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1. Subject matter/theme of the activity
The theme for the activity was “Induction and review training workshop for translated civic awareness materials.” The original English versions of the civic awareness materials were prepared by a legal expert capturing key themes and changes that were introduced in the 2017 new land law in Malawi regarding the administration and management of customary land. The workshop was therefore organised to ensure that the community civic educators are acquainted with the contents and language of the draft Chichewa version of civic awareness materials translated by a language expert so as to improve their understanding and utilisation of the civic materials in community awareness campaigns. In addition, the review process would add value towards the improvement and adaptation of the Chichewa language making the draft civic materials ready for printing. It was envisaged that once the materials are edited, finalised and printed, their utilisation in civic awareness campaigns by the civic educators would be significantly enhanced by how well the materials were understood by the end-users through this review process of the translated draft versions.
2. Rationale/significance within overall project context
The first project objective seeks to ensure that women are informed about their land ownership rights (both customary and statutory laws) and the possible means of legal redress and begin to demand these rights. With the introduction of the new land law in Malawi and just as the new law will be implemented soon, there is need to create broad-based civic awareness among the citizenry, especially women, widows, youth and traditional leaders about these new laws. The EWoH2 project in Malawi engaged a legal expert to systematically compile a simplified version of the new land law to be used as handbook for community civic educators. The two-day review and training workshop was therefore necessary to familiarize the translated Chichewa versions of the civic awareness materials to the community civic educators and create local ownership of the materials. The workshop was also designed to cater for capturing critical editorial comments and inputs from workshop participants towards the finalization of materials before they are printed. Participants were also asked to review, validate and adapt the contents of the draft Chichewa comic fliers, which have been extracted from the main themes of the translated civic awareness manual and the translated orientation material for customary land committees. This will ultimately contribute to the realization of the first project objective and overall project goal.
3. Intended outcome
Once printed, the revised Chichewa civic awareness manual will be utilized as the main tool by the community civic educators in civic awareness campaigns aimed at changing the mind-set of traditional leaders and entire communities towards promoting and protecting women’s access, ownership and control of land and its resources. The comic fliers will be distributed to participants during community awareness campaign activities. Similarly, the printed final version of the translated orientation material for customary land committees and its comic fliers will be utilized and handed-out during orientation workshops for traditional leaders. It is such information and knowledge that will transform the attitudes and behavior of entire local communities, shifting away from repugnant customary traditions and practices, towards compliance with the new statutory land law and regulations.
4. Workshop organisers and participants
The materials review workshop was fully financed by the KAS. The event was jointly organized by KAS and its cooperating partners: NASFAM and WoLREC in Zomba. Each project partner signed a memorandum agreement to collaborate with KAS on the project since 2016. Subsequent cooperation agreements are entered into between KAS and each partner for each project activity that is jointly implemented, including this training workshop.
The KAS partners were each asked to nominate 12-15 active community volunteers, who serve as community civic educators, paralegals or community facilitators for the EWoH2 project in Zomba. The same participants were also presented to KAS in 2017 for a similar workshop on project objectives and result-oriented activity planning and reporting. In total, 28 participants attended this induction training workshop: 20 women 8 men. Thus, the desired number of the target group was reached and participated effectively. The language expert consultant who translated the materials- Dr. Masauko Msiska was the main facilitator of the workshop, assisted by the KAS Programme Coordinator-Dr. Samson Lembani. The workshop programme blended power-point presentations by the consultant with group discussions and plenary flipchart presentations by the participants.
5. Sequence of activities and content summary
After the traditional opening prayers and introductory remarks on the first day, the KAS Programme Coordinator welcomed all participants and outlined the workshop objectives. He emphasized that it was imperative for participants to fully acquaint themselves with each of the seven topics covered by the Civic Awareness Materials for Community Facilitators, and the Orientation Material for Customary Land Committees, coupled with their respective comic fliers, in order for them to confidently, systematically and competently initiate their own civic awareness campaigns and satisfactorily respond to questions from community members during meetings where the KAS Programme Coordinator is not present.
Participants were therefore encouraged to diligently critique and scrutinize the draft translated Chichewa civic awareness materials and suggest improvements to ensure that the final printed versions shall be customized and end-user friendly. After presenting workshop objectives and an overview of the workshop programme, participants were asked to express their workshop expectations and share what they had been able to do alone in their villages on civic awareness without the presence of KAS.
The participants' expectations reflect that (a) participants considered this workshop to build on their 2017 capacity building training knowledge about the project, and (b) through this workshop, they hoped to have most questions on the subject to be clarified, for which they had no or vague answers, partly due to their limited English language competences, hence do not fully understand the English version of the civic awareness materials. In addition, it was discernible from their testimonies that after the April 2017 workshop, a number of participants had taken individual first steps to engage with their traditional leaders and their village community members and introduce the project and its objectives to them. The additional knowledge acquired from this induction and material review workshop would make them better equipped and more confident for regular civic engagements with their community members, taking advantage of any community gatherings and events.
Following the session on participants’ expectations and accomplishments, the consultant language expert –Dr. Masauko Msiska introduced the newly translated Chichewa civic awareness material, topic by topic using power-point presentation. Afterwards, participants were asked to make preliminary reflections and comments before they were split into four groups in which each group was to thoroughly review one or two topics- sentence by sentence, and where necessary, suggest for language and logic corrections. After the group discussions, each group presented their input in plenary while the other participants argued or confirmed what was being suggested in the presentations.
After lunch break, the afternoon session concentrated on the draft comic fliers for the civic awareness material. The comic flier essentially comprises topical highlights and corresponding graphics extracted from the main civic awareness material, which was reviewed during the morning session. After the consultant gave an overview of the text for the comic flier, participants went to the same groups to critique the draft comic flier, while noting aspects for improvement or reconstruction. The suggested changes were later presented in plenary for discussion and adoption. Through this process, both the draft civic awareness material and its draft comic flier were thoroughly reviewed and edited by the end of the first day of the workshop as planned.
On the second day, the approach in the workshop programme was similar to the one adopted on the first day, with the exception that the content being reviewed was now the draft Chichewa translated version for the Orientation Material for Customary Land Committees and its comic flier. After group review sessions and plenary presentations on the second day, the process was finalized and constructive comments were received on the orientation material for customary land committees and its comic flier. By the end of day two, the two translated Chichewa versions of the civic awareness manuals and their respective comic fliers were revised and made ready for final text and graphic editing before printing.
6. Workshop evaluation
During the closing session of the workshop, participants gave their oral evaluation feedback on the workshop programme, its contents, venue and other logistical arrangements. The overall assessment for the workshop programme and its contents confirmed that participants’ expectations were substantially met. Participants indicated that the workshop had afforded them an opportunity to enhance their understanding and knowledge about the translated civic awareness materials. With such new and improved understanding, they expressed confidence and readiness to conduct their community awareness campaigns. The KAS programme Coordinator also presented the draft monitoring and activity reporting form to the participants in response to their request for a standardized reporting template. As requested on the first day, some of the participants drafted their accomplishments and managed to give their hand-written reports before leaving the workshop venue.
The intended outcome of this induction training workshop would be observable after participants begin to submit their activity reports reflecting the quality and content of their improved understanding of the civic awareness manuals. Ongoing assessments will be made during periodic meetings with them during project activities to establish the extent to which the workshop contributed to their improved performance and engagement with their communities. Most importantly, their effective utilization of the printed Chichewa civic awareness material and its comic flier is expected in part to have been enhanced by this training workshop.
This capacity building training workshop was a vital investment towards an improved and effective delivery of civic awareness messages at community level through both the civic educators, traditional leaders and the weekly community radio programmes. Sustained and continuous civic awareness campaign was one of the key recommendations from the EWoH2 regional conference in February 2018. Once printed and distributed, the Chichewa versions of the civic awareness materials will lead to improved understanding of the new land law and help to initiate behavioral change among community members.