Agents of Change
Conducting leadership and gender sensitisation workshops is an important component in the Mewat project. In a community where traditional practices curtailing women are so entrenched, it can be quite challenging to even talk about women’s concerns. Our baseline study shows however that the younger generation is open to change and is aspiring for a better life. Hence working effectively with school children provides great potential for social change, if not in the short run, but in the future.
CEQUIN conducted its first Agents of Change Workshop at the Government Senior Secondary School, Sakras, Haryana. Experience has shown that it is critical to involve men and boys for change in mind set. Women’s leadership building can only be successful with the support of the men of the community. CEQUIN decided to build a supportive network through the boys in Mewat schools. Through workshops to achieve a change in mind set with the young generation of boys, it is hoped that they will serve as change agents and our volunteers in the future.
23 young boys in the age group of 16-18 years attended the two days workshop. The workshop included various sessions with group activities, role play, film screening, discussions as well as lectures. Over the two days, the students were encouraged to think out of the box through stimulating activities. Gender stereo types were effectively shattered and the students were encouraged to plunge into self-discovery and awareness about their social environment.
During an activity the boys were made to sight differences between boys and girls. Girls have a lot of responsibilities after school at home, like carrying the water for the whole family, fetch firewood and help their mothers. Boys just relax and play after school. This caused a stunning silence among the boys.
The workshop ended on a positive note, with the boys enthusiastically requesting for many more such activities.Despite the fact that these boys are socialised into a patriarchal way of thinking, they were responsive, eager to learn and open to new ideas.
After the success of the first workshop, 5 more workshops were conducted in different schools in Nagina and F.P. Jhirkha. Workshops were organised for both boys and girls in separate sessions. In average 20 boys or girls attended the workshops. In total 125 boys and girls participated.