We consider capacity building programmes as the best way to disseminate information systematically and empower women. The process-oriented and participatory programmes help the participants to learn from each other and apply this in their life and workplace. We were keen in perspective building exercises and were working at the mindset changes of the individuals within NGOs, grassroots women groups and people’s movements. We have conducted several capacity building programmes and workshops in gender, leadership, engendered governance, gender, health and development and so on.
Gender as a concept and tool of analysis is used differently by different agencies. Sakhi is committed to enhancing the skills of gender trainers from women’s groups to bring in the right perspective and analytical skills. We have compiled all the tools and methodologies of the training programmes and developed a gender training manual in Malayalam in 3 volumes with 12 modules and 51 sessions. This widely used by various agencies
We also conducted 5 national-level two-week course on Gender, Health and Development from 2000-2005
Various training programmes were conducted in collaboration with or for various institutions and organisations-government and non-government like Institute of Management in Government (IMG); Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA); Mahila Samakya; Jananeethi, Thrissur; Maithri, Palghat; Maya, Thrissur; TRADA, Kottayam; KAIROS, Kannur; Anweshi, Kozhikode; Rasta, Wayanad; CRM, Kottayam; Inspirations, Kochi; and several other organisations and universities.
Systematic capacity building programmes are organised for women especially from rural areas to familiarize them with the thinking and understanding on gender and feminism. Over the years, large numbers of women have participated in these programmes and some of them later became elected members of local governments. This continues to be a very rewarding experience for Sakhi as they prefer to call themselves ‘Sakhis’. The presence of these women leaders enabled us to carry out many campaigns in villages to address cases of violence against women and girls and get ourselves very rooted in the local issues.
Sakhi along with three other resource centres in India, organised an online course on women’s rights. This was meant to upgrade skills of women activists, provide theoretical content on feminism and gender relations, enhance practical skills and promote networking of those concerned with women’s issues. The 6 months course had 4 segments. This was intended as a means to interlink the centres, and zones and individual feminists across the country.
‘This was intended as a means to interlink the centres, and zones and individual feminists across the country. At Sakhi we realised that this dream catcher of an online course helped us together and to thrash out our individual efforts / triumphs and sorrows; besides helping us to delve into major streams of feminist thoughts.’
Prema Nair - course coordinator
Sakhi did not set everything at the outset. We were evolving. Masculinities were not in our mind when we started. So as we evolved we started to work on this topic and include men and boys in our programmes.
Changing gender discrimination requires addressing men and understanding how masculinities are formed. Change is needed in mind sets and attitudes as well as socialization processes of both men and women. Hence we started to work with men to deconstruct the existing notions of maleness and power relations between the two. It meant including men in our discourses and processes of social change. In this process, several pro feminist men took the lead and conducted workshops and training sessions. In 2001, we conducted our first gender training programme for men. In the same year Sakhi opened the possibility for attempting to conduct gender sensitivity training for the male Panchayat members.
Workshops and seminars on several contemporary issues were held occasionally so as to update the knowledge and to facilitate the critical examination and refinement of perspectives wherever needed
One such important initiative was supporting the project “Women Shaping the Narrative in Media and Entertainment” an initiative of Women in Cinema Collective (WCC)”