Empowering Women living with or affected by HIV/AIDS (WLAHIV) through Property Ownership and Legal Literacy (POLL)
Since 2010, SAATHII has been implementing the EU-supported project, “Empowering Women living with or affected by HIV/AIDS (WLAHIV) through Property Ownership and Legal Literacy (POLL)”, in partnership with Positive Women Network (PWN+). The project helps WLAHIV attain legal literacy to learn about and to attain their rights- specifically around denial of property rights and addressing domestic violence. A group of 35 WLAHIV constitute the Women’s Rights Educators (WRE). This group has been trained in the areas of legal literacy and skills to network with communities and health and legal stakeholders. The POLL Project works towards empowering women living with or affected by HIV/AIDS in eight states of India – West Bengal, Odisha, Manipur, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Rajasthan.
In 2011, data from the Phase I mixed-methods baseline (four states: Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Manipur) were augmented with the Phase II baseline covering West Bengal, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Based on the enhanced data set of 702 women, it emerged that property ownership was statistically associated with lower prevalence of domestic violence (P< 0.005).
- Number of WLAHIV Reached through One-on-One Legal Literacy Outreach: 31,382
- Number of WLAHIV Reached through Group Legal Literacy Sessions: 54,876
- Number of MLHIV Reached Through Legal Literacy Lessons: 18,568
- Cases Identified by WREs: 1,016
- Number of Cases Referred to Formal or Informal Mechanisms: 385 (220 Property Disputes, 116 Domestic Violence, 49 Divorce/Alimony/Child Custody)
- Number of Cases Solved: 127 (49 Property Disputes, 55 Domestic Violence, 23 Divorce/Alimony/Child Custody)
Additionally, 9 WREs were empanelled by District Legal Services Authorities (DLSA) in Maharashtra, Odisha, and Andhra Pradesh as Paralegal Volunteers. One of the WREs was awarded “Best Paralegal Volunteer” by the DLSA in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh. Capacities of WLAHIV who were provided legal literacy and support by the WREs also increased: 24 women reported solving their problems without seeking legal assistance, simply by confronting their in-laws and quoting the relevant laws around inheritance they had acquired in the legal literacy sessions. State-level leaders of PWN+ from around the country were provided training on property rights and domestic violence.
Materials and publications have also been a part of the POLL Project. IEC materials were developed for use in legal literacy in Bengali, Telugu, Hindi, and Kannada, adding to materials already developed in other languages. Advanced materials on property rights were also developed in Tamil, Oriya, Marathi and Manipuri in 2011.
The EU project, in Year III, will continue providing legal literacy around domestic violence, property inheritance and maintenance; and recourse available; referrals to free legal aid, law enforcement and social welfare services. Collective advocacy actions on locally identified issues will continue together with coalition member organizations. Efforts to ensure sustainability will consist of capacity building to stakeholders to facilitate transitioning activities of legal referrals, and continue dispute resolution by formal and informal mechanisms.
- Positive Women Network
Chennai, Tamil Nadu