Monday, January 29, 2007

the shape of work

so, i recently realized, that i came here to work. like i have a job. that i have to go to most days of the week. even sundays sometimes.

but to be fair, people have a very humane approach to the work day in india, as in many other places in the world, i am sure. we work long days but there are leisurely lunches and regular breaks for tea and coffee. lots of public holidays and very flexible timings. and for me, the work is exciting. already i feel engaged in community level processes in a tangible way. people have been really eager to integrate me into activities and introduce me to their realities.

basically i am supporting one study that is on going on improving couple communication as a strategy for reducing gender based violence in the home. the basic intervention is a series of training modules focused on participants thinking about gender roles, masculinity, femininity, and questioning them. thinking critically about relationships and the kinds of connections they want to foster in their own lives. this work is happening with an NGO called SAKTI way on the outskirts of south bangalore in an area called Kanakapura.

the other project that i am going to be initiating during my time here, is also on gender based violence but more focused on community-based responses to the problem. so it entails working with community members, police, local women's groups and other organizations to begin mapping out the resources available in the area and exploring what kinds of structural responses might be effective in improving women's health adn safety. this project will be in collaboration with the primary health clinics in the Robertson road area, which is more in the heart of the city.

highlight so far i think was going to meet the police commissioner of bangalore with my boss yesterday. what a trip man, right out of bollywood. armed guards outside. big desk, phone ringing off the hook, random men sitting in chairs along one wall of the office. despite all this macho framing, he was actually really receptive to the idea and believes that it is an important issue to address....let's see where that goes.

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