ECF conducted its periodic Intensive Mentor Training at the Forbes Marshall Welfare Centre in Kasarwadi from June 25 to 29, 2012. The training aimed to re-acquaint the AfE mentors with the concepts of violence and discrimination against women (VAW) and enhance their module delivery and facilitation skills. The number of participants in the training was 14, with 4 AfE mentors and 2 trainee mentors from ECF and 8 community health workers (CHWs) from Forbes Marshall.

Since the CHWs’ main work is on health, the training provided an introduction to the concept of violence and discrimination against women and its consequences on women’s health.

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The training modules were designed to build clarity on concepts like violence, discrimination, equity/equality, gender and patriarchy. Rupali Gupta and Ajim Inamdar from ECF and Meghana Marathe from Forbes Marshall facilitated the training through film and documentary screenings, games and discussions. ‘Umbartha’, a Marathi feature film on VaW; ‘India Untouched’, a documentary about untouchability; and an episode of ‘Satyamev Jayate’ on domestic violence were screened and discussed.

Other skill-enhancing modules such as facilitation skills to effectively deliver the AfE – Graduate and Alumni programmes, basic documentation, presentation, and computer skills were also included in the training.

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Pravin, a mentor, shared an important learning from this training: effective presentation. “I learnt not to argue about any issue unless I have evidence in the form of facts and figures. I need to question my own presumptions before making a statement, because often what we say actually comes from our internal conditioning and prejudices.”

For Sunil, another mentor, the module on HIV/AIDS and VAW by Meghana provided a new perspective. “I hadn’t thought about this before. Women are more prone to HIV due to men’s control over their sexuality and their secondary social status which provides limited access to healthcare. If they contract HIV, they are the ones who are blamed, even thrown out of the house and not given adequate care.”

The 5 day long training was also a break for the mentors who work mostly in the field. As Rahul puts it, “It was a relaxing and recharging time. We got to re-look at the concepts we deliver in our modules, and we got an opportunity to share and connect with the community health workers.”