Breakthrough is a global human rights organization working to make violence against women and girls unacceptable. Our mission is to prevent violence against women and girls by transforming the norms and cultures that enable it. We carry out this mission by building a critical mass of change agents worldwide — the Breakthrough Generation — whose bold collective action will deliver irreversible impact on the issue of our time. We create innovative, relevant multimedia campaigns, tools and programs that reach individuals and institutions where they are, inspiring and equipping them to build a world in which all people live with dignity, equality, and justice. With on ground programs challenging early marriage, gender-biased sex selection, sexual harassment, and more, our work enables a critical mass of change-makers to stand for human rights in their own spheres and beyond.
About This Cause
Breakthrough uses a five pronged strategy including leadership development, launching integrated online and offline campaigns, multi-media tools, monitoring & evaluation and strong partnerships with different stakeholders to achieve its goal.
Breakthrough has presence with projects in 5 states of India – Jharkhand, Bihar, U.P., Delhi and Haryana and works on four programs:
I. Promoting Safety & Security of Women
Under the umbrella of safety and security of women, Breakthrough programs cover both the aspects of safety – at home and in public spaces. Violence against women in India is widespread, under-reported and results in grave threat to the safety and security of women and girls. The two programmatic focus area’s are domestic violence and sexual harassment.
While violence against women (VAW) is a global pandemic, the horrific rape and murder of a young paramedical student has focused unprecedented attention on the treatment of Indian women and girls. The incident further graphically illustrated a deep-rooted problem – the intimidation, humiliation, harassment, abuse, and violence that shocking numbers of women and girls experience everyday. The incidence of violence is faced both in public spaces and in homes. According to India’s last National Family Health Survey, about 40% of women have experienced “pushing, slapping, hair pulling, punching, kicking, choking or burning” by their husbands. Behind this treatment are longstanding regressive cultural views – according to a 2011 ICRW study, 65% of Indian men believe there are times when women deserve to be beaten and 53% of women who believe its okay to be beaten. To realize permanent reductions in Violence against Women and Girls, attitudes like this must change.
Breakthrough’s Bell Bajao! campaign on domestic violence was launched in 2008 and asked men and boys to take a stand against domestic violence. It reached out to 130 million people in the country through a partnership with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India. The campaign has also been replicated in China, Pakistan, Vietnam and Canada.
II. Preventing Early Marriage
Breakthrough launched ‘Nation against Early Marriage’ - a national level campaign on Early Marriage with intensive community development and leadership training initiatives in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand in India. The demographics in these areas are high in cases of early marriage, consequent child bearing and other related issues. The project aims to bring about an improvement in girls agency; increased safety and security for them; an increase in the value of girls in society and reduce the stigma associated with delayed marriage, thereby ensuring access to resources such as health, education and income generation opportunities. The project seeks to address knowledge, attitudes and practice by delivering messages through a combination of three strategies – mass media, training individuals to become agents of change and mobilizing communities through interactive media and other local activities. We are using a randomized control trial design to develop an evidence based model for replication and scale.
III. Preventing Gender Biased Sex Selection (GBSS)
Breakthrough is working to build a community response system through effective communication around the issue of gender biased sex selection, focusing on context that creates the demand for sex selection rather than the consequence, which is the abortion itself. The need of the hour is to “empower” girls and women, work with communities to challenge traditional regressive social norms and promote worth and value for women and girls in order to bring about social and behavioral change with regards to son preference, daughter discrimination and sex selection. The program has elements of working with the community and a school based intervention of working with adolescents to bring about a change in attitudes towards gender discrimination.
The Mission Hazaar campaign to prevent gender-biased selection has been launched nationally and draws attention to the missing women and girls and their impact on society. The campaign has been adopted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India and launched under the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign, where the Ministry will be disseminating Breakthrough’s 2 TV spots over national television in 4 languages and the IEC materials in 12 Indian languages to stakeholders at the state and district levels.
IV. Adolescent Empowerment
Breakthrough is on a mission to reach out to adolescents across the country in an initiative to seed change early. The programme reaches over 543,000 adolescents in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Haryana where early marriage and crimes against women are rampant.
Forging alliances with parents, teachers, health-workers, government officials and entire communities, Breakthrough is working to improve the determinants of gender, health and education for both boys and girls.
A youth-club called ‘Taaron ki Toli’ has already been launched in hundreds of school campuses in North India to bring gender-equity into classrooms at an age when concepts of identity are still being formed. Boys and girls are learning to see life from both sides of the gender divide as they explore personality, personal aspiration and potential.
The programme evocatively calls out, ‘De Taali – banegi baat saath-saath’, asking people to support these young lives by helping them
>Create safe spaces in schools and within their own communities
>Gain confidence by acquiring life skills
>Discover opportunity through education
>Get access to healthcare services, irrespective of gender.
>Receive counselling on gender equity and reproductive rights
>Build an ecosystem in which adolescent voices are heard
The programme is geared to tackle the issue at three levels. At the level of society, the programme will address norms and cultural practices which prevent girls from achieving their full potential. At the institutional level, the work will be centered around the family and government to impact indicators such as level of education and access to health and nutrition. Further, at an individual level, Breakthrough seeks to works with young people to empower them to be able to make their own decisions and lead a full life.