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'It's a miracle': 'What Works' ending abuse against women in Tajikistan

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The 'What Works' Tajikistan Zindagii Shoista (Living with Dignity) project achievements have been profiled in an article on The Guardian (19 October 2018), and in a series of powerful images showcased on The Guardian's Women's rights & gender equality page.

The Zindagii Shoista project, conducted over 18 months, took a two-pronged approach. It offered relationship counselling for women, couples and extended family members, alongside training in setting up small businesses that would bring in some much needed cash.

The results of the pilot, published at the end of September 2018, have been astonishing. 

After 10 weekly group and individual counselling sessions and 10 weeks of skills training, followed up with mentoring from local mediators, levels of violence against women have almost halved – dropping from 64% to 34%. The percentage of men who said they were violent fell from 47% to 5%.

Family relationships have become more equitable and the mental wellbeing of both women and men has improved significantly. Suicide rates for women fell from 20% before the project to 9%. Among men, rates fell from from 10% to nil. Women’s earnings increased fourfold, and their savings tenfold. The proportion of women experiencing severe food shortages fell from 56% to 19%.

The article introduces Rano Mahmurodova who was violently abused by her husband for 22 years. Then the project changed everything. The change in behaviour of Rano Mahmurodova’s husband was nothing short of a “miracle”. Read the article here and see the series of images here.