More than half of the population in Nepal is made up of women. But their voices are not recognized and their roles are valueless due to social setting. Their situations differ from one ethnic/caste group to another. We are not able to learn from those women who are playing active roles in their families and also from the family whose male members take care of the children and help in the household chores. Therefore, positive deviance gender research is very important.
In Nepal, most of the women are not in a better position of health, food and decision making power. The Election Commission Report 1991 shows that the participation of women in political bodies is naught. The proportion of women in government administration is also very poor. The total literacy rate of Nepal is 66%. Out of total literates, only 37% women are literate.
Therefore, it is necessary to intervene with the gender education awareness program (GEAP) to uplift the women’s situation through the most advanced tool known as Positive Deviance .
What is Positive Deviance?
The term in general is used to describe a performance relating to decision-making, good health, education, especially where male members extend their help in the household chores. It is a tool to compare the performance of women from such households with other women in the community and family.
It is seen as a form of social, behavioral and physiological adaptability to gender. It refers to a few adequately non-discriminated women while majority of other women living in the same socio-economic status suffer discrimination. Prior to the study, it is necessary to identify such women in the community.
This study is believed to bring substantial positive results and thinking to change the attitudes and behavioral practices for a sustainable gender development program that encourages the community to improve the status of women in the long run.
To make the community members, particularly the women, aware of their roles.
To develop community’s ownership to this approach for the equal development of both men and women.
To encourage people to participate in GEAP to share their experiences.
The Target Group
The target group of the program is not only the women but also the men. The entry points of the program are selected household women from different communities.
The Positive Deviance Gender Research Program will be launched in selected wards of any VDC in Nepal, with different ethnic groups because the situation differs from one ethnic group to another. Therefore, to conduct this study a positive deviant family from a particular community has to be identified and used as a model family.
Any organization or the group can implement the program.
Phases of Positive Deviance Approach
The Positive Deviance approach consists of three phases:
Study of women’s situation
Gender Education Awareness Program (GEAP)
Impact study of women’s situation
The Positive Deviance study in the target communities will be completed before starting the GEAP. The study will help in identifying the socio-economic status and unique attitudinal and behavioral practices of the people within the community. The proposed study needs to be undertaken by the team with the local volunteers. Based on the study, the positive deviant families will be encouraged to continue the good work. Alternately, the families in which women are never involved in outside activities will be encouraged to come forward to speak and learn positive deviance through right and timely grooming practices.
In the community, a Positive Deviance study can be more effective and appropriate to make sustainable gender development by improving the practices to analyze their knowledge, attitude, behavior and practices towards the women’s development. Positive Deviance helps in implementing GEAP by analyzing the overall situation of the program area and facilitates the implementation of specific activities.
Gender Education Awareness Program (GEAP)
GEAP is a special awareness program that is developed based on positive deviant family. It is run for 10-15 days depending on the deviant family. It helps the women/men receive messages regarding decision-making power, women’s roles, status and their good health.
GEAP is in its second stage program. Before doing GEAP we need to complete the Positive Deviance Gender Research to identify the Positive Deviant families in the community.
Selection of three to four different ethnic groups
Organize workshop with grassroots level women from selected villages. This will enable to know the situation of women, problems faced by them and the ways to overcome them.
Discuss what is deviant family? What are the criteria for the gender deviant family?
After this, the study can be conducted in their houses through interviews with the women (mother-in-laws, daughter-in-laws, sister-in-laws, father, husband, daughter and sons).
The study will be made to assess their day-to-day role and appropriate food practices of women/girls, gender, caste, health, decision-making, education (girls) etc. After an overall situation analysis, the findings will be listed down in such a way so that they can be used to implement the GEAP in a sustainable way.
During the GEAP, husband and wife of positive deviant family are the main resources persons. But there will be one facilitator whose main role will be to support the facilitators.