Conflict Transformation and Peace Processes:
Utthan realizes that Politics of hatred and divisiveness is a major block to the process of empowerment, justice and progress of the vulnerable communities. Hence, any efforts to address these issues would require creating an enabling environment that would help access justice, peace and better quality of life.

Post 2002, Utthan initiated the above program on the inter-linkage of communal relations, gender relations and social justice using an inclusive approach to both the field activities as well as to the organisation itself. The program is following a 'learning approach', meaning it will evolve the program design as part of the process following the broad objectives and parameters. The program focuses on the conflict-ridden districts of Panchmahals and Dahod where it engages in empowerment of affected groups and restoring relationships between the communities. In addition, it works in the districts of Bhavnagar and Amreli where it aims at preventing the conflict from spreading to new areas. The strategies that have evolved in Panchmahals and Dahod are different from those being used in the Saurashtra region due to the context of the communal violence of 2002 and the resulting vulnerabilities of Muslim women, both as members of a minority community and as women. The concept of an institutionalized setup like the Nyay Samiti to deal with violence cases is slowly evolving here. Capacity building of leaders through paralegal trainings, feminist perspective on gender and VAW, strategies of working with men and youth, dealing with law-giving structures like the Police and Courts, sharing workshops with other Nyay Samitis to analyze interventions has been taken up.
Awareness Campaign for Men's sensitization towards Violence against Women
Recently the work has manifested in the establishment of Nyay Samitis
linked with Women's Federations in Bhavnagar and Rajula, as
quasi-legal structures providing women a space to talk about their problems and receive gender-sensitive assistance. The Nyay Samitis are open for visitors. The members also make field visits to raise awareness on VAW and the work of the Samiti, link up with the village women's groups and provide counselling support to victims and support them in bringing the issue of gender based violence from the private sphere of the family/household into the public domain.

When women bring their issues to the Nyay Samiti, they fill their registration forms, collect required documents and maintain the case and counselling registers. They work with lawyers to bring required cases to the Court. The Nyay Samitis are also attempting to establish referral links for victims of violence who need support for short stays etc. 12 cases in Bhavnagar and 20 cases in Rajula are being dealt with.
Advocacy as part of the Saurashtra Kutch network led to a State level consultation on the new Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 passed by the Government of India. Nyay Samiti members were a part of the regional meetings to understand the implications of the Act and brainstorm about the issues, which need to be brought before the Government for the efficient implementation of the Act. Local collective action is an important tool while working on the issue of VAW.
Activities taken up around this issue:
- 16-day campaign from 25th November 2004 (International day on Violence against Women) to the 10th December 2004 (International Human Rights Day
- Sammelan on Human Rights Day, in Mahuva, Amreli
- Survey on skewed sex ratios and Public Sammelan, Khambha
- Capacity building with youth
Following are Utthan's interventions on this aspect:
- Initiating and promoting processes to build bridges between the communities in conflict, through various dialogues and processes; sharing grief, and understanding the root causes of conflict.
- Engaging members from different communities around gender issues of livelihood security.
- Strengthening leadership, especially within Muslim women and youth, thereby encouraging them to actively & participate in the public domain.
- Building awareness amongst diverse communities about the vulnerabilities that could lead to division and conflict.
- Mainstreaming peace perspective in other programs and institutions in seemingly communally non-conflict areas from the context of diversity, responsible citizenship, interfaith dialogue as well as revisiting common inter-cultural practices and sacred places of common faith.
- Campaigning and mobilising against violence on women.