The objective of Action for Equality Programme is to build the capacity of men to take personal and collective action to reduce violence and discrimination against women in their communities. In the programme, we work on preventing the adolescent men from developing discriminatory attitudes towards women or if they already have a discriminatory attitude then helping them change it for better. The programme focuses on going beyond attitude change and working on behaviour change in them. Through out the programme cycle our team of mentors coach the adolescent men through a process of behaviour change.

The programme is designed taking into consideration the stages in the process of behaviour change: Pre-contemplation –> Contemplation –>Determination –>Action –> Maintenance –> Termination. We recognise that this process is gradual and time taken by every individual to change varies.

The five stage approach on which the programme is based is given below. Marked in grey are the parts in which the programme is divided.

Afe_programme_-_5_stage_approach

1. Engage

We engage men in the programme through the medium of organizing film events in the community. We show popular family Hindi films to these men. The events are punctuated with social messages. AFE uses the medium of films to attract the men into our community centres. This is the time that mentors use to identify men who will be interested in enrolling for our programme. The mentors utilise this time to start a dialogue and work towards developing a rapport with the adolescent men and the community at large.

2. Enroll

At the film events, along with starting the dialogue we market the training as ‘livelihoods and personal development’ to enroll high proportions of peer groups. Mentors spend time in the communities to meet parents and gain their buy in.

3. Retain

We package the gender material within inconspicuous livelihood material to retain men’s interest. Mentors train men in peer groups to utilise inherent comradery and support. They act as role models. In this period the mentors deliver the specially designed curriculum. During the training events, the mentors understand in detail about the way the advocates think and behave. Mentors also utilise this time to gain trust with advocates and create a peer support group.

4. Facilitate 

During the training sessions, after being introduced to the new pattern of behaviour men start taking personal and collective action to support women in their families and communities. Men have to face many obstacles when they begin to change their behaviour. On the programme, we continue to graduate successive batches of men to provide an expanding group of graduates who support each other and garner support from the returning programme facilitator.

5. Maintain 

At graduation men take collective action to support women. We are aware that over time the frequency of these activities will drop, unless we provide AFE Graduates with continued “touch points”.  In order to reinforce and sustain the positive behaviour change in men, continued opportunities must be provided for them to practise the new found pattern of behaviour.

The Alumni Action Programme builds on this finding and provides opportunities for graduates to volunteer to develop, prepare and deliver interactive and multimedia community activities on the several issues to contributing towards ending violence and discrimination against women in their communities. This will enable us to build their capacity to continue this work in future even in absence of Equal Community Foundation.