Wednesday 4 December 2013


22nd - 23rd November 2013 - A report by Anwesha Ghosh (Gold Award holder)

A National Training Workshop, organized by NAA was held in La Martiniere for Girls, Kolkata, with 26 Award leaders from schools across Kolkata and two Award leaders from Mumbai. NAA was represented by Kapil Bhalla (National Director), Bivujit Mukhoty (Programme Manager), Chai Eng Dutta and Henry Simons (members, NTP). 

The NTW started with a session on partnership where the participants were familiarized with the various IAYP India partner organizations. We next went onto a session about the Introduction of the Award. Mr Bhalla drew our attention again to the facts that there is no anarchy within the Award Programme. He stressed on the fact that the Award is non-competitive in nature.

We went on to prepare the Award Shield. The shield includes messages from the Award leaders and is grouped as:
  1. What do you expect from the Award?
  2. What do you expect from the other NTW participants?
  3. What Award experience do you have?

Some of the participants highlighted their views. Mr Rupanjan Goswami from Blind Boys Academy said he wishes to enrich himself as a potential Award leader. Sudipta Bhaumik said her motto is to 'make global citizens of my students.'

Mr Mukhoty went on to further explain the philosophy. He said our job is not to say 'no' to the Awardees, instead we should say 'this is the way to go about doing the work.' Md. Zeeshan and Rohit Mallick from Emmanuel Ministries shared their experiences about how they overcame many challenges in life and are now standing tall and proud in front of us with assistance from the Award.

We went on to speak about involvement with the Award. 'It's a marathon.'' The Award is for personal development. The focus or target should be to progress in life. There should be some focused achievement. Mr Mukhoty said that we need to support the Bronze Awardees, encourage them. At Silver level we should let them take initiative and work. At Gold, we should give them full responsibility and treat them as adults.

Mr Mukhoty then conducted a session on 'Framework of the Award'. He explained the work each Awardee is expected to do in the four sessions- Physical Recreation, Skills, Service and Adventurous journey. He explained the nature of the Registration Form and use of the barcode. He also explained how each Awardee is to write the Diary for the sections. He said "Only positive remarks should be written in the Record Book.''

Some of the questions asked by the participants after the session are as follows:

1. Can the participant change the activity for any sessions?
Ans: Yes. They can. Change of activity is permitted only once.

2. How does the Award leader assess the activity for a participant?
Ans: Use your discretion. This is where the need for training comes in.

3. Is there any minimum time within which the activity for a session can be changed?
Ans: No

4. Will the work before change of the activity be considered?
Ans: Yes. Since the Awardee has put in sincere effort, the work will be considered.

5. Is break within the work allowed?
Ans: Yes. The Award is flexible. Awardees are allowed to take break during exams etc and continue working again beyond that.

6. Can the number of hours be counted instead of month?
Ans: No. Since we are focusing on progress, they have to work for the given time.
Consistency is important.

Session on Service- conducted by Chai Eng Dutta, member NTP
Activity: make groups of two. Blind-fold one member. The other member is now the escort. Let the escort lead the 'challenged person' through a specific route. On reaching a certain destination, reverse the role of the members. Let the new escort lead the other person back to the conference room. Now, share the experience of the 'blind-folded and open-eyed members.'

Some of the feelings as expressed by the participants included:

1. Sense of achievement
2. Accept our fears
3. Do the work and feel relieved
4. Learn to trust etc...

Next, the participants were arranged in groups and were asked to 'record one month's work in the skill section' and 'feel like an assessor and fill up the skill page in the Record book.' Each group was asked to present the Diary and Record book page. Mr Mukhoty clarified that the work should be recorded as 'I did this...'' in the diary. One cannot use 'we,' it is individual work. He also said that the diary should clearly show the work done by the Awardee- be specific about the work. Other advice given were:

1. Don't decorate the diary- it is not a project work.
2. Content is what is important. Fancy words and language is not needed.
3. Mention time of work like 'from 5pm-7pm' and not as 2 hours
4. Use 'work' not 'visit' like I worked at the old age home and not I visited the old age home.

Session on skills- Bivujit Mukhoty
Activity- take 5 mins and make anything you want out of the materials provided. 
The record book and diary was explained. The activity about writing the diary and record book was repeated for this session as well.

Session on Physical Recreation- Henry Simons
Activity: Make two groups of 12 each. Make a circle and hold hands. On whistle, move to your right in a circle. On whistle, move to your left in a circle. On whistle, form two lines and pass one ball to the person facing you. Keep passing the ball to and fro in the line.
The activity energized the participants. Some of the questions discussed were:

1. Why do we have to have physical recreation?
Ans: to stay fit, to have a health mind etc.

2. Why is it important to stay fit?
Ans: healthy mind, healthy body etc

Some of the feelings shared by the participants included 'had fun, bonded, positive energy, movement of body etc'

Henry said, 'when you have confidence, you can achieve anything. A heart of a volunteer can achieve much more than you can anticipate.'

The session with the Diary and Record book writing was repeated. 

Questions discussed included:

1. Can yoga be considered as a skill?
Ans: If it is performed to build up your muscles and physical stamina, it is physical recreation. If it is used to do medication, then it is skill.

S- specialization
K- knowledge
L- learning
L- livelihood

Mr Mukhoty advised to keep these points in mind while deciding for an activity in the skill section.

Adventurous Journey: Bivujit Mukhoty
The participants played 'Simon says.' Through the game, we understood that no one can force you to do anything, you have to take the initiative yourself. We also understood that it is important to have fun. Award is not a punishment.

The participants highlighted that through the Adventurous Journey, we achieve:
1. Independence
2. Discipline
3. Manners
4. Presence of mind.

All this together gives us a chance to 'know myself.'

Mr Mukhoty discussed the basic requirements of adventure. 
1. Food
2. Fire
3. Shelter

He explained that the practice journey can span out over different sets of time. But one has to take a qualifying journey same as that of practice. You cannot practice for exploration and go on an expedition as a qualifying journey.

Various other aspects like expedition planning, area choosing etc were also discussed. 

Day 2:

The second day was more about technical things. 

The sessions included brand packing, risk management, residential project etc.

We also discussed benefits of the Award, role of volunteer etc. 

Mr Bhalla then asked the participants to get organized within groups. He then discussed with them the qualities of an Award leader. The qualities highlighted included:

1. Available
2. Motivating
3. Open minded
4. Helpful etc

The workshop ended with handing over certificates and badges to the participants. Handbooks and presentation CDs were also given out. The Principal of La Martiniere for Girls, Kolkata and the Vice- Principal were also present for this event. Mr Bhalla extended a vote of thanks to the participants for their eagerness. The workshop was successful. All the participants felt that they are now at least more than 90% sure of their role as Award leaders and are now better trained.  click for pictures

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