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Introduction to Parity Lab

  The first incubation application has been launched and is open until 23rd Sep 2021. Parity Lab is an incubator for organizations that work to prevent or address violence against women and girls. This is a short blog answering some important questions about the program.


What is our vision for Parity Lab?

One in three women faces violence in her lifetime. That’s more than one billion people around the world. Calls to helplines due to intimate partner violence increased five-fold in many countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It is impossible to find any group of colleagues, friends, or relatives where someone we know has not been traumatized by violence. The statistics are not just random numbers, they are personal.

Communities around the world have organized themselves to address this shadow pandemic. Be it through tech-enabled solutions or through grassroots mobilization, we have incredible women and men leading change on the ground to tackle violence.

However, focused support for these entrepreneurs does not exist. The few supports that do exist are not focused on violence prevention. Most organizations struggle to get access to business supports, connect with large networks or leverage data.

Parity Lab envisions co-creating a network where various solutions to tackle violence are nurtured: irrespective of their location, organizational structure (for-profit vs non-profit) and mode of communication. We need women’s safety solutions to scale and tackle the root causes of violence.

The research for what works to create systemic change is still led by researchers from developed economies. We need communities to lead their own research and tell their own stories about what works in their specific context.

After seven decades of independence in India, we cannot just close our eyes to this large-scale human rights violation and hope that our women and girls will remain safe.

Parity Lab is an intentional systemic intervention in that direction: it will support and mobilize people doing amazing work on-ground and creating true change. 

Who is an ideal applicant to Parity Lab?

We are extremely keen about organizations that are led by under-represented communities. We want to work with those who particularly have large structural barriers to access. Such barriers can include those caused by caste, class, language, and geographic location among many others.

For true gender equity to flourish, we need to change minds and hearts. Parity Lab believes that this change cannot be led by outsiders: it needs to be community-led.

We also believe that gender is an intersectional concept. This means that the experiences and oppressions that women face cannot be isolated by gender alone. They lie at the intersection of gender and other identities such as caste, sexuality, religion, and physical ability.

Our pilot incubation support is offered in English, Hindi and Tamil and we hope to scale our program in various local languages soon. Our ideal applicant will have a focused intervention towards violence prevention or redressal and will have moved beyond the pilot stage. This is particularly relevant for some of the supports we offer that include integrating data and process, measuring outcomes or grant/proposal writing workshops.

Parity Lab had partnered with Alsisar Impact for helping our incubated organizations build capacity for compliances. Hence, organizations that are not legally registered can avail of this support.

We are looking for individuals and organizations that are passionate about this cause and excited about learning. At Parity Lab, we are just getting started, our dreams are big, and our team is excited to work with you!

What can an incubated organization hope to get out this experience?

Support is offered across three pillars: Data; business; personal coaching. For example, if an organization is offering a program to engage men to prevent violence, data would be incredibly valuable to offer some insights. What is the outcome they want to achieve and how would they know they have achieved this outcome? Is the program showing positive results for everyone or only for certain communities? How could the data collection process be trauma-informed, simple, and people-centered?

Similar questions arise with organizational development around building a pitch deck, organizational capacity for compliances or budgeting. There are technical elements to each of these and larger value-centered elements as well around self-worth, space, and rights. 

The incubated organization will be fully involved in co-creating their agenda and curriculum for the 12-months that they are incubated with us. Each month will have a theme with soft check-ins. The small cohort of incubated organizations will convene together as a group virtually once per month. Offline work will be designed to continue the work within the organization, and these will be brought back to the group sessions for further reflection and support. There will be a one-on-one check-in every other week to understand progress, needs and areas of support.

Based on the specific needs of the organizations, experts will be convened, and workshops will be offered virtually. Possible topics include workshops on theory of change, compliance and regulations, networking sessions with other support organizations, and writing. 

What are the commitments expected from the incubated organization?

Parity Lab is very excited to work with the first cohort of incubated organizations and welcome them into the Parity Lab family. We expect the organizations to simply be excited about learning and applying new ideas. Since the sessions are virtual, digital connection is a necessity for video calls.

In terms of time commitment, we expect individuals to be able to devote 10-20 hours/month. This includes the group session with workshops, offline work with their team, individual conversations, and personal coaching. Because of the nature of work that we expect to do during the incubation, founders, or individuals with significant leadership role in their organization would be the best fit to apply.

What is the application process like?

It’s a two-step process. Step-1 is a simple online application form that can be filled in Tamil, English, or Hindi by choosing the appropriate language on the webpage.

Shortlisted organizations will be contacted for an interview between September 23 and October 15. For any queries, applicants can reach out to mathangi@paritylab.org and we would be happy to answer your questions. 

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