Every 3 months, our team looks forward to the Intensive Mentor Training, a week of part-celebration, part-training. During this period, we assemble in office, put our critical thinking hats on and reflect on the last three months and our plans for the coming three. We ask ourselves two poignant questions: What have we learnt? How can we improve?
The recent Intensive Mentor Training was conducted in March, 2017. Here are a few highlights from the Intensive Mentor Training Programme:
- ECF Café, where the personal is political:
Our office terrace got a makeover and was turned into a cafe by the AfE team. On the menu was a variety of questions: about the team member’s personal struggles in a gender inequitable world. We discussed how we negotiate gender in personal lives, pressures and joys of fatherhood, being unmarried daughters, being working mothers and equitable partners, and so on. As we revealed our personal journeys we got a stark reminder that even though we work extensively in the field to prevent gender based violence and discrimination, we should never forget that our own personal lives are not free of gendered associations either. We collectively decided practise what we preach to our participants.
- Understanding the gender transformative approach:
ECF’s Programme Director Danit Shaham took a refresher session on the gender transformative approach. This session aimed to demystify what the approach exactly is and how ECF adopts it in every programmatic sphere. Foram Mehta, Programme Manager at ECF, says, “While working with men and boys on a gender transformative approach, I learnt that a transformative programme will aim at challenging the very roots of masculinity and the underlying patriarchal system in communities.”
- Demystifying Sexuality
Pune’s eminent LGBT activist and Director of the Samapathik Trust, Mr. Bindumadhav Khire interacted with our team about how does one prepare to facilitate a session on sex and sexuality with adolescent boys? Mr. Khire probed us to reflect on the following, “Apart from the facts, as an individual what do you feel when you handle the topic of sex and sexuality? Basic physical and emotional needs of the mentor and participants are the same. It is important to know what do you feel and build a healthy attitude towards sex.”
Programme Coordinator Pravin says, “In order to be better mentors, our team wanted to build better attitudes towards sex so that we can handle questions that come from adolescent boys. Through a Q&A format of dialogue, Bindu sir addressed our doubts very well and cleared quite a few misconceptions that the team had.