The Women workshop
Based on the methodology and strategies we had defined, in September we initiated leadership training workshops for women, keeping the principles of the Charter as the core values of a democratic leadership.
To begin with, we held workshops for 250 literate and illiterate women belonging to various castes, religious and linguistic communities.
It was an edifying experience, though time consuming, for us as well as the participants both of whom enjoyed it. The reason the participants had some difficulty in communicating and understanding the Principles lay in the cultural contexts.
The reason for this is the incompatibility of a word in a language with the culture in which the language is used. For example, the word ‘right’ has an equivalent word in the textual regional languages; however, there is no word as such in their local cultures. Interestingly, these women connected the principles with many incidents that have happened and happening in their own lives and what they see outside.
The women were divided into various groups and each group was given one Principle to work on. They came out with many ideas and themselves simplified the Principles in their local languages. They were given crayons, sketch pens, papers to express what they felt ‘responsibility’ was. They expressed through drawings, through writing, through day-to-day incidents on paper what each principle meant to them.
Some women hadn’t even held a pen in their hands and they were not sure whether they would be able to draw, but the results ended beautifully each one sharing her experience of what she felt about the principle of the Charter while drawing and how relevant she felt it was in her life.
We were vindicated in our methodology by the appreciation of it by various working groups. This experience is also shared among other groups in other states too for the idea of promotion of the Charter in a simpler way.
Posters collected from these diverse groups will be used for developing the Charter and there is also the possibility of bringing out calendars.
Replication of the methodology
Now, people especially NGOs are trying to adapt the methodology.
Our experience of the workshop in October for the NGOs in Andhra Pradesh gave us further impetus. They have been using their own systems and they are now willing to try our method since they have found it is more participatory, more enthusiastic and more meaningful.