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BUILDING BONDS: Gender Sensitization with Delhi's Autorickshaw Drivers

Building Bonds for Gender Sensitization is a one-of-its-kind intervention with drivers of public transport vehicles aimed at enhancing safety in Delhi by engaging men in gender justice. The Building Bond trainings sensitize all commercial vehicle drivers including auto-rickshaw, taxi and bus drivers in gender justice and equity through interactive workshops. This act as a tipping point and will bring about a cultural change. The programme has successfully trained over 100,000 auto drivers and over 45000 taxi drivers. This has been possible with the support of Delhi State Transport Department, the Ford Foundation, Indraprastha Gas Limited, Maruti, and the Driving Training Institute, Ashok Leyland.

 

In a city where 80% women commuters opt for autos and taxis as their mode of public transport, taxi and auto drivers are critical to creating a safe transport experience. By engaging men involved in delivering everyday public transport, Building Bonds program fosters empathy and support; and bridges the gap between the drivers and the women in Delhi. This ensures that the drivers are actively involved in ensuring safety and respect for women.

 

Policy Impact

Manas has been a key participant in working with the Delhi State Transport Department in bringing a policy level impact. We have got in place a mandatory issuance for drivers to undergo gender-sensitization workshops prior to renewal/issuance of their fitness certificates.

 

Innovative, Behavior Change Module

Our innovative one hour, face-to-face training module is based on scientific psychological principals and employs pictures, storytelling, group discussions and experience-sharing methods. The training exhorts the participants to bring about a behavioral change in response to the cognitive dissonance that is intentionally created during the training. The training combines mental health with gender justice.

 

The Building Bond module provides training that generates Social Responsibility, Professional Behavior, Empathy and Care [SPEC-Approach] among the drivers. Through these internal changes and reinforcement of their importance with respect to creating an accessible and safe transport system for women, we aim to develop a sense of ownership among the drivers.

 

After Training Support

A unique feature of Building Bonds is the Auto-Sahara and Taxi-Sahara helpline, a medium by which auto and taxi drivers can ask questions and receive responses on gender sensitive behavior. This increases the possibility of a two-way dialogue on gender, and creates an ongoing engagement with the drivers. Drivers can call and share their concerns, peculiar situations and challenges that they may face that are gender-specific and are facilitated aptly.

 
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