On 13th December, half a dozen members showed up for an Auroville Peer Education Network (APEN) meeting. We gather to share how we perceive the network currently and how we would like to take it further.
Some shared a real desire to jump into action with those interested rather than implicating everyone in the network. It was agreed upon by all that the network can work as a feedback space or a support system for those in the network who wished to try things in line with APEN’s aims.
There was an acknowledgedment that many good initiatives were impulsed through APEN for example Informal First Aid Training, Love Discussions, Boundaries and Sex Ed Sessions with Sacred Groves Volunteers to name a few. The Auroville Peer Education Trainings (APET) were already taking a significant step in opening up a safe space by introducing topics and information on issues that are not usually introduced or dealt with in Auroville. After discussions and sharings, it was agreed that what attracted people to APET in the first place was the chance to know more about these taboo topics on sexual health, peer pressure, drugs, and so forth and not necessarily taking on responsibilities and self initiatives regarding these topics.
Juan Andreas, the head facilitator of APEN, explained how Peer Education is not a soft approach. It is especially difficult to reach out to a network that is at a phase where they have a hard time expressing themselves or taking initiatives. He offered himself therefore as as a resource person, providing his services on a need-basis.In the course of the meeting, it was decided upon that the responsibility of setting a direction to APEN could come from a "core team" of APEN. This is open to anyone from the network who would like to take initiatives in the name of APEN which others could attend, give feedback or participate in.
As the next tangible start, some members of the network offered to hold monthly Movie Nights ending with a facilitated discussion at YouthLink. A few topics were brainstormed like Marriage in the Indian context or Consent and it is now up to the APEN network to vote which ones interest them! We plan to start APEN Movie Nights on the last Thursday of January 2020 - hoping to catch some of you there!