Increasing community support

In the urban slum communities we work in, we use community centres for conducting our events. Often, we have to negotiate if any major festivals, events come up in the community. Wedding ceremony’s, local leader’s family birthdays and so on.

Recently, at Prem Nagar community, our mentor wasn’t informed that there was an engagement ceremony scheduled on the day of our event.  After a quick chat, the family agreed to delay the ceremony by two hours and let the mentors and advocates continue with the regular training event.

Similarly, often these community centres are being used by groups of elder men in the community to play cards, carrom clubs or just hang out. Many of these men often do not have a source of income, often depend on the money that their wives earn, incidences of being violent and discriminatory against women are also common.  These same groups have now changed their daily schedule for playing cards and are letting us use the community centres Shastri Nagar and Chaitraban communities. In fact, they encourage their own sons and adolescent men in the neighbourhood to attend the programme.

A few months ago the scenario was the opposite. These are small steps of success for us. This has been possible only because of the continuous interaction that programme mentors have with the community members.

ECF is identifying anecdotal evidence that communities, not just men we work with, but women and adult men too are making the AFE curriculum a priority and mobilising additional community resources, and redirecting them from other areas of interest or benefit to AFE programme activities. 

 

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BBG Pune Gala Ball in aid of ECF

The British Business Group Pune is pleased to announce the date for their 5th Charity Gala Ball.

Theme: A Royal Occasion

Date: Saturday 4th February, 2012

The proceeds from the ball will go to Equal Community Foundation.

Expect cocktails, delicious food and drinks, casino tables, live music and more!

Tickets will be on sale soon! Watch this space for more details

 

 

Steps in programme development

The pilot programme has evolved into a very sound programme.  We aim to make it a gold standard programme, which takes into account the potential to replicate, scale up the programme and deliver demonstrable evidence over a period of time. At ECF, we are honest about the fact that we have made mistakes but we take pride in the fact that we are learning from our mistakes and are coming up with innovative solutions.

Some of the key areas of programme development that we are working on are:

1. Better understanding of individual community characteristics and overall profile

We need better planning of the operations schedule, understanding the community’s way of life (priorities, holidays, festivals, concerns, etc.). If the programme is to be replicated in different communities across different geographical regions we must make the programme schedule flexible without letting the target number of events, men and women we work with get affected.

2. Improved curriculum

Though the curriculum modules developed by ECF are proving to be effective, there is scope for improvement based on the following points:

Developing the overall content and the examples in the modules to be more  relevant to adolescent men from urban slum communities

Developing the participatory elements of the modules 

Improving modules to ensure that they deliver the desired impact – behaviour change in men.

3. Improved monitoring and evaluation framework

At present, the tools we use to measure the behaviour change in men and how it affects the women in their lives are weak. We are in the process of strengthening the monitoring and evaluation strategy so as to be able to measure change not just in a man right after graduation but over a period of time (at least 1.5 years) and not just with women within families but in the wider community. 

 

Failure report

As we share with you the successes of the programme, we also would like to share with you some of its failures.

1. Absence of a long-term recruitment strategy 

At present the work we do is dependent on programme mentors who deliver the programme in communities. We faced major problems in operations when two of the programme mentors left or had to leave without notice. We recognise the fact that we must develop a recruitment strategy that allows us to have spare capacity in order to ensure smooth functioning of the programme.  Like any other organisation/business, it takes at least 1 programme cycle for a programme mentor to be able to confidently and aptly deliver the programme in the communities. At present, we conduct Intensive Mentor Training (IMT) Part 1 and 2 once a year as a part of the recruitment process. Though this selection process is good, we need to increase the frequency of conducting IMT to four times a year. We are currently studying and implementing a few employee retention techniques.

This will offer us the opportunity to identify, train and retain programme staff on a long-term basis without affecting programme operations.

2. Closure of Mumbai branches

After graduating 36 men from the four branches in Mumbai in the last curriculum cycle, we have decided to discontinue our work in Mumbai. This decision was made mainly because:

It wasn’t cost effective for us to run four branches in Mumbai with one Programme Mentor working in Mumbai and travelling to Pune every week for training and reporting. 

We were not able to provide inputs and support needed to run the programme. As a result we were not able to learn from those branches either.

Over the last 6 months, the team was working on the five-year strategy for the organisation and programme. As part of the plan, we will continue to focus on implementing the programme in 20 branches across Pune. We will run the programme outside Pune only in partnership with local community based organisation (CBO) and build their capacity to work with men to reduce violence and discrimination against women. So, the local CBO will implement the programme with our support.

So, even though the branches in Mumbai were performing well we had to take the decision of discontinuing operations.

 

47% women experience reduced violence or discrimination

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We interviewed 139 women across 16 communities in June 2011.  47% of the women we interviewed, who live with AFE advocates (advocates are men who are a part of the programme) directly reported to us a reduction in incidences of violence and discrimination at the hands of advocates. 

Our target is to improve this percentage by at least 10% in the next 12 months. 

We interview women through a bespoke tool that’s designed to monitor behaviour change in men (if any) under 10 categories:

1. Help in domestic chores

2. Action against violence

3. Emotional support

4. Health support

5. Education support

6. Civic support

7. Business support

8. Sexual violence (verbal)

9. Sexual violence (physical)

10. Aggressive behaviour (verbal)

11. Aggressive behaviour  (physical)

Details of the data collected have been represented in the diagram below. In this diagram, 51% of the women interviewed report an increase in men starting to help with domestic chores. This is one of the initial steps that demonstrate a start of behaviour change in men. But, in our assessment model we focus on frequency and intensity of action in each of the 10 categories. Positive change in one category alone does not qualify as significant change, so the percentage of women reporting a significant reduction in incidences of violence and discrimination at the hands of advocates is lesser – 47%.

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Note: In this diagram, the percentage refers to percentage of women reporting incidents of behaviour change in men. The data in the diagram has been derived from interviews conducted with 139 women in June 2011 across 16 communities.

We haven’t been able to get any information on incidents of sexual violence (physical and verbal). The monitoring and evaluation team is currently working on revising the assessment model to be able to get information on various degrees of violence and from women not just from within advocate’s family but also from outside their family.

 

 

 

Launch of new website

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new website www.ecf.org.in.  The new website is loaded with more information about the work we do and the way we do it. 

Look out for more details of the Action for Equality Programme, our Team and the impact of the programme.

We will soon be sharing the curriculum modules, innovative monitoring and evaluation tools and briefing papers on the website.

You will find that the following pages are under construction: M&E, Resources, Vacancies and Partners

Do visit the site and share it with others. We look forward to your feedback. Do mail us at at info@ecf.org.in.

New batch of graduates boost the graduate numbers to 356

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In the last week of September, 182 men graduated from the second cycle of the pilot programme – Action for Equality. For men to graduate from a programme cycle they have to participate in at least 60% of the events that include attending training sessions and them taking personal and collective action to support women in their communities. ECF delivered 100% of programme events to complete the second programme cycle.

This programme cycle ended with action events in every community.  The action events were designed to address the topic “violence as a public health issue”. 220 men across 24 communities demonstrated personal commitment to ending violence through their participation in the Action Events.

The men addressed this topic through the medium of a picture story called “Bai ajaari ka padte?” (Why does a woman fall ill?). The picture story depicted the fact that acts of violence and discrimination have serious short and long-term physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health problems for victims and lead to high social and economic costs. Some of the common health problems that women suffer from as a result of violence and discrimination are depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep difficulties, eating disorders, emotional distress, headaches, back pain, abdominal pain, poor overall health,  fatal and non-fatal injuries, limited access to healthcare facilities and so on. The objective of the activity was to start a dialogue about this topic amongst men and women in the community.

Due to the nature of the event and content, women got involved and identified with it as if it was their story being told. Women felt empowered by the information they received and the fact that the men from their community cared and were taking these small steps to reduce violence and discrimination against them. Our aim is to continue this dialogue through the ongoing Alumni Action Programme Events. 

The third programme cycle started on October 3. The momentum created by the action events and the Alumni Programme events, is helping the programme mentors in enrolling new men into the programme.  We are hoping to graduate 160 adolescent men from 16 communities in the third programme cycle which ends on January 25. Mentors are implementing and delivering the revised modules of the Action for Equality curriculum on field.  You will find the new AFE curriculum modules on our website very soon.