MAVA (Men Against Violence and Abuse) is India’s pioneering organization which comprises of sensitive young men of 18 to 25 years, fresh out of college and universities standing together to prevent gender-based violence against women. Having been mentored by the MAVA team on many gender and equality matters, these enthusiastic young men use out-of- the-box methods like interactive workshops, annual cultural magazines, street theatre, film-screenings, folk media, wall newspapers, special campaigns and social media, to educate thousands of people about women and other gender minorities’ rights. In the last 8 years, the programme has been upscaled to 9 districts in the Maharashtra state and to 3 new states in the last 2 years, promoting local collaborations and partnerships with universities and civil society bodies.

MAVA has been co-founded by Mr. Harish Sadani. In order to bring MAVA in the limelight and gather support for the cause this organization promotes, he has curated short films like Maida, Untying the Knot and My Mother’s Girlfriend which were screened at the SAHM ON SCREEN programme presented by ReelN Ltd in London. This two-day programme was held at SOAS University as a part of the official South Asian Heritage Month.

SamaBhav is a unique two day international film festival on Gender Diversity, travelling across the length and breadth of India. Three editions of travelling film festival have engaged directly over 8000 university and college youths, Civil Societies’ Bodies Members in 28 cities and 12 districts across India. Thousands of other young participants have joined through other social media. The films showcased at this non-ticked film festival are national and international short, feature and documentary films, covering a wide range of gender themes, from gender based discrimination against women to challenging toxic masculinity to LGBTQIA matters and intersectionality of genders. Facilitated discussions by gender rights activists, academicians and filmmakers are organised post screenings at all venues. Young men, women and non- binary individuals ventilate and interact freely on topics that are often tabooed. In view of all this, this is a ground breaking initiative. The fourth edition of SamaBhav has been going on since February 2022.

The SAHM events were free for all to attend and attracted a diverse audience, including international students who thoroughly enjoyed the programme. Harish Sadani interacted with the gathered participants, sharing his perspectives and insights on working among men to address gender-based violence and toxic masculinity..6 outstanding films on contemporary  gender matters – from gender-based violence against women to homophobia and transphobia were screened on the 2 days. The event turned out be a remarkable non-ticketed platform for all to discuss the tabooed topics of gender discrimination, violence against women and other minorities. A senior women’s rights activist from London exclaimed that issues like domestic violence and unmet sexual and reproductive health needs of young people are currently a serious human rights and public health issue, not just in India but even in the UK. Sadani adds, “Men have been seen as a part of the problem by many concerned. Unless, they are seen as a part of the solution by all concerned stakeholders, we will not be able to address the roots of the gender problem.” MAVA’s efforts to work focusedly on this through a travelling film festival and other out-of-the box methods is indeed commendable.

The International Film Festival will now be conducted and a screening of all the films will be held in Lucknow at Sangeet Natak Academy on 23rd and 24th July.