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.