Friday, June 17, 2011

Jodhpur Protection Officers Training

15 May 2011

In Jodhpur’s Jilaa district yesterday, Vikalp Sansthan in partnership with the Department of Women and Child Development held training for Protection Officers concerning the 2005 Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDA). The training, which was facilitated by Usha and Yogesh of Vikalp, had 40 attendees who were protection officers, advocates, police officers, judicial officials, media representatives, Mahila Suraksha Evan Salah Kendra counselors, social workers, and representatives from other NGOs working on this issue. During the training, there were four speakers who sat on a panel at different times to discuss the act and answer any questions the participants had. The speakers included Deputy Director of Women and Child Development, Secretary of Asha Botra Meera Sansthan, Up jila Parmukh Heera Lal Mundel, and Chief Justice Sri Mukesh.

The main topics discussed during this training were the parameters of PWDA, the roles and responsibilities of protection officers and other governmental officials under PWDA, and the process and timing of filing incident reports on behalf of victims in the courts. During the training a couple of other important issues were also raised. The first was that of having a shelter home for the women. Many of the attendees believed that a shelter home was needed for women who decided to take legal action, and were in need of a place to stay until there court case was decided. Other issues raised by the attendees were questions related to police responsibilities and duties under the act, and also how the judicial process worked.

At the end of workshop, all participants decided to create a committee in support of the shelter home proposal, and to also pressure officials at the district level and state level about the proposal. Another group of participants decided that they would conduct an analysis of all pending court cases under PWDA, and meet with the related judicial officials to discuss these cases. Lastly, the participants along with Vikalp Sansthan decided that they would advocate for the police to paste all Protection Officers’ names and numbers in all police stations, and create a pamphlet listing all Protection Officers’ names and numbers for distribution.

After the training’s conclusion, many participants expressed that the training was useful for them because they were able to ask questions about PWDA and their role as protection officers, and discuss the problems and challenges they have faced so far as public servants.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Protection Officer Training Jalore

Protection Officer's Training
Jalore 13 June 2011

Vikalp facilitated a training for Jalore’s protection officers on the 13th of June. 30 officers were in attendance. Protection Officers are government officials under the department of women and children. Their role, sanctioned by the 2005 Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDV), is to protect women from violence. The PWDV Act protects all women from physical, emotional, economic, verbal, or sexual familial abuse. The protection officer’s role is to manage cases of domestic violence on behalf of the women in a safe way. If a woman wants to report a case of domestic violence, she is to go to a protection officer. The officer is responsible for filing the DIR case and following through with the victim. The protection officer has a direct role with the judicial system, so the complications (financial and otherwise) of a lawyer are not needed under the PWDV Act.
In Jalore, most of the protection officers were not aware of their government responsibilities. They had received no prior education concerning how to properly file a domestic violence case in the courts or the details of the PWDV Act. Vikalp staff used a PowerPoint presentation to explain the framework of the law and the protection officers’ accompanying responsibilities. Vikalp also provided many orders and materials concerning the role of the protection officers to follow the PWDV Act.
Protection officers are a valuable asset to the safety of women. However, if they are not trained in their obligations to the law, then their role is essentially meaningless and women become at higher risk for violence. Vikalp’s training was extremely beneficial to the Jalore community: now the protection officers are aware of their duties and are able to execute the law in practice. The training ended with the understanding that if any of the protection officers had questions about their role or the PWDV Act they would not hesitate to contact Vikalp Sansthan for assistance.

Vikalp’s Violence-Free Conflict Resolution Training at Chittor

Vikalp’s Violence-Free Conflict Resolution Training at Chittor

May 21, 2011-May 23, 2011

For three days in Chittor, a forum on domestic violence against women and training on violence-free conflict resolution for males was held and facilitated by Vikalp staff. This discussion and training, which was held from May 21-23, had approximately thirty-five participants. The main goals of the training were to listen to the views and personal feelings of men regarding domestic violence, to discuss the impact of violence on women and society, and to develop solutions and techniques for anger management and violence-free conflict resolution.

Vikalp staff filled the three day training with many activities, exercises, and film screenings for the participants. Vikalp organized these activities seeking to make the men more aware of the effects of violence on women, and also the large degree of gender discrimination in society today. These activities called the men to not only consider the ways in which violence impacted their homes and society, but also to come up with solutions to end domestic violence and gender discrimination against women. At the conclusion of the three-day training, Vikalp staff asked the men to plan how they would deliver the message and ideas of the training back to their communities. Each man took a pledge that they would work to end child marriage in their own communities, create equality among males and females in their community, motivate other villagers to send their children to school, and work to sensitize the masses about female rights। The training in Chittor ended on a very high note. Not only were these men able to learn more about violence-free conflict resolution and the rights of girls and women, but they were also equipped with the tools to spread the message of equality and non-violence in their own communities.

Usha, training facilitator

Role play exercise during training

Role play exercise

Plate game exercise

Participants and training facilitators

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Vikalp Staff Workshop

Vikalp Sansthan staff members traveled to Mount Abu for a three-day workshop and retreat on the 13-15 of May. Its purpose was to develop group unity, review existing programs, create future plans, complete an annual evaluation, exchange ideas, and refresh the workers’ minds and attitudes. Over the three days, staff presented their specific department work (like Child marriage, We Can, Child line, Roshani Resource Center, Violence Free Zone, Aapani Dikari Ro Haq) watched several documentaries, shared personal stories, and participated in team-building games.

Staff members’ stories about their personal involvement with Vikalp and the founding of the organization touched many workers, deepening the meaning of their contributions to Vikalp. Department presentations allowed programs to be viewed with new eyes, as staff members questioned, critiqued, and applauded their colleagues’ work. Further, staff stepped beyond the typical PowerPoint presentation, and demonstrated their work in creative formats like skits. This cultural expression allowed Vikalp staff to perform a certain scenario and test out their corresponding support programs. Individual teams evaluated their strengths and weaknesses and made plans accordingly for the next year to improve their team performance. Staff also looked to the future, and expressed the dream for their work five and ten years from now.

Other than professional activities, the members participated in exercises to enhance group cohesiveness like a campfire, cultural activities, team-building games, and role-play. For example, staff played ‘tug-a-war’ to emphasize teamwork; they engaged in an airplane game in which staff wrote three qualities about themselves on a plane and if another colleague could identify the person based on the characteristics, they received points. Additionally, staff participated in a plate game in which staff wrote qualities they admired about their colleagues on their plates.

Through these activities, Vikalp staff expanded their program knowledge, obtained a greater understanding of Vikalp’s founding and structure,furthered professional relationships, and created a stronger work environment.

Kusam, Yogesh, Ridmal--The three first members of Vikalp.

Rope game

Team planning

Team building exercise

Balloon game

Plate game

Team presentation-Violence Free Zone

Usha addressing the group.

Dancing by the campfire.

Cultural dance

Group Picture

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Adolescent Girls' Camp

Jalore-19-20 May, 2011 and Jodhpur 29-30 May, 2011

Vikalp led a two-day camp for adolescent (kishori) girls on the rights of women, the importance of girls’ education, and stopping domestic violence (gharelu hinsa) in both Jodhpur and Jalore. 40 girls from seven villages united in Jalore to participate in this creative training session and another girls came to Jodhpur from ten villages in the Luni block district. Usha, the director of Vikalp, guided the girls in collaborative activities to voice their feelings and experiences. For example, each girl described her dream with the group and drew a picture of what she wanted to be in ten years. The drawing would hang on her wall at home as a reminder to pursue her education and speak out against violence in order to realize her dream. The girls watched a documentary and performed skits, as well as participating in numerous songs, dances, and games to help build confidence.

The group ended the camp by sharing their new knowledge, such as how to stop child marriage in the village, go to school irrespective of difficulties, or remain in a group while managing her own needs. The girls pledged to use these lessons when they returned to their respective villages, helping to promote equal gender norms and a violence free zone. The girls also took the responsibility upon themselves to promote girls’ education in their villages by traveling from home to home, spreading the important message to girls and parents to continue higher education.
Case study: Shobbha is from Bavabi village, and this was her second time participating in a Vikalp camp. In the first training she gained a lot of self-confidence, so she eagerly shared her experiences with the group. Her dream now, she explained, was to continue her education and become a social worker. She wanted to continue all the work that Vikalp does with women. The lessons and confident sense of self she gained from the workshop, allowed her to raise her voice at home when her father domestically abused her mother. She spoke out on behalf of her mother and helped her to safely find help.
Girls performing a skit on gender-related problems they face in their homes

Dancing and playing
Meditation on future dreams
“My name is mamta. My village name is Shikarpura. I want to be a doctor.”
Playing a game
“We all are ONE.”