When it comes to bringing about a change, Join My Village believes in working inside out. We believe that our staff and service providers need to live the message they pass on to the community members; be it an encouraging new way of promoting education or becoming more gender sensitive. The work begins at home, here at JMV. JMV invests in its staff through trainings and reflective sessions to ensure personal changes that reflect in their professional tasks. The staff gets to attend capacity building sessions that are diverse and informational. They range from toy-making and technical training to promote quality education in KGBVs to gender sensitization and technical maternal and neo natal health training for maternal health program staff and service providers, JMV ensures that the team leads by example.
These trainings have had a profound impact on staff not just professionally but also personally.
At the toy training, the field staff each brought a toy that held significance in their life. For some it symbolized their struggle, for others it was part of a happy memory. The training provided a perfect platform to foster team spirit and commitment which was passed on to the children in the KGBVs, where it was implemented.
“The toys we made here like the paper windmill was something I used to play with as a kid. I never thought it could be used to teach science as well as team work to children. It’s not just professional expertise that we gain here, it’s personally rewarding too,” said Jeetendra, a field staff with the Girls Education Program (GEP).
Similar sentiments were echoed by Manish Trivedi who works with a partner NGO in maternal health and shared his transformation after attending these trainings and reflective sessions.“I come from a conservative male-dominated Brahmin family and was raised with a belief that men were superior to women. But the gender trainings changed my perception. I now contribute to the household chores with my wife who feels this is a tremendous change. Though she likes the changed me, she is having a hard time getting used to it,” he says. “How can we hope to bring a change in others unless we first change ourselves? JMV has helped us shed our inhibitions.”
In the girls’ leadership program, where there is no formal pattern to capacitate the girls or the team, every opportunity, be it a group meeting in the village or a team meeting in the office, is utilized by the staff to discuss small and big changes and learning from each other. The team spirit has built an excellent rapport between the JMV leadership coordinators and the girls. The staff’s personality reflects in the girls’ confidence in their groups.
A perfect example of this is Sarita, who works with girls’ groups in Bahraich. Her group is as confident and vivacious as Sarita herself.
“If I am unaware of the local constraints and am unable to adapt myself accordingly I will never be able to work with these girls. At the same time, I have to keep in mind the fact that I have to work with these girls to end these limitations. I have to strike a balance and to achieve this, the guidance at the trainings comes in handy,” says Sarita.
“From language to advocacy trainings, all are crucial for the project staff as you need to be adept in dealing with both the children as well as authorities. Besides aiding with work, the capacity building exercises have helped shape our personalities,” says Farida, an academic support coordinator for GEP.