NGO Insights: Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA)

Dated : 16 June 2014
  1. Sector and Positioning:

In response to an appeal ‘Wanted men who believe wives are not for battering’ by journalist Mr C Y Gopinath in an Indian Express column, 30 people came forward for a meeting and continued to meet for a year. Finally, Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA) was registered in 1993 as a society. MAVA is the first men's organization in India that directly intervenes against gender-based violence on women.

MAVA feels that issues of violence and abuse are a consequence of unhealthy understanding between women and men and negative outlook of the latter. However, in India, traditional efforts concentrate on women empowerment to assert themselves and prevent violence. This approach detaches men from the process of transformation and keeps them rooted in the patriarchal mould. Patriarchy, apart from disadvantaging women, sets behavioural norms and responsibilities that deter men from expressing their fears, problems and vulnerabilities leading to issues of violence.

MAVA believes that expressing their emotions would make men less violent towards women. Hence, MAVA involves men as stakeholders in addressing gender based issues and sensitizes them at a young age. It strives to tackle the problem at its rootthrough counselling (telephonic and face-to-face), pre-marital and self-defence workshops, anger management seminars, and gender sensitisation programmes conducted by young male communicators for different target groups. ‘YUVA Maitri’, ‘YUVA Samvad’ and ‘Manush’ are the initiatives undertaken by MAVAand cover male youth in the age group of 18 to 20 yrs. MAVA uses innovative media such as interactive sessions, street plays, games, wall newspapers, talks and discussions by veterans in the field to reach the target beneficiaries.

  1. Financial Parameters:
  • Total income: The total income for year ending FY13 was Rs0.3mn, a significant drop of 22% from income of FY12 (Rs0.4mn). MAVA relied largely on sales and sponsorship income during FY10-FY13. The sale of annual magazine and advertisement space therein has been MAVA’s major source of income. Sales income accounted for 70% (Rs0.2mn) of total income in FY13 with CAGR of 23% during FY10-FY13.

MAVA’s second highest contributor during FY10-FY13 has been grant income, followed by donations. MAVA received grants from National Commission for Women, Swiss Aid India and Corporate Milestone Exim Pvt Ltd.

The available historical data exhibits an upsurge in grant income in FY11 and donations in FY12 which did not continue in FY13. The 22% fall in income FY13 can thus be attributed to the irregular funding inflows during FY10-FY13. (Refer Fig 1.).        

  • Programme expenses: Programme expenses accounted for Rs0.3mn or 81% of total expenses in FY13. The available data indicates that MAVA has effectively managed its programme costs as compared to NGOs listed with HYNGO in similar space (sector average: 71%). The expenses on direct programme activities include expenses for annual magazine project, helpline project, workshops and campaigns.

In FY13, MAVA collaborated with CYDA-Pune for a project on gender sensitization. The expenses for project salaries were met by CYDA-Pune and hence not reflected in MAVA’s books. This was largely the reason for the significant drop in salaries from Rs0.23mn in FY12 to Rs73,000 in FY13. These expenses include salary paid to project director, staff conducting workshops and writers for the magazine. The increase in direct programme expenses from Rs0.19mn in FY12 to Rs0.29mn in FY13 could be on account of gender sensitisation project. 

  • Overheads and travel expenses: Overheads ranged from 11% to 15% during FY10-FY13. MAVA’s overhead expenses mainly include rent and incentives for getting advertisements. In FY13, Rs67,000 or 15% of total expenses were incurred on overheads which were relatively in line with the sector average of 11%.

Travel expenses in FY13 were mainly on account of the gender sensitisation project. Since these expenses were met by CYDA-Pune, the travel expenses declined from Rs18,000 in FY12 to Rs2,000 in FY13. (Refer Fig 2.).

  • Fixed assets and cash bank: Fixed assets for MAVA mainly comprise of cupboards, office tables, computers and chairs. In FY13, Rs19,000 or 9% of total assets were invested in fixed assets and retained at the counselling centre. As confirmed by MAVA, no assets have been purchased for the last eight years.

In FY13, MAVA transferred the grant received from Swiss Aid India in FY12 to CYDA-Pune. The cash and bank balance thus reduced from Rs0.1mn in FY12 to Rs52,000 in FY13 exhibiting a drop of 63%.

  • Trust corpus and investments: In FY13, funds to the tune of Rs80,000 were set aside by MAVA towards trust corpus. These funds were invested in fixed deposits thereby ensuring regular interest income to MAVA. Investments accounted for 65% (Rs0.1mn) of total funds in FY13.


  • General funds: MAVA has cautiously set aside funds for general purpose. General funds stood at Rs94,000 in FY13 decreasing from Rs200,000 in FY12. This can be attributed to deficit witnessed by MAVA during FY12 and FY13.       
  1. Sustainability Parameters:
  • Income growth rate: MAVA posted a negative growth of 22% in FY13 as against an income growth of 1.2% in FY12. The significant drop in income is on account irregular funding as mentioned above. The income CAGR during FY10-FY13 was 23%.


  • Self-sufficiency ratio: The ratio measures ability of an organisation to meet expenses from its own funds and is calculated as a percentage of own funds against total expenses. Own funds include donations, sales and sponsorships and interest income. Self-sufficiency ratio fell to 60% in FY13 vs 70% in FY12 on account of fall in donations.


  • Sustenance: MAVA largely relies on income from advertisements and sale of its annual magazine, the major income contributors during FY10-FY13. There is lack of financial support from other sources restricting MAVA’s income range from Rs0.3mn to Rs0.4mn. According to MAVA, the absence of support is on account of the patriarchal attitude of society. Such an attitude disregards issues concerning men which indirectly are the root cause for violence and abuse against women.

The magazine includes short stories, first person accounts, interviews, poems, and media trends that voice sentiments of men. The magazine also covers a canvas of contemporary issues such as misuse of sex determination test, dowry, and men’s psyche. Through the magazine, MAVA aims to instil and encourage the process for changing societal mindset. The upward trend in sales during FY10-FY13 demonstrates MAVA’s progress on this front and helps to verify the level of confidence and acceptance MAVA has created in the minds of society.

  • Corpus fund to General fund ratio: There should be a healthy balance between funds set aside for corpus and general funds. A huge corpus would indicate unnecessary accumulation resulting in the NGO facing a shortage of day-to-day funding. On the other hand, low corpus would trigger insecurity about future. MAVA has managed to strike a balance by not reserving funds towards corpus but utilising them to absorb the deficits.
  1. Major Challenges:
  • No support: MAVA believes that unhealthy understanding and approach towards women are the root cause of issues. MAVA, thus, strives to fight violence against women by bringing about a change in the mindset of men which is a priority. However, expected support from women groups or society at large is a challenge. This is because the issues concerning men are considered to be of negligible importance by women organisations.


  • Limited resources: There are around 300 young boys volunteering for MAVA. Many are willing to lend a hand and work full time. However, negative approach of society towards the cause renders sourcing of funds a challenge. This in turn restricts MAVA from employing these dedicated youngsters.
  1. Governance & Reporting Standards:

MAVA has seven members on its committee. The decisions are taken jointly by the president and the treasurer. The members of the committee meet once in every two months. Elections for the committee are conducted every two years. Mr Sadani, the secretary of MAVA has completed his Masters in Social Work (MSW) from TISS. None of the members are related by birth or marriage.

MAVA is an associate member of Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy (CAP) and listed with GuideStar India.MAVA has awards such as Karamveer Puraskar (2010 & 2011), Maharashtra Foundation Award, Yaswantrao Chavan Yuva Puraskar and Ashoka changemakers award to its credit.

  1. Impact:
  • Reach: For the past 16 years, MAVA has provided face to face and telephonic counselling to over 5,000 men and women facing marital conflicts and other gender problems. MAVA has been approached by organisations such as NABARD, Apnalaya, and Watershed Organisation Trust across Maharashtra to conduct need based gender sensitization programmes. It has also managed to earn support of media and creative professionals. Through its magazine ‘Purush Spandana’, MAVA has managed to emphasize the need to focus on issues of men for empowerment of men.
  1. Scope for improvement:
  • Improving donor base: Mr Sadani has been invited for international programmes hosted by US Department of State, International Herald Tribune and Thomson Reuters Foundation, UK. He has also been invited by Maharashtra Times (a Marathi newspaper) to speak at a public symposium and as a speaker at a panel discussion organised at a state level conference. MAVA presented a paper on ‘Tools for Engaging Youth to prevent gender based violence on Women’ at a national symposium organised by SNEHA.

These accolades serve as stepping stone to MAVA’s success. However, despite the appreciation enjoyed by MAVA, it has not yet succeeded in tapping the all available sources of income. MAVA should therefore concentrate some of its efforts on earning funds from sources such as government and non-government funding agencies. 

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