CM ▼ 50 years or more

48% 51% ▲over 30 ▼under 30


9% of Change Makers had no or minimal literacy , compared with 17% of people in their circles of influence. The same proportion (16%) had completed 9th grade (or matriculation) in both groups, while 19% of Change Makers were graduates or post-graduates, as against 13% of those in their circles of influence.

52% 49%

45 - 49

9.85% 5.73%

▼ COI 9.71% 7.01%

40 - 44



35 - 39



30 - 34



25 - 29



20 - 24



under 20




The principles behind the methodology were to allow the participation of the Change Maker in the analysis of their experience for their own benefit as well as that of the study, to provide safe spaces for reflection, and that given the sensitive nature of the inquiry, to ensure strict standards of confidentiality and informed consent. Research teams were locally recruited, trained and carefully monitored by supervisors.


the assessment findings


65% class 10 ▲or more


▼less than 35% class 10 45% unknown

Defined as "can’t read or write, but may be able to only sign one’s name"






post graduate






class 12 ~



class 10 ~



class 6 - 9



class 1 - 5






On this basis Phase I Outcomes were defined as:

As outlined above, the over arching goal of the Campaign is to reduce the social acceptance of violence against women. Phase I tackled awareness, knowledge and understanding. Its aim was to increase awareness and promote reflection on violence against women, engage the community to recognise violent practices as violence, and reflect on the root causes of discrimination and violence against women.8 Mass mobilization of Change Makers by the Campaign Allies was the strategy to begin to build critical mass, and by the end of 2009 there were some 2,600,000 Change Makers registered on alliance databases. By this time Phase II had already been started.

●● The deepening of change amongst existing Change Makers ●● Building networks that sustain change ●● A collective attitudinal shift translating into the creation of an enabling environment for the issue of VAW to become more visible These outcomes were broken down into visible outcomes and indicators, presented in Fig. 3, on page 13, which also includes the results of the Assessment. The last part of the strategy for Phase II, institutional change, was not examined in the Regional Assessment. Collective attitudinal shifts were explored through the people in the Change Makers’ circles of influence (COI).

Phase II aimed to re-engage existing Change Makers with a view to increasing the spread and intensity of change triggered in Phase I. The main elements of the strategy to do this were: ●● Re-engagement existing Change Makers through direct contact as well as mass outreach, to re-establish their identity and make them feel valued; ●● Whereas the Allies had mobilized Change Makers in Phase I, the mobilization of new Change Makers was 8

We Can. The Story So Far, 2009. P25








Change makers and community members can identify at least one alternative way to resolve conflicts in relationships


Change makers report actions to prevent VAW in each community


Change makers and people in their COI hold the view that VAW is unacceptable


Change makers display positive attitudes towards women speaking out about DV


People in the change makers’ COI display positive attitudes towards women reporting DV




Change makers report having facilitated making visible instances of DV in the community

Change makers and their COI are able to identify the benefits of violence free families Change makers and their COI believe that violence free homes are possible and equality in intimate relationships is worth achieving


Change makers believe that they have a role in ending VAW


Community groups recognise they have a role to end VAW


79% 85% 81%

67% 55% 44%

Provided concrete examples of taking actions to prevent VAW Endorsed the view that VAW is not acceptable

Thought that women should speak about their experiences of DV Said women should speak out only if they felt a solution could be found

All Change makers from the category of significant deepening of change and some from the category of some deepening of change had helped make instances of VAW visible in the community

89% 70%

Were able to identify a violence free family

The most common reason quoted by both groups for considering them as violence free is that they practise equality

92% 90% 62%


◄ Fig. 3 : Outcomes, Indicators and Results overview


Agree that the community should support women facing violence Identify themselves as Change makers, whether or not they have signed up to We Can

Fig. 4 : Stages of Change Model

The Stages of the Change Process The Campaign is in its eighth year, since the first launches in 2004.9 Its theory of change has been outlined above. To structure the Campaign, We Can used the Stages of Change model10, in a version adapted for community work by the Ugandan NGO, Raising Voices. The initial phase of the Campaign corresponds to the raising awareness stage of the model, while Phase II sought to encourage Change Makers to build networks and begin to act. In reality, the stages of the model and Phases of the Campaign overlap. Human actions do not take linear forms, and the Campaign was implemented at different rates between and within countries. The models provide signposts rather than milestones in the change process.

What did the Assessment Measure?

Raising Awareness leads to Contemplation

The 2009/2010 Regional Assessment was the first regionwide process with a unified methodology. Its aim was to assess the second phase of the Campaign, roughly corresponding to the stages from contemplation to action in the Stages of Change model. There had been a number of country Assessments and reviews up until 2009, and some of these are recorded in Chapter 8 of The Story So Far cited above, which is an account of the development, implementation and some of the achievements of the Campaign until the end of 2008. The Regional Assessment was designed to measure the effectiveness of Phase II through two main instruments – trying to understand and quantify the extent to which existing Change Makers had developed their process of change since they had become involved with the Campaign in Phase I,

Building Networks leads to Preparation for Action Integrating Action leads to Action Consolidating Efforts leads to Maintenance

and through an enquiry into perceptions of violence against women, attitudes and practices conducted though questionnaires applied to Change Makers and people from their circles of influence.

Deepening of change and what it means 9

The history and development of the Campaign has been document through many reports, internal and external. The most comprehensive account is The Story so Far, and an exploration of the nature of change as seen by We Can Change Makers and Allies was published in Change Making

Deepening of change was the main concept used to assess the progress of Change Makers as a result of the strategies and activities of Phase II. We Can Allies had become concerned that the early emphasis on recruiting enormous

10 Ref. to Prochaska etc.




numbers to the Campaign risked a dilution of messages and impact, which led to the Phase II emphasis on the quality, rather than the quantity, of the changes in attitude and behaviour it was trying to stimulate. Phase II included a wide range of campaigning activities designed to reconnect with existing Change Makers, and help them move further along in their change processes, key elements of which were increased and new actions, and greater influence within their groups and communities.

Change makers showing a deeper understanding about VAW : identifying newer forms of violence, in newer contexts, a sense of feeling more strongly about the issue of VAW Change makers engaging others on the issue : talking to them, sensitising them and convincing them to relate to the issue. Those who strongly believe in interacting with others to make a difference : trying to influence others on regular intervals to highlight the severity of VAW and the need to end VAW


Change makers with examples of actions or behaviour change in one’s own life and a sense of continuity in taking actions


Change makers showing examples of taking actions vis a vis situations involving other people and a sense of continuity in doing this; showing continuous engagement and re-engagement with issues of VAW

Deepening of change is described in the report as a growth or journey in the change being experienced by the Change Maker, from the time they joined up, to the time of the Assessment. Criteria to define the stages in this journey of change were fleshed out through analysing the Change Maker narratives. Perceptions and Attitudes The level of understanding of violence against women in all its forms was explored with Change Makers through structured interviews, which included a range of questions about what constituted violence against women and what a violence-free family would look like.



Deeper understanding about VAW : identifying newer forms of violence, in newer contexts, a sense of feeling more strongly about the issue of VAW

The attitudes towards violence against women of both Change Makers and those in their circles of influence were assessed through a range of questions and Likert scale statement responses. These attitudinal surveys provide a snapshot of ways of thinking amongst Change Makers and their circles of influence at the time of interview, and could thus provide a baseline for measurement of changes in the future.

Evidence of actions, but these are few


Shows change in awareness level or shows a maintenance of same awareness level


No clear evidence of actions or very limited actions


Shows change in awareness level or shows a maintenance of same awareness level


No clear evidence of actions or very limited actions

◄ Fig. 5 : Categories of Change


What did the Assessment Find?

background, marital history and key turning points in the Change Makers’ lives, as well as the particular constraints and challenges they faced, were determinants of the categorisation process. Additionally, the overall country context influenced the categorisation of Change Makers:

The questions guiding the Assessment as a whole were: 1. Are existing Change Makers experiencing a deepening of change?

While objective criteria have been used to categorise Change Makers, the starting point of the stories of significant change for a given country seems to have created a benchmark against which other categories have been defined. In other words, the criteria for measuring the movement from good to great [change to deepening of change] are influenced by the intensity of all the stories of change gathered in a particular country.11

2. If yes, what is the nature of this change and how is it occurring? 3. In what way is the deepening of change among existing Change Makers linked to the process of re-engagement? 4. Is the change spreading from the Change Maker outwards to their circles of influence? 5. If yes, what are the kinds of changes occurring within these circles of influence?

Country-level variation in the category of the most active Change Makers was marked, see Fig. 6, on page 17.

6. Has the Campaign managed to influence perceptions and beliefs about violence against women within the Change Maker’s broader circle of influence?

Nepal, for example, shows the highest proportion of Change Makers in the category of significant deepening of change within the region (91%), and Sri Lanka, the lowest (29%). Bangladesh and Pakistan show a higher proportion of these Change Makers than India.

The following sub-sections look at the findings in relation to the Assessment questions.

The Assessment report explains that the main reason for this divergence has been the degree of constant involvement with the Campaign of individual Change Makers:

Questions 1 & 2

Are existing Change Makers experiencing a deepening of change? If so, what is the nature of the change and how is it occurring?

In Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh, a large proportion of existing Change Makers covered by the study have remained engaged with the issue and the Campaign either through activities and repeated interactions with the implementing partners or through other organisations working in the area. …India and Sri Lanka … the spread of the Campaign has been wide, particularly so in India. This has translated into more sporadic and less intense periods of contact with the Change Makers.

The Assessment found that of the selected existing Change Makers, the majority fell into the categories of significant and some deepening of change. While the total averaged figure represents nearly 80% of Change Makers, the numbers in each category varied according to country, and this variation is represented in Fig. 6, on page 17 Placing Change Makers in the appropriate category of change meant taking the context of each one into account. While the taking of actions was a crucial criterion, the Regional Assessment report states that the social, economic and familial

11 Regional Report, ibid


The reports contain many long and detailed Change Maker narratives, too complex to summarise here. The following short summaries are given as an example of significant deepening of change from the Regional Assessment report:

Overall however, averaged over the 5 countries, over half of the Change Makers (53%) surveyed were categorised as showing significant deepening of change. The Regional report calls the Change Makers in this category pioneering champions.

Shahid, a 20 year man from Mardan in Pakistan grew up witnessing his father’s violence towards his mother. His elder brother repeated the behaviour with his own wife. After exposure to the Campaign, Shahid, having thought about and learned about violence against women, took on his father and brother, and through repeated discussion and argument, persuaded both men to change their behaviour. He also brought a friend into the Campaign as a Change Maker…

Pioneering champions are the Change Makers who have shown an evolved understanding of VAW, which means being able to identify a greater range of forms of VAW than they were able to when they first became involved with the Campaign. These Change Makers also show an increased depth of feeling about VAW, and communicate this to others. A key criterion of this group of Change Makers is that they take action on VAW, both within their own lives and in the social groups around them, and that they show sustained commitment in doing this.

The Nepal country report cites the case of a woman who before exposure to the campaign had never been able to leave the house or talk to others, especially other men, and who is as a result of the influence of the Campaign now able to go out to the market, as an example of a significant deepening of change; and a man of 50 who had never helped out in the household but begins to assist his wife preparing vegetables, is another. The report makes the point that these may seem small shifts, but within the Nepali context these are significant changes.

Change Makers in this category were commonly found to have become: ●● convinced of the value of personal change, and importance of practice before preaching; ●● aware of the importance of engaging with others to bring about wider changes;

The main difference between these pioneering champions and Change Makers in the other categories lies in the depth and sophistication of understanding and attitudinal change, and in the extent to which they have taken visible actions in their social groups, and have sought to influence others. Change Makers who have shown a growing awareness, and may or may not have taken some actions, make up a total of 234 individuals, or 42% of the sample.

●● self-confident in bringing about change in their social environments; ●● tenacious in dealing with the challenges to their work; ●● capable of multiple and repeated actions. These Change Makers fall roughly into two groups – those who battle with extraordinarily difficult circumstances to change themselves and others, motivated by their own deep sense of discomfort with the issues; and those who have been enabled by the support of those around them to make personal changes and intervene in violent situations around them.

Typical of this group is that they will have expanded their understanding of violence against women and made connection with many levels of inequality, as well as approached close family members. They may still be in violent relationships, and trying to change them. They may have persuaded a relative to allow a girl to continue in school, or to delay an early


marriage. Or they may still be undergoing their own personal change process.

As referred to above, one of the central factors in enabling the Change Makers to sustain their own changes and actions, was continuing involvement with the Campaign, mostly through the Campaign allies and partners.

Khadija from Pakistan says: Now people know I am a member of We Can and I get to participate in many activities. My status in society has elevated. The biggest thing that We Can has given me is an awareness of the issues…

1. In Bangladesh and Pakistan, a high percentage of Change Makers from the significant deepening of change category come from districts where the alliance partners were strong, and where the campaign has been active for a long time. However, while duration of contact was an important determinant in these two countries, this was not borne out in the other countries, where this category of Change Makers was equally spread across sites where the campaign had been active for different lengths of time. In the Indian state of Rajasthan the Campaign alliance partner worked with a meso level of volunteers, who as Change Makers played an important role in keeping other Change Makers involved.

Those who were found to show no change were individuals who either had signed up to the Campaign not knowing what it was about, or been signed up by someone else, or attended a Campaign event but subsequently forgotten about it. Some did not agree with the views of the Campaign. Some did not know what a Change Maker was supposed to be. They numbered 22 people, or 4% of the sample. How is this change in attitude and behaviour occurring? What has enabled these Change Makers to deepen their change?

Fig. 6 : Categories of Change Makers (CM), by Country

Significant deepening


Some deepening

Awareness plus


115 CM




116 CM

No change







100 CM



117 CM




112 CM

Regional Average 560 CM

4% 5%










As the India report puts it: Evidence of constant engagement with the issues of VAW is much stronger amongst those who have shown deepening of change. …the cause of constant engagement has been either then presence of other Change Makers in the vicinity or close contact with the implementing partner, or, to a lesser extent, the regular actions some of the Change Makers seem to have taken with regard to their own situation or that of others.

2. Increased status in the community was a strong motivational factor. The Nepal country reports states that almost without exception Change Makers, especially women, spoke about gaining recognition and respect within the neighbourhood due to their active involvement with the campaign and fighting violence against women. The Pakistan report states that status elevation was a key reinforcing loop in a Change Maker’s capacity to progress, although many other factors, such as gender or social position would further influence how this happened.

The Nepal report also states that re-engagement has not been through specific Phase II activities, but has been a constant engagement through participating in different events organized by the Campaign between 2005 – 2009, reading materials, informal sharing including personal experiences before and after involvement with the Campaign… personal motivation is even stronger with some Change Makers who have not only changed themselves but taken action to bring changes in their community…

3. Supportive relatives and friends, a changing circle of influence and individual factors such as direct or indirect experience of violence and a sense of discomfort with the issue, as well as personal qualities of tenacity and sense of purpose were brought out by the Assessments as key factors in promoting and sustaining the Change Maker’s deepening of change.

Similar points were made in the Sri Lanka and Pakistan reports. The Sri Lanka report states that the narratives of Change Makers and their circles of influence indicate that re-engagement has been interwoven with the experiences of deepening of change and collective attitudinal shifts. … exposure to Campaign materials has been mentioned both by Change Makers and their circles of influence as an important method re-engagement. The narratives also elucidate that the incidents of VAW and the need to support affected women is another factor triggering re-engagement…

Re-Engagement and Change Question 3

In what way is the deepening of change among existing Change Makers linked to the process of re-engagement? The Assessment found that the deepening of change is linked more closely to constant or regular involvement of Change Makers with the Campaign allies and partners, or with other Change Makers, than it was to the specific activities of Phase II re-engagement. The status acquired by Change Makers who become active on VAW in their communities has already been mentioned as an important motivating factor in their continuing activism, and support to victims of violence has enhanced the understanding and commitment of Change Makers.

The Pakistan report also refers to ways in which re-engagement could have been more effective: signature campaigns, rickshaw campaigns and the mobile van have proven very useful at engaging and re-engaging with the various aspects of VAW. However, the activity reports and discussions with partners also reveal the fact that district partners required further clarity on re-engagement and deepening of change. If this clarity and technical assistance has been provided to them these activities may have had a greater impact.

While Phase II activities are mentioned in some reports as part of the picture, they were not the principle trigger for the deepening or extension of change through the Change Makers. 18

Change in the Circles of Influence Questions 4, 5 & 6

As discussed in the Introduction, change is complex and not linear and change in awareness does not necessarily lead to change in behaviour. Nonetheless, Phase II envisages movement, through action, from individual to collective change, and has been defined as a collective attitudinal shift in the Change Maker’s circle of influence.

Is the change spreading from the Change Makers outwards to their circles of influence? If yes, what are the kinds of changes occurring within these circles of influence?

Change Makers were asked to map out the people they considered to have influenced, and from these a sample was taken to interview through focus group discussion and guided questionnaires. While on average each Change Maker mentioned 5 people (but this varied widely between countries, see Fig. 1 : Assessment Sample Statistics, on page 9), 2 people per Change Maker were selected for interview.

Has the Campaign managed to influence perceptions and beliefs about violence against women within the Change Maker’s broader circle of influence? This section looks at the impact of the Change Makers and the Campaign on some of the people around them. It also presents some of the results of the attitudinal surveys carried out with the Change Makers as well as those in their circles of influence.

A social influence map of a male Change Maker from India illustrates the kinds of changes he perceives in those around him, and how the changes affect each other. see Fig. 7, on page 20. Or as the Report puts it, how the changes in one system around the Change Makers affects others.

The We Can theory of change, referred to above, is that personal change can be spread to the person’s immediate circle; and from those people outward, causing a ripple effect of change which eventually creates a climate of non-tolerance of violence against women. The assumption is that personal change leads to action with others, but at the same time the Campaign’s ethos is that all changes are valid, whether they stay at the personal level or move further.

Within the family, the most common changes, according to the Change Makers are the reduction or ceasing of physical and emotional violence and abuse, sharing of housework, lifting of restrictions on female mobility, allowing girls to continue in education and denouncing of early marriage.


Fig. 7 :

The Regional report states that outside the family, The most common changes in the other systems, according to the Change Makers, include not restricting girls and women from moving outside the home, allowing them to pursue education, not engaging in eve teasing/harassment of girls and greater discussion on the subject.


Sister’s understanding of VAW has deepened; she has started coming out of the house to attend meetings

As outlined in the Introduction to this paper, a high proportion of people in the circles of influence reported that they had changed some aspect of their attitudes and behaviour in relation to violence against women as a result of their contact with the Change Maker and/or the Campaign. Some of the attitudinal survey results are summarised in the Introduction, and reflected in Fig. 5 : Categories of Change, on page 14.

Mother has stopped talking harshly with sister, scolding her Father used to object to girls going out of home; has now become more open about this Friend has stopped teasing girls; resolves family quarrels along with sister


Parents of the friend have started sending daughter to CM’s house freely


The Assessment shows that the attitudes towards VAW of the people in the COI are similar to those of the Change Makers, with some differences of degree. These are demonstrated in Fig. 8, on page 21. However, while a high proportion of people in both groups agree on the unacceptability of any form of violence against women as a general principle, when the idea of a justification was introduced, the responses are more ambivalent – just over one-third of Change Makers and people in the circle of influence did not agree that a man was never justified in hitting his wife, and between 37% and 40% thought that an occasional slap does not amount to domestic violence.

My maternal grandparents are in touch [with us], they see the way we live… they were curious about a poster in my house. I said I’m attached to a group that helps girls, motivates them to study, move out of the house

Grandfather gave example of CM’s family and motivated CM’s aunt to educate her daughters


The highest proportion of respondents thought that the community should take responsibility to support victims of domestic violence (90% – 92%), but at the same time a significant number of respondents (29% – 39%) thought that



71% 75%



Husband can demand sex from wife whenever he wants


Women should tolerate DV as it is their responsibility to keep the family together

It’s the responsibility of the community to support women who face VAW



A man is never justified in hitting his wife

59 %

Fig. 7 shows the social influence map of Revaram, a 35 year old married Change Maker from India. He is a lawyer, from a close-knit and supportive family. His father is well-respected in the neighbourhood, which he describes as supportive in that people help each other.

% 90 2% 9

Neighbourhood Family has changed by coming in contact with us


Similar patterns were described by the majority of Change Makers interviewed.


Men deserve more rights than women




Couple in neighbourhood have stopped restricting daughter from from going out, and are less harsh with her. Neighbour’s daughter goes out alone

Sharing housework does not suit men


Women should not talk about their experiences of domestic violence with anyone

Fig. 8 : % Responses to Statements


Violence in any form is unacceptable



An occasional slap does not amount to DV

Strongly Agree

81% 85 %


Denying money to your wife is a form of domestic violence

or Strongly Disagree


responses by

CM and

their COI

a woman should tolerate domestic violence to keep the family together. Over a third of Change Makers and 45% of their circles of influence thought that women should not talk about their own experiences of domestic violence.

is relatively easy to agree to general principles – it is much harder to see the right way of putting these principles into practice when everyday social norms and conventional patterns of behaviour are established and unthinking.

In both of these examples, the contradiction in attitudes was evident. While general principles – non-tolerance of violence, community support for women – were upheld, when the issues were more specific, people’s attitudes were less coherent. It is very common for people to hold contradictory attitudes, which is why the Campaign’s focus on a wide range of very specific examples of daily violence is important. It

The reports record not only attitudinal but behaviour change within the Change Maker’s circles of influence. These behaviour changes, together with the attitudinal changes (reported in the Introduction, and reproduced below) when reaching a certain critical mass, could tip the balance from becoming



the exception to becoming the norm.12 Such a tipping point would be reached by the Campaign when the acceptance of discrimination or any form of violence is an exception in the community and gender equality is the norm. Regional report.

Attitudinal changes reported were:

The most common forms of behaviour and practice change reported by the people in the circles of influence were:

●● Strong acceptance of the belief that men and women/ boys and girls are equal;


A visible effort to educate girls in the community and ensure that they get equal access to educational opportunities, particularly striking in India and Pakistan;

●● A high degree of support for education of girls, equal educational opportunities for girls;

Achievement of Outcomes

●● Supporting mobility of women and girls by rejecting the stigma / supposed dishonour attached to it;

The report concludes that significant gains were made in three of the four of the Campaign outcomes for Phase II measured by the Assessments see Fig. 6, on page 17. These were the outcomes regarding:

●● Greater awareness of subtle and invisible forms of VAW; ●● Clear articulation of non-acceptance of VAW and the need to intervene in stopping it;

●● Reduction in restrictions on mobility of girls and women, in all countries;

●● Rejecting the mind set that girls should be married early;

●● Rejecting the practice of child marriage, particularly striking in India;

●● Recognising the importance of sharing household work;

●● Consciously adopting non-abusive language towards girls and women, particularly striking in Nepal

●● Becoming conscious of not using foul language.

●● Greater participation of men in housework, particularly striking in Bangladesh;

The Regional Report states: what the Campaign can claim to have achieved is to create smaller tipping points in the community where Change Makers and their circles of influence have begun practicing a new set of behaviours in a sustained way.

●● Practising equality in the family in various ways such as in distribution of food, joint decision making, giving equal money, eating together etc.

Mobile Van Events involved teams of Change Makers travelling through different areas to re-engage old Change Makers (2009) ▼

12 The notion of a tipping point is taken from Malcolm Bradwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things can make a Big Difference, Little Brown, 2000

Measurement of Change

his section summarises and groups the main points of reflection from the conclusions and recommendations of the regional and country reports.

The category of Change Makers showing changes in their attitudes and behaviour scored more positively in the attitudinal survey than those in the no change category, although the latter numbered only 22 of the whole sample. This is too small to offer a control group for the study, but on a larger scale could have comparative value in the absence of baseline data against which to measure change over time. Change Makers categorized as showing significant change showed substantially more positive attitudes in most areas compared with those in other categories.

●● rejection and/or reduced tolerance of violence against women by Change Makers and their circles of influence;

However, where the questions referred to general principles and possibly less contentious issues, such as the community should support women suffering violence and all children should be sent to school there was little difference between the categories. And in some areas, Change Makers in the category of no change showed more positive attitudes than those in the awareness plus category.

●● increased awareness amongst Change Makers of the benefits of violence-free relationships for men, women and families; ●● evidence that Change Makers and people in their circles of influence take responsibility to build and strengthen violence-free relationships The fourth outcome referred to greater acceptance towards women speaking out against domestic violence. As recorded in Fig. 8, on page 21, and the discussion, between 30% and 40% of Change Makers and those in the circles of influence thought women should tolerate domestic violence to keep the family together, and not speak out about it.

What this points to is the complexity of processes of change, and the difficulties of measuring and comparing subjective accounts of attitude and behaviour change. Attitudes are often contradictory, as the reports point out, and where a range of contextual factors also come into play, will shift and mutate accordingly. It also suggests that certain attitudes may be prevalent in the communities of which Change Makers and their circle of influence are a part, but this would need to be tested by wider community-level surveys.

The report concludes that there are some high risk issues, such as women’s mobility and speaking out against domestic violence which represent deeper attitudinal change, which have not yet been embedded in Change Makers. In its future development, the Campaign will need to address this in its communications strategy.



The absence of a baseline

While 90% of Change Makers in the significant deepening of change category thought that violence in any form is unacceptable, fewer (75%) felt that a man is never justified in hitting his wife.

The methods devised by the Assessment to measure change were done so because no previous data existed for the purposes of comparison, and all the reports refer to the problem of measuring attitudinal shifts in the absence of any baseline data.

These contradictory findings suggest that deeper level change which involves reflection and alteration of deep seated values around VAW is yet to happen (India report).

The India report states: while it is not possible to measure a shift in attitudes [as there is no baseline], the data points to the Change Makers and their circles of influence as a group with shared values. The Pakistan report concludes: One of the major drawbacks of this Assessment was that there was no baseline against which the change could be measured… in future a campaign design should include a baseline assessment to be carefully designed to measure the expected outcome….A detailed baseline would also facilitate linking the Campaign to all strata of the community…

Or as the Sri Lanka report puts it: the apparent contradictions [in what Change Makers and their circles of influence believe], and their actions/behaviours….show that challenging gender roles and norms is not easy, and involves a higher level of thought process including critical thinking where Change Makers begin to question the existing hierarchies and social relations of power….the internalisation of change is not very visible in the study… The Regional report recommends that deeper attitudinal change that embeds the value that violence against women is not acceptable under any circumstances, needs to be facilitated. This would help the Campaign to improve the Change Makers’ understanding of issues perceived as ‘high risk’ such as women’s mobility and women speaking out against domestic violence.

Contradictions and the internalisation of change The Assessment found that while Change Makers and to a large extent, those in their circles of influence, show high levels of awareness that women’s inequality is a key component of violence against women, and gender equality within families is an important value, there is more ambivalence about more direct forms of violence against women.

The Importance of Context All the Assessment reports underline the prime importance of exploring, analysing and taking into account the personal identity and circumstances, and the social context of individual Change Makers in order to understand the kinds of change they are able to bring about, and its comparative significance. …The extent of change in an individual is dependent to a great extent upon his or her context… (Pakistan report). While the Assessment did not disaggregate all its data by gender, and references to gender difference are not emphasized in the texts of the reports, the Pakistan report remarks that …a young man’s stand is much more acceptable than a young woman’s… The India report states: Gender

This was found in a previous study in India (2007) and remains the case. On issues such as discrimination against girls in schooling, access to food and early marriage, and in relation to equality between women and men within the family, there was broad agreement across categories of Change Makers showing change, and their circles of influence. Yet between 18% and 21% of Change Makers who showed changed (as distinct from awareness plus) found it acceptable that a man should abuse his wife occasionally. 27% of those in the no change category thought this.


differences in the deepening of change have not really been discernible. However, what has emerged as a significant element in the process of categorisation has been the gendered constraints that makes a woman’s journey of change more challenging is some circumstances. This has meant that in categorising Change Makers, appreciation of the context in which the change occurs is very critical.

As the Sri Lanka report puts it: …the complexity of attribution makes it difficult to claim the sole credibility of experiences of Change Makers as well as their circles of influence. The Change Makers have not only been engaged with the We Can Campaign…They have been exposed to various other programmes where women’s rights and discriminatory practices were addressed… and …a fair number are also part of other groups in their villages [women’s groups, local government groups, and savings groups]. Therefore it becomes problematic to attribute the We Can Campaign as the sole reason for the experiences of deepening of change and collective shifts. However, the We Can Campaign has played an important role in the lives of Change Makers and their circles of influence in the many ways elucidated by the narratives.

The personal and social contexts of the Change Makers, as explored in the taking of their life history narratives, were key determinants of the way in which the level and degree of the changes they were bringing about were assessed. The Regional report recommends that the Campaign should take account of, analyse and address these particular contextual factors in ways which will support Change Makers appropriately and help them to deepen and sustain the changes they are making. The Pakistan report recommends that of country-specific and locally relevant campaign materials should be produced.

The report also mentions ways in which Change Makers showing deepening of change have worked with members of the groups and organisations of which they are members …The Change Makers showing deepening of change work closely with other existing networks or groups with similar concerns or aims… as well as with local government, hospital staff and the police: the study emphasises Change Makers’ ability to study the context and be innovative in their approaches to end VAW. (Sri Lanka report)

Contribution and Attribution The social contexts of Change Makers and those in their circles of influence include many actors in the field of social and community development, human rights, women’s rights and violence against women.

The Pakistan report makes similar points: the level of attribution of attitudinal shift towards non-acceptance of VAW cannot be assessed completely due to other uncontrolled factors – such as other organisations working on women’s rights, media and state awareness-raising campaigns. However when we look at the percentage of Change Makers engaged directly with the Campaign its contribution towards this issue cannot be underestimated. Furthermore the influence of Change Makers bringing about a change in their community has been immense.

The primary contact may be with the Campaign alliance member, but other groups, networks and sources of information are important. In this context, change in individuals and groups is difficult to attribute to a single cause; the important area to explore is the contribution of a particular intervention to change, and to appreciate the synergies and benefits that accrue when a number of initiatives work for similar outcomes. The Assessment recognises the importance not only of context, but of the impact of other actors in the lives of Change Makers and their circles of influence.


Change Makers, their circles of influence, and the tipping point

What is more clearly evident is that both Change Makers and those in their circles of evidence are exerting influence within other groups to varying degrees, and this should be supported by the Campaign. The Regional report recommends targeting not only Change Makers by those around them, particularly in their circles of influence, to strengthen and extend the influence of the Campaign. All the reports recommend that the Campaign work for wider change, and sustained efforts to engage more closely with the communities where it is active.

All the Assessment reports conclude that the Change Makers and people in their circles of influence together form an important group combating violence against women, supporting each other and reinforcing each others’ changes in attitudes and beliefs. While Change Makers hold more positive views that those in their circles of influence, overall they hold the same values. The Nepal report states: the change experienced by the [people in] the circles of influence is the same as the change experience by the Change Maker. The process of understanding VAW and bringing change in themselves and for others is identical for Change Makers and those in their circles of influence.

The Pakistan report suggests: it is evident from the narratives that the Campaign has been a major contributor towards building the momentum of a collective tipping point [of nonacceptability of violence against women]. The key elements for reinforcing and maintaining this momentum include not only the repetitiveness of messages but also status elevation and visible positive effects.

The Assessment refers to evidence of localized tipping points to describe instances where non-acceptance of aspects of violence against women has become the norm, rather than the exception. These are reported to occur at the level of very small groups, reported by the Change Makers and people in their circles of influence, where new beliefs and practices are becoming the norm amongst them.

Re-engaging Change Makers: keeping the Campaign going The deepening of change in Change Makers was not found to be closely or exclusively linked to the specific activities of the Phase II re-engagement strategy, although the mobile van public meetings, newsletters, and small meetings and events are noted as contributing to the continuing engagement of Change Makers. The Regional report concludes that smaller meetings and small-scale activities were more effective in deepening change than larger public events.

The Regional report cites two cases of larger scale evidence of tipping points, one in India and one in Bangladesh, but the while many linked initiatives and activities are recorded, the size and boundaries of these communities and groups is unclear, and overall the evidence that tipping points have been reached is not compelling.

The India report makes the point that: Evidence of constant engagement with the issue of VAW is much stronger among those who have show significant or some deepening of change… The cause of constant engagement has been either the presence of other Change Makers in the vicinity of close contact with the implementing partner, or, to a lesser extent, the regular actions some of the Change Makers seem to have taken with regard to their own situation or that of others.

Nonetheless, both these cases show is a range of changes in awareness, attitudes and practices which have been brought about through the interventions of the Campaign and Change Makers which spread across several villages. These case studies are reproduced in full in Annexe 1.

In the site where most Change Makers showed significant deepening of change in India (in the state of Rajasthan), a meso level of Change Makers was mobilized by the alliance partner to maintain contact and engagement. In the same site there was evidence that a combination of communitylevel events and interpersonal interactions was more effective at building broader community change than the activities of the Change Maker alone. The Nepal report mentions the importance of recognition of the efforts of Change Makers: during field work and transcribing their stories the research team was able to observe that many Change Makers and people from their circles of influence worked very hard to spread the message of violence against women in the families and community. They have taken action to bring changes in a very difficult situation. Yet their commitment has not been recognized and acknowledged as it should have because of their low profile… The Pakistan report recommends strengthening networks and opportunities for Change Makers to support and learn from each other: the findings indicate that networks and platforms for Change Makers to share experiences and learn from each other have been useful reinforcing agents. This approach should be honed and networks at all levels should be strengthened in order to enable people to share material, best practices and lessons learned… The Regional report, and the Sri Lanka report, suggest that the stories of change and examples of successful activism gathered from Change Makers during the Assessment should be used as inspiring material in further development of the Campaign.

We Can workshop being conducted in a rural community (2008) ►



case studies Evidence of a tipping point from Bangladesh

women who engaged in child marriage, received dowry and used to quarrel on trivial issues at home are now becoming change makers. They are influencing their family decisions. Now people engage us even for counselling. 55 years old literate, married female change maker.

Women possess less social, political and economic power and resources. They have limited opportunities to take part in decision making at different levels. In this context WE CAN has contributed towards developing leadership skills among women change makers and the members in their circle of influence.

Women change makers and the members in their circles of influence are participating in community mediation forums (Salish). In the words of a female change maker:

Earlier I used to believe that women will remain at home and their power and authority will be less than men. I also have discriminated between son and daughter. After becoming a change maker I have realised that all women are, in one or other way, subjected to violence. They are subjugated by men for not having their independent earning.

By associating myself with this campaign I have found a platform to continue my struggle. I protest when there are incidents of violence against women and for that I even receive threats from various vested interests in society. I keep writing in journals and magazines on the subject of violence against women. In the process of this struggle I have involved school girls into the We Can campaign and organised debates, discourses and other programmes with them.

Over time I have become more aware about women’s rights. I have understood that they won’t be able to establish their right unless they become economically self-reliant. That is why I have trained them on livelihood skills and then linked them up with livelihood opportunities. 58 years old female change maker, married and educated up to class XII

While discussing with school girls I make them aware about their rights and try to integrate them with the larger nation building process. At the same time I encourage them to raise their voice against VAW. Village women often come to me with their family problems to explore a solution. 31 years old married female change maker who works as a teacher.

I understand that other than distinctive physical features there is no difference between men and women. Like men, women can also do all types of works. Now I feel easy to talk before a public gathering. I understand about right and power of women.

Various initiatives are evident among women change makers even in far-off places. One of them signed up to the campaign as a result of her experiences on the issue. In her words:

Through my work I have established that women are also moving forward. Now I am doing my study so that I can become self-reliant in future. I make people understand about the domestic violence and various forms of inequality. I organise small household level sitting in the area to make

We sit together to discuss. I tell women not to remain weak as we had been. We were vulnerable but this should not happen in your and your children’s life. Many among those


Example of a tipping point from India

people aware about violence against women. As a result women, who never came out of their house, are now coming out in public and participating in We Can campaign. Many of them have even become change makers. 21 years old female unmarried change maker, student.

The Assessment of WE CAN phase II has highlighted a very interesting example of how change in the thinking of a significant number of people in community has started altering the widespread practise of child marriage in the community. Change makers as well as the circle of influence from the six villages covered in Rajasthan have consistently spoken about three key changes resulting from the campaign:

The trend of growing awareness and reduction in violence is evident from the information obtained through focus group discussions also. For example, school students of Kamarjani of Gaibandha and Maimonsing Ward 2 have shared that they have spoken to their neighbours about VAW, and as a result, the level of awareness on violence against women in that area has increased.

1. Increased focus on girl’s education,

According to them, family quarrels, wife beating and eveteasing in the area has reduced. Women in Akua have shared that they have become courageous after becoming aware about violence against women and women’s right. Their self-confidence has gone up and they now work to enhance income.

2. Strong social sanctions against child marriage 3. Increased mobility of girls 80% of people in the change maker’s circle of influence from Rajasthan and 89% percent of change makers have said that in a violence free family, daughters are not married before the age of 18. 35% of people in the circle of influence have said they will not let child marriage take place and/or have stopped child marriage themselves.

At the same time, they inspire others to stop violence against women. They protest against any such incident and work together to enhance awareness among the people around. They have arranged sitting at the household level on their own initiatives. The husbands, who earlier discouraged their wives to be part of the campaign, are now, along with their wives, participating in the campaign activity.

The focus group discussions have reconfirmed the wide spread articulation of not supporting child marriage. Given below is an excerpt from an FGD with female respondents from Utesar village, Luni block, Jodhpur district, Rajasthan:

After seeing the street play people have understood that we should not do baal vivaah [child marriages] because at a young age children don’t know what is happening with them.

Conclusion The evidence points to localised tipping points. Women have started sitting on the Salish, which is a public forum for mediation; Domestic violence has started reducing and men who were earlier resistant to their wives participation have now turned into allies of the campaign. Each of these are significant, visible changes where a dominant practise has been replaced by a new behaviour and by doing this has added one more push towards normative change.

Earlier never used to send girls outside; but now allow them to play outside; Nowadays some families send their women folk outside. Earlier people used to never allow women to go out alone; but now allow them to go out. Girls should be married at the age of 18. Earlier child marriages used to happen. Some people called up the police and they arrived. And people hid


them [the bride and groom]. The police stayed here for three days. Akkha teej [a local festival] got over – that’s when the marriages take place. That festival passed. A badoli [processions] comes out of the house, that was stopped. The villagers also stayed quiet. The police said, that this [child marriage] is wrong. “We will send them [the ones committing child marriage] to prison.” This caused the marriage to stop and this was a very good thing.

fear among people. Now child marriages do not take place though funeral feasts do. The narrative of a 15 year old unmarried change maker from these villages highlights the benefits of change by women in the area.

I can now roam around freely for example I came here to give my interview and am feeling happy about it. Now I am also pursuing higher studies. Earlier I used to think that I will not study anymore but my family members trusted my abilities and I started feeling that I could become something. Earlier my family members would not let me go out or let me talk to boys for the fear that something might happen to me. No I go out of the house and talk to boys. My family lets me study and lets me do anything I want. Earlier they would say don’t go out of the house, don’t meet boys but now they don’t stop me.

They marry off young girls which is wrong. She should be allowed to study. K [change maker] explained all this to us. All this change has come about due to WE CAN and reading the books… we see in the neighbourhood that they are marrying her at a young age and they were stopped and the girls are being educated. All interviews across the board in Rajasthan have some reference to either preventing or not supporting child marriage. Most change makers who fall in the category of significant reporting of change have at least one story to share about how they have stopped child marriage. Given below is one such excerpt.

In the case of these sample villages of Rajasthan, the tipping point has been reached due to several different factors interacting with each other: A group of champion change makers working on the issue of violence actively. 18 of the 28 change makers sampled from these villages have shown significant deepening of change. In their narratives they have talked about actively reaching out to others especially their relatives who are also their neighbours and discussing the issue of violence with them.

A change maker, Gopal Ram has shared an example of drastic change. He along with other change makers created a forum which was so strong that even the local MLA commended their capabilities. One of the villagers was being forced to perform a large funeral feast (Mrityu Bhoj) by the caste panchayat. This function is often followed by mass child marriages. He was selling his land for this purpose.

Two local WE CAN volunteers Ghevar Ram and Pappu Ji are extremely active in the area and use every formal and informal interactions an opportunity to sensitise people on the issue of violence against women. In fact several people in change maker’s circle of influence have recalled of first hearing the issue of child marriage from Pappu and Ghevar.

The change maker and collective felt that this should not happen and he must not be made to sell his land. They landed up at the villager’s home to explain the matter to the caste panchayat. The caste panchayat threatened the change makers so they went to the sub division magistrate and gave him a petition.

Child marriage is a pain area for both men and women but is something they have never been able to question on their own. Practically every change maker’s narrative reveals shades of regret at having been married very young. Many of them have shared that child marriage is the one thing they wished would be different in their lives. Therefore community readiness for this issue has been high. People’s own exposure to the outside world is also showing them the prospect of a better life where the prospect of a better life where higher education means a better job. Exposure of urban areas where woman and girls have greater mobility has also been mentioned by some of the change makers as the reason for their changed outlook to women. It would seem that a combination of individual change and collective pressure has created a tipping point for the nonacceptance of child marriage. Individual stories of change makers and the people in their circle of influence have shades of more or less change but non-tolerance to child marriage and the importance of girl’s education seems to be emerging as a shared community value among the change makers and their circle of influence.

Conclusion Deepened change among several change makers in the area, the presence of champion change makers such as Pappu and Ghevar as well as a collective vision of not supporting child marriage may be contributing to creating a tipping point in this area.

Pappu, Ghevar and a group of active change makers are emerging as pressure groups in these villages. They have taken public stances by intervening in situation of domestic violence. The previous sections of the report have quoted several examples including the case of Gopal Ram above.

The police arrived and all child marriages in the area was stopped. Some of the change makers were ostracised but Gopal Ram feels happy that this happened because it created



We Can









en ce a gainst

Thanks to We Can Secretariats in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka for research coordination DESIGN THOUGHTSHOP FOUNDATION

Copyright © We Can Campaign, 2011 All rights reserved


Measuring Change  

Vol 2 of 4. This body of work was put together by different analysts as a part of the larger documentation, evaluation and learning processe...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you