Reporting and documentation play vital roles in any sector including the development sector. Writing is one of the difficult skills to acquire. Improvisation in the writing is a long and persistent process. The importance of writing is not only disseminating information but safeguarding basic human rights if it is being violated. The writing also showcases one’s work, and supports resource mobilisation, and also facilitates in reviewing one’s performance whether it is for a project or individual.
The Manuski has been working in the field of Human Rights since its inception. Even Manuski has evolved after occurring the horrific incident of the Khairalanji caste atrocity. Therefore, Manuski has a team of DHRDs throughout Maharashtra under its DHRDNet Project. Our Defenders are from the Marginalised communities and working with the Dalit and Adivasi, other deprived communities including Minorities round the clock in the field to protect the rights of the depressed. Sometimes due to field perusal and spending a lot of time on the field, they would not focus or could not get sufficient time to work on some of the basic skills such as writing. With our own experience and after discussion with many seniors and colleagues, we have realised that the human rights defenders or any field staff engaging in the ground do quite a lot and excellent work, but unable to express and showcase the same through writings. Mainly they do busy with their fieldwork, and their inability to “write” makes the task more difficult when it comes to reporting and other documentation work. It eats lots of energy as well as time. They are good in their work but need to enable them to express the same in writing without consuming quite a lot of time. Moreover, most of our DHRDs struggle with legal and academic language but having rich knowledge on the Dalit Human Rights issues.
The training was organized by Manuski on 26th and 27th of June 2021 online through Zoom.
It was conducted for two days from 02.00 PM to 3.30 PM and 11.00 AM to 01.00 PM respective days, and participated by 40 to 44 Dalit Human Right Defenders (DHRDs) from Maharashtra, Madhya – Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Karnataka. DHRDs who participated in the training program were affiliated to movements/NGOs/Networks. The training was led by Mrs. Pradnya Jadhav who is a well-known women rights activist and writer from Aurangabad.
Mrs. Pradnya Jadhav is from Aurangabad, Maharashtra. She is the Co-Founder and Editor at Bhimachya Lekhanya, and currently working with Jan Sahas as Researcher. She is also pursuing her PhD at Jawahar Lal University, and her thesis topic is Land rights and marginalized.
Mrs. Pradnya conducted a two days training program on “Report Writing Workshop” for the DHRDs associated with Manuski and it was moderated by Ms. Prachi Salve, Resource Center Coordinator of the Manuski for first day and by Bhanu Bauddh for the second day. Bhanu Bauddh has also been working with Manuski for past few months.
Details of Training Program
The first session of training had begun with welcoming all the participants and then Mrs, Prachi Salve, Resource Center Coordinator, DHRDNet, had introduced the objectives of the training program. Then, she invited Mr. Bhanu Bauddh for the introduction of the instructor. Mr. Bhanu Bauddh has introduced the resource person, Mrs. Pradnya Jadhav. Afterward, Ms. Prachi had facilitated the participant again and asked the participants to introduce and handed over the session to Mrs. Pradnya. Mrs. Pradnya started the session with Points to be considered while writing a report. These points are good feelings/ thoughts about reporting, expectations, reflecting on the objectives, Audience, Writing Early, Process, etc. She added why report writing is crucial in the social work field and what are the components of report writings. Further, she asked about the expectations of report writing as per the reporting officer and whatever. As the session of the first day went on, she emphasized the objectives of the report and reflected a bit deeper on the same. Further, she mentioned while writing a report or a story or whatever, we should make sure about our Audience for whom we are writing a report. During the fact-finding, we do not have much time to write everything in detail, therefore one needs to take precise notes in less time during the fact-finding visit, she added. She further mentioned why does one needs to write their daily activities in 2-3 lines because at the end one would not miss anything, therefore writing early and each day is very significant while compiling all activities conducted by one. Further, she talked about the step by step of report writing and how one can include his or her experience in the same.
Later on, she talked about the components of the report writings in which she had mentioned five kinds of components, these are Activities performed, Accomplishment, Issues and Challenges, Future activities, and Case study. In the activities performed, she had mentioned the intervention or activities that have been undertaken by a social worker. In the second component of the report writing, she had mentioned the activities which had been accomplished within or after the given time framework. In the third component of the report writings, she talked about the difficulties and challenges faced by the social worker during the intervention, and how he or she solved the same, or sometimes, not. The next component of the report writing is to include the future activities in the report. It is not necessary to include the same if the same is shared separately, and depends on to whom the social worker is sharing the report. The last component of the report writing is the case study. The case study can be included at the end of the report or can be written separately in which the social worker writes in-depth about the single case and the organization’s intervention that how it helped or empowered the survivor or beneficiaries.
The second-day session has begun with getting Feedback and clarified the queries raised by participants of the day first. Afterward, Mrs. Pradnya Jadhav moved on to the second-day session about Fact-Finding and how it is conducted. In the session she explained the importance of Fact -finding and added that gathering information through Fact-Finding is one of the crucial tasks in any Human Rights violation case. But what are the major strategies to gather legally important information. Why is fact-finding required? What facts collect? And what are the Techniques of Fact-Finding. She explained 5 components which is requited while drafting fact-finding report. These 5 components are:
- 1. Examining documentation– Very important to examine case-related documents carefully and check out whether appropriate sanction is included or note. The Documents include FIR copy, medical report, etc.
- Interviewing– A social worker can interview and gather information from Police, Doctor, Survivor, and his/her family members, neighbors, people who are witnesses of the incidents, etc. She further added that the fact-finding must be conducted carefully because sometimes it leads to some kind of dispute with anyone during the FF.
- Observing– While conducting an interview, it is very important to observe the emotions of people with whom the social worker is conducting an interview. Even, he or she can observe whatever happening around the village and the survivor’s family, and so on. Are the survivor and her/his family are feeling comfortable while giving the details or are they feeling any kind of pressure – important to note down.
- Research –Mrs. Pradnya highlighted the significance of the research and how a fact-finding report can add value to the research. She shared that documentation and research play an important role in Policy level issues. Research is a long-term activity. Through research, the social worker seeks to gather information on the incident through other sources such as newspapers, etc she added.
- Questionnaires –She further shared types of questions that need to be asked by a social worker to survivors, victim family, witnesses, etc. She also explained the importance of the Questionnaire which is an important tool in gathering data and is a part of the research.
Mrs Pradnya also responded to the queries raised by the participants during and after the session. Then the second day’s session on report writing training concluded with feedback. It was a very informative and meaningful training for the DHRDs.
DHRDs actively participated in a two days online training program and also clarified their queries by raising various questions during the session. They also assured that henceforth they will try their level best to document their work effectively through their report. The Manuski team will assist DHRDs whenever required.