Promoting Inclusivity and Gender Equality: ECF’s Decade-Long Journey



In a global landscape marked by ongoing gender disparities, we, as a team of Equal Community Foundation, are dedicated to tackling the underlying factors contributing to this enduring issue. When ECF first embarked on this journey, there were few organizations focusing on engaging boys in conversations about gender equality. However, we were determined to fill this gap and establish a strong mission to build gender-equitable boys. With a decade-long commitment to engaging with adolescent boys, ECF recognizes that every man can be part of the solution to gender inequality. 

The Action for Equality programme has had a profound impact on bridging the gender gap in perceptions through our longitudinal studies. Its progress in garnering community support stems from its thematic focus on Human Rights, Gender, Masculinities, Violence, Consent, and Healthy Relationships. ANTARANG’s initiatives are inspired by the AfE modules but are tailored to be more inclusive, reaching all genders and fostering critical thinking among participants.

At ECF, equality is not just a term; it’s a guiding principle that shapes our innovative programmes and initiatives. We understand that to achieve lasting change, we must challenge harmful traditional norms and behaviors that perpetuate inequality and violence. Through our community led interventions and intensive training with CBOs, we aim to create a more inclusive and equitable environment that benefits all members of society.

One of the core aspects of our approach is intersectionality, recognizing that gender intersects with various other aspects of identity such as race, class, sexuality, and more. By acknowledging and addressing these intersecting factors, we ensure that our programmes are inclusive and accessible to everyone. 


Rohit is a person with disabilities, having faced physical challenges since birth.He was introduced to ECF by some of his friends. While learning about the core topics of the AfE programme, his mother says, “my son does the household chores like sweeping, cleaning house, plucking veggies, and when parents are at work Rohit looks after his younger sibling as a responsibility”

Rohit’s goal is to become a Civil Engineer. He mentions the story behind setting this goal. Since Rohit was a kid he has been seeing his parents working as laborers at a construction site. He now started observing the efforts which they do. Keeping that in mind he decided that one day I will become a Civil Engineer and will change the type of employment which my past generations have been doing for many years.”

Rohit’s mother shares her thoughts that when Rohit started going to the ECF sessions, the sense of maturity was seen in him. She observed that Rohit started gaining self confidence and a smile of proudness always reflects on her face.

-Rohit Kamble and his mother, alumnus


Our flagship programme, Action for Equality, serves as the foundation of our work with men and boys. This programme engages participants in critical discussions and activities aimed at challenging traditional notions of masculinity and promoting gender equity. Over the past decade, we have seen a significant shift in attitudes among the boys we work with, indicating a growing awareness and commitment to gender equality. As our work progressed, we began to see interest from girls in our community towards our Action for Equality programme. This feedback prompted us to reevaluate our approach and include all genders in our initiatives.

Our new ongoing programme ANTARANG has been met with enthusiasm from participants, community stakeholders, and supporters alike. Through ANTARANG, we continue to promote inclusivity and gender equality, creating a space where everyone feels valued and respected.


“As a father, I’ve always envisioned a bright future filled with education and opportunities for my daughters. However, in our village, traditional beliefs hindered their path to education. I clearly remember my mother’s words, ‘They are girls; involve them in household work, no need for education.’ But I resisted this notion.

Driven by Prakash’s belief in an open-minded approach with no barriers in terms of clothing, choices, and equal rights for all, he made a crucial decision. “I left the village and settled in Pune to ensure my daughters received the education they deserved.”

He also added that “I have three daughters, and my state supports their aspirations and fosters a belief in education. I firmly stand for encouraging them to chase after their dreams without any limitations.”

– Prakash Dhindle, Participant’s father, ANTARANG Programme


As we approach International Women’s Day 2024, with the theme #InspireInclusion, ECF remains committed to spreading the message of inclusivity and treating all individuals equally and making sure all the participants get a “safe space”. Through our programmes ANTARANG, we strive to make a broader impact and inspire others to embrace diversity and inclusion in all aspects of life.


Meet Kritika, a 12-year-old girl who embarked on an exciting journey with the Antarang programme alongside her elder sister. When she starts talking about what she learned, her eyes light up with excitement. At first, she had no clue about human rights, but now she beams as she talks about treating everyone equally, irrespective of gender. 


One significant change in Kritika’s attitude is her understanding of the power of saying “NO.” She learned not to give way to peer pressure or any form of inequality or discrimination. She proudly shares her newfound skill with friends, encouraging them to adopt this attitude too. “Understanding boundaries and respecting consent is crucial for dignity and respect,” she says confidently.

Kritika Chitre, ANTARANG Programme’s participant


We are excited by the widespread support for ANTARANG’s inclusive programme across our communities, including from AfE alumni. They are becoming our advocates, inspiring other adolescents to join. This energizes us to enhance our activities and foster “critical thinking” skills for everyone.


Asha the parent of one of our alumni Aushtosh, who is one of the 6000 boys who have been a part of ECF journey. Through her involvement in the ECF classes and the Antarang programme, Asha has seen the positive changes in her elder son. Asha said, I believe in action over words” and it is evident as she actively spreads the message of gender equality and encourages other parents to involve their children in the ECF classes.


Asha’s commitment to volunteering for ECF classes and engaging with community stakeholders is a testament to her desire to bring about broader change in the community. She envisions a future where more children from her community can benefit from the Antarang programme and where gender equality becomes firmly established. 

Asha Santosh Kamble, Alumnus’s Mother


In summary, over the past decade, ECF has shown unwavering dedication to promoting inclusivity and gender equality through gender transformative approach. By challenging existing norms and engaging adolescents including community stakeholders in conversations about gender, we are laying the groundwork for a more inclusive and equitable society for everyone.



Urasmita Ghosh, Communications and Fundraising Associate, Equal Community Foundation