Operation PeaceMaker is an innovative approach to ending domestic violence by harnessing the power of local women to become their own change agents.
What We Do
Operation PeaceMaker aims to reduce domestic violence in India through thousands of PeaceMakers who are trained in family and marriage counseling and all aspects of the Domestic Violence Act. Our innovative approach using local women has proven extremely successful in three main areas of Hyderabad and the city of Warangal, and is now being scaled to other communities including Hyderabad’s twin city Secunderabad.
What is a PeaceMaker?
A PeaceMaker is local woman who has been trained and equipped by Operation PeaceMaker to work in her community counseling, educating, and assisting victims of domestic violence. A PeaceMaker presents women with Choices that will allow them to live a life free from abuse.
Why a PeaceMaker?
Three out of every four women who are abused not only never seek help, but in fact rarely even speak to anyone about the abuse they are facing. Abuse is a taboo topic that brings up feelings of guilt and shame. A PeaceMaker is not a policeman, a magistrate, a foreign NGO worker, or even an involved relative. The PeaceMaker is a woman from the community: she is a sister, an aunty, a friend, a neighbor. She is someone who earns their trust and encourages victims to share their stories.
The PeaceMaker is the most effective option for reaching women and encouraging them to access help. In Indian society, there is a lack of awareness and misinformation regarding what constitutes domestic violence, the legalities surrounding domestic violence, and in many cases, the practicalities of mending a broken marriage. A PeaceMaker can lead women to answers and eventually to a positive outcome – most importantly, with the victim’s permission and support.
In the women we encounter, change in their lives must begin at home. It is here that sons learn to become abusers and daughters learn to accept abuse. It is inside the home where the seed of inequality is planted and grows to complete a cycle of oppression which has been flourishing for generations. Operation PeaceMaker aims to overturn this gender inequality rooted in centuries of patriarchy, but we will start simply by deploying PeaceMakers who work one-on-one, woman-to-woman to educate and equip violence survivors to live a life free from Abuse.
Making a PeaceMaker
Operation PeaceMaker has opened (and will continue to open) Training and Counselling Centres in strategically chosen areas of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, ones that are rife with domestic violence. Local Women enroll in the PeaceMaker Program after they undergo an initial screening process. Our PeaceMakers go through a 4-week Basic Training, followed by an 8-week Internship where they start actively working on domestic violence cases in their own communities. After successfully completing their training and Internship, they are hired by Operation PeaceMaker and receive the official title of “PeaceMaker.” This, however, is just the start of their journey as change agents. Every PeaceMaker is supported by a team of Counsellors and Legal Advocates committed not just to clients, but to the consistent up-skilling of our wonderful PeaceMakers.
4 Week Basic Training
One: Let’s Get Real
We train our PeaceMakers to identify the many types of abuse
Abuse is not a normal part of married life; there are no circumstances under which abuse is acceptable
Abuse is illegal
Abuse is not a woman’s rights issue; it is a human’s rights issue
Two: Counselling & Leadership Skills
PeaceMakers are trained to effectively communicate with, comfort, and educate both men and women caught in the cycle of abuse
Self-worth, Leadership, and how to become a Change Agent
Counseling skills with a focus on marriage counseling
Family Dispute Resolution skills
Three: Domestic Violence Act
PeaceMakers obtain a functional knowledge of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and the Rights, Protections, and Reliefs offered to Domestic Violence Survivors
Completing and submitting Domestic Incident Reports with the Magistrate
A focus on illegal yet common practices like child marriage and dowry that contribute to domestic violence
Dealing with Protection Officers and Police
The Operation PeaceMaker Centre provides PeaceMakers the support mechanisms required to make lasting change
Professional Family counsellors on staff to assist on PeaceMaker cases and offer guidance
Legal counsel on staff to assist PeaceMakers and where necessary, provide access to services she couldn’t otherwise utilize
Linking up with other Service Providers, e.g. Safe Homes, Medical Facilities, Employment Services
Internship & Graduation
During a PeaceMaker’s 8-week internship she begins working on her own domestic violence cases, implementing the 5 levels of intervention illustrated below:
Each level reduces the instances of domestic violence. Only at level 5, when the previous 4 levels of Intervention have failed, will the woman and her children be removed from the home. We train our PeaceMakers that the best outcome for any domestic violence case is that the violence simply stops. The first goal and best outcome is always to help perpetrators stop perpetrating violence and instead become loving husbands.
Our PeaceMaker Interns check in with a head counselor at the Centre twice weekly to monitor their progress and continue to do so after they are hired. Once a woman successfully completes her Internship, she is hired by Operation PeaceMaker and receives a monthly honorarium for her work. For many PeaceMakers this is the first salary she has ever received. Paying a salary reinforces for our PeaceMakers the value and necessity of the work they do.
Thousands of PeaceMakers
Each My Choices PeaceMaker training can accommodate between 40 and 100 women. We hold PeaceMaker trainings each year in order to increase the number of change agents our target communities, and to ensure that our Counselling Centres extend their reach and impact. Our goal at Operation PeaceMaker is to train and deploy thousands of PeaceMakers to transform lives, to transform communities, and to transform India.