23 women from across Kerala successfully completed the Training of the Trainer (TTT) conducted by AMMACHI Labs, at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Amritapuri, Kerala from May 7 to May 19, 2012.
The TTT was a crucial first step towards the goal of empowering 3,000 women over the next year half with vocational training and LEE, an initiative, funded in part by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF). The courses will be provided in 18 training centres spread throughout Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Management and the daily functioning of the training centres will be the responsibility of facilitators – women from the community who exhibit leadership potential. While the facilitators are not expected to be experts in any particular vocation, they are however, responsible for motivating and maintaining an enthused batch of students towards the successful completion of a vocational training course.
Candidates for the facilitator position were initially identified by Amrita SREE. Given the unique nature of AMMACHI Labs' computerized vocational training program that also incorporates computerized life enrichment education (LEE) with the aim of tangibly empowering trainees to transform learned skills into a livelihood or income generating activity, the TTT was organized to prepare as well as narrow down the final selection of facilitator candidates.
Each day of training was action packed with coaching in soft skills geared towards building self-confidence, self esteem, team building, leadership, as well as how to facilitate group discussions, manage a classroom and the computer skills required to perform their duty as facilitator of a computerized vocational training program. The participants also received talks by experts in the areas of women's health, legal matters concerning women and family, gender equality and entrepreneurship. Candidates were accordingly evaluated on: attendance, punctuality, participation, initiative, team work, effort, confidence, attitude and competency (soft skills, classroom management and computer based skills).
While all of the participants demonstrated a passion and curiosity for exploration of what they could possibly achieve, reasons for applying for the position varied. Some participants attended the TTT because they saw the facilitator position as an opportunity to serve as a mentor to other women in the community. Some saw it as a chance to discover their true potential; and some, as a way to contribute to their family income.
The participants were challenged to step outside their comfort zone on a daily basis. The fact that 23 out of 26 women completed the training, is not only a testament of their resilience and dedication, but of the potential individuals can realize, given the opportunity. The successful completion of the TTT marked an achievement of the first milestone in the UNDEF Project.
*About Amrita SREE
Amrita SREE (Amrita Self Reliance Education and Employment) is a project of Embracing the World (ETW) and works to facilitate the formation of Self Help Groups (SHG) among women struggling economically.
Amrita SHGs are based upon a formula established by the Reserve Bank of India and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development. Program coordinators first identify each targeted community's particular needs, existing skills and resources before launching a phase of vocational training. Courses are selected from proposals and suggestions that emerge from the respective targeted communities and then offered at reputed vocational institutions. Finally, self-help co-ops are formed according to geographic proximity, each consisting of approximately 20 women. (Men who are family members of the women in the co-op are also eligible to receive vocational training). To date, over 5,000 women's self-help cooperatives have been established, each one 20 women strong.