Mentors participate in interactive sessions at the Intensive Mentor Training

From July 30 to 3rd August, seven mentors working in different communities all over Pune participated in a 5 day Intensive Mentor Training workshop. Subjects discussed at the workshop were suggested by the mentors themselves. These included: relationship between fathers and their sons, women and religion, reservations made for women in society, team building, research and development and basics of fundraising.

The sessions were conducted by external and internal resource persons. External resource persons included Mr. Bindumadhav Khire who spoke with the mentors about “Gendering of sexuality & Sexual identities & orientation; Ms. Kiran Moghe conducted a session on “Role of caste & religion in violence against women”, and Sushma Datar spoke elaborately about “Media & its impact”.

Mentors also presented their views on different topics like “Gender in liberalism, Gender in Eco feminism, Gender in Radical feminism” etc

Click here to see some of the pictures from the training week.

Mistakes made. Lessons learnt.

Will Muir speaks about the top three challenges of the quarter

It has been a great year for ECF so far. We have had our set of achievements and setbacks. You would have read about some of the highlights of the year in the current and the previous newsletter. In this conversation Will Muir, CEO of Equal Community Foundation talks about the top three challenges that ECF has faced in the last quarter.

Challenge 1: Raising money to pay for the leadership team.

It has not been easy to find people who will pay for a leadership team that develops our organisational strategy for scale and programmes.
The talent we look for is high calibre. During recruitment we are competing with national, multinational charities and also with private/corporate sector for these individuals. Costs associated with recruitment and retention of such talent is high. If we expect high quality performance against targets from these experienced professionals then we should also be willing to pay for it.
At some point during this year we were not paying all of our senior management and that has led to some very difficult decisions.
Luckily, we have managed to secure some money from an individual donor who is interested in funding part of the total senior management salary costs.
Also, we have been recently contacted by one of our current funders, who have created a fund for senior management talent having identified that funding for talent is a critical need within the sector. The timing couldn’t be better and we will soon initiate the application process.

Challenge 2: Recruitment for senior management positions.

Historically our senior management structure included the CEO with three Senior Managers focussing on Programmes, Partnerships and Administration respectively. We are now moving into a structure where we have a CEO and an Executive Director (ED) where the ED will look after the overall partnerships, programmes and administration. Also, there will be one more role that we are currently recruiting for, which is Programme Director. The Programme Director would report to the Executive Director. Based on our current plans and needs, we plan to pause the recruitment process for the senior manager positions within partnerships and administration. The current need is being met by managers in those areas.
The challenge has been in being innovative on how to recruit for these roles. Firstly, because there isn’t enough money to pay for these roles and secondly because there is a lack of talent out there. We’ve had to be creative about how we recruit for these people. Both in terms of what we are looking for and where we can find them. We’ve had to network through multiple channels to find people- we’ve gone through personal networks, social media and recruitment consultants as well as popular websites and portals.
Recruitment process for both roles is on.
It has taken time for us to develop the structure, identify and narrow down on requirements and identify individuals. It has been a time consuming process and has resulted in delays within two of programmes – Research and Development and Man Up India. But, it is an investment that will pay returns in near future and further strengthen our team.

Challenge 3: Securing permissions.

The issue we are going to now have is how we are going to finance the growth that ECF is looking to have in the coming months. Not from a lack of committed funding but mainly from a lack of accessibility to that funding. ECF is going to have great capacity and it’s our understanding that the work we are going to deliver over the next 6 months and the investments we are going to make in partnerships will give us access to people who will pledge finances. But, lack of permissions i.e.: 12A, 80G, FCRA will become an obstacle in access to those funds. ECF is a registered trust but we do not have the other permissions.
12 A and FCRA applications were made almost a year ago. We have heard no news regarding FCRA prior permission. However, there seems to be some progress made on 12A application and we expect to hear the decision anytime now. It takes up a lot of my personal time and also of our team members. It is frustrating as there is very little in our control. Also, time taken to get these permissions can be better focussed on some organisational and programme development.
We continue to follow up on a consistent basis and are seeking advice from the experts.

Man Up India : Three more corporates pledge to Man Up

Employees from Pune based firms, Niyuj Enterprise Software Solutions, TomTom India and Tech Mahindra enthusiastically took the first step forward in signing the pledge and becoming part of the solution. ManUpIndia events were conducted at the 3 different corporates on different days and at locations in their premises such as the common cafeteria or the office terrace.

The focus of the events has been to create awareness about 4 key facts :
• Violence and discrimination against women is unacceptable
• Men’s behaviour towards women is one of the root causes of violence and discrimination against women
• Raising men to be gender equitable is a crucial solution to this problem
• Each one of us has a role in raising men

ManUpIndia received an exhilarating response at TomTom, India as a part of TomTom’s Anti-Harassment Week and a particularly good participation at Tech Mahindra with over 120 employees signing the pledge to raise men to end violence and discrimination against women for good.

Special thanks to our the champions within these organisations, Manish Deshmukh from TomTom and Shailesh Rathod from Tech Mahindra for participating at these events and making them interactive.

            

If you or anyone you know, would like for such events to be organised at your corporate contact us at info@ecf.org.in

ECF’s very first Mentor Research Project

Anjana Goswami, Programme Manager, Action for Equality speaks about the latest venture that the ECF mentors have embarked upon – ECF’s very first Mentor Research Project.

Mentor research project

What is the Mentor Research Project?
Mentor Research Project is one of the four elements of the Action for Equality Monitoring and Evaluation framework. It is essentially a research project that will be designed, implemented and managed by the mentors. Findings from these research papers will inform the AfE programme design. They will also inform other organisations already doing similar work or looking into doing similar work.

Why did you decide to include this as part of the monitoring and evaluation framework?
The other elements within the M&E framework are: Monitoring data, behavior assessment tool that maps changes in men within the training session setting and outcome assessment interviews that map whether women witness any change in men. However, there are a lot of factors that affect whether attitude and behaviour change will occur in advocates. We also recognize that various stakeholders within the community, for example, peers, parents, key influential persons, video parlours, shopkeepers etc may be influencing this change. The mentor research project is our attempt to understand this.
The Mentor Research Project will us help to:
– Identify and record unexpected changes.
– Get all staff members involved in the process of assessment as often most significant information comes from the staff working at the grassroots.
– Build staff capacity to capture, analyse data and conceptualise a research project.
– Deliver a rich picture of what is happening, rather than an overly simplified picture where organisational, social and economic developments are reduced to a single number.
– Focus on learning from the past and the feedback stakeholders provide.

Why choose the mentors to conduct this research project?
As the primary people involved in delivering the AfE programme, the mentors have a a very strong understanding of the context our work and the communities; challenges men face.Theyknow exactly who to contact in order to get suitable answers to the questions that need to be answered in the research. This also becomes an opportunity to build the team’s capacity to capture, analyse data and conceptualise a research project.
Besides, for in depth information on research subjects a certain amount of acquaintance along with strong command over the local language becomes essential in order to get factual information. These factors contribute in making the research interviewees more comfortable thus helping to minimise logistical problems and thereby improving the quality of data that we gather.

What is the subject of the first Mentor Research Project?
The subject is ‘Why do young men attend our Alumni Programme?’ . This subject was chosen by the mentors themselves.

What are the other potential questions that you will investigate include in this exercise?
Some of the other questions we plan to understand are:
• Why do men attend AfE?
• Why do some men, and not others, continue onto the Alumni Programme?
• How does family environment effect attendance and attitude or behaviour change?
• What are the expectations of women from within the communities from the men who attend the programme?

Will these research papers be published for public viewing?
Yes. Since we aim to inform other organisations already doing similar work or looking into doing similar work the research papers will be published on the ECF website in the form of whitepapers.