Building alternate and game-based framework to understand and support women working in and engaging with public spaces and institutions On Going

Area(s) of work: Gender

Duration: August 2022 – July 2025

Funder/ Partner: Ford Foundation

The objective of this project is to design a game-based research and outreach framework (otherwise referred to as the toolkit) that will help women working in public spaces to articulate their needs, establish pathways to collaborations and provide awareness so as to enable inclusion. In the South Asian context, rapid urbanisation, rising inequalities and the resulting lack of access to basic infrastructure has adversely impacted women working in public spaces such as street vendors, sanitation workers, sex workers, and ragpickers. Given women are not considered legitimate users of public spaces, they can often be an easy target for exploitation, discrimination, and gender violence. In order for us to understand and support women to engage and work productively within any public space, it is important to create safe spaces and platforms that can help women – regardless of language, caste, culture, and literacy –to come together to recognise and build networks for knowledge sharing and cooperation within the public space.

To this end, each of the tools within the toolkit will be designed to enhance four specific areas: (1) Enhancing awareness and understanding of laws and policies, (2) building strong pathways to access entitlements and public services, (3) developing knowledge about laws and policies, and (4) fostering networks across women’s groups. All of this will help in understanding the multiplicity of gender-based violence in public spaces and women’s participation with public spaces and institutions. By harnessing the power of games (such as the City Game) and other tools, the toolkit will provide the foundation for: (1) immersive and experiential learning, (2) identifying challenges faced, and (3) articulating stakeholder needs and requirements.

The toolkit is being developed in the context of two Indian cities – Bangalore and Mumbai – in the initial phase of the proposal with the help of grassroots organisations who work with sex workers, street vendors, sanitation workers and ragpickers. After the initial tools have been developed, the tools will be tested and expanded to other regions in Africa, through collaborations with organisations based in these regions.

Project Contact: Niveditha Menon