High enrolment in AfE Graduate Programme bucks the trend

Latest figures from the field indicate that the number of men enroling into the 15 week Action for Equality (AfE) Graduate Programme are increasing, against our predictions. During the AfE Pilot’s 1st Cycle, starting in January 2011 we enroled 357 adolescent men into the graduate programme. In June 2011, during mobilisation for the Pilot’s 2nd Cycle we enrolled 427 men into the programme. An increase of about 20%.

As part of our risk management planning, the programme managers had identified that enrolment was likely to drop off as:

  1. We enroled the majority of men who are already sensitive to domestic violence and gender equality – the low hanging fruit if you like;
  2. Men became aware that our programme had ulterior motives, i.e. gender equality, and was not only the livlihoods and cinema events we were promoting;

However, as the numbers show, this has not been the case. Evidence from our field managers and from those who are enrolling suggest three important factors are counteracting those that we identified would reduce enrolment. These factors are:

  1. Peer Enrolment: Graduates are acting with new found confidence and demonstrating new skills; behavior that is attractive to their peers and who, with the graduates encouragement, are enrolling in the programme;
  2. Increased and improved community marketing: As we entered the 2nd cycle and started enrolment, we had been operational in all communities for a full seven months. However, as we mobilised for the 1st programme cycle we had only been marketing in the communities for one month. Additionally, the Alumni Programme was launched in 16 communities in June 2011. Having delivered over 20 high energy and public activities, graduates in each community are promorting the AfE programme to others. Thus has our marketing exposure increased significantly.
  3. Staff skills and knowledge: When our mentors (field staff) joined the team in November 2010, our recruitement process ensured that each of them had basic experience in commnunity training and a sincere belief in gender equality. Over the last 8 months, each mentor has gained 1800 hours of community engagement and in-the-field training with support from master trainers and managers. Each mentor has also received over 600 hours of classroom skills training and knowledge development to ensure that the interactions that they have in the community are of the highest quality. Evidence from the field demonstrates the direct link betweem the quality and level of mentor’s skills and knowledge and the enrolment levels. As their skills have increased, so has the value of the programme, and ultimately their ability to enrol new men.

We’ll be bringing you more interesting insights into our programme over the coming months. In the meantime, keep an eye out for our new website in September 2011!