The first step in the training involves engaging the participants in dialogue around leadership and why it is important for them as leaders to talk about these issues. The trainers talk about how these issues personally affect the participants, including the potentially negative consequences that can result from not talking about harmful and abusive behaviour in a proactive way. This discussion focuses on empowering the participants to understand and embrace their respective leadership roles within their sphere of influence and beyond. The program also illustrates the benefits of taking a pro-active stance in addressing these issues.
The participants are introduced to the philosophy and goals of MATE to help develop a richer understanding of what the program aims to achieve using a specific educational philosophy.
The MATE model utilises a bystander approach to prevention and intervention that empowers leaders to think more critically and personally about violence and harmful behaviour. We do not view participants as perpetrators or victims rather we view everyone as bystanders with the potential to positively influence a situation.
This enables participants to develop concrete options for intervention in the face of abusive behaviour.
MATE trainers lead the participants through scenario discussions on various topics to develop the critical decision making skills a bystander needs to address problematic behaviour. This is done in either single or mixed gender sessions. The single gender discussions allow for a more comfortable and realistic conversation, due to the fact that each gender experiences and confronts these issues differently due to gender dynamics. However, if there are a limited number of men, this may be done in a mixed gender group.
Brief clips from popular culture (film, television, music videos) are used to highlight issues raised in the previous discussion and to enable the participants to become critical consumers of popular culture and media images. It also demonstrates how media can be utilised to facilitate and enhance conversations about violence and harmful behaviour.
Each participant is then paired with one or two peers and assigned scenarios and/or Awareness Raising exercises to lead in front of their peer group. New scenarios are presented to further the awareness of violence and harmful behaviour, and to challenge the participants’ leadership qualities by placing them in more advanced situations where bystander behaviour must be positive and proactive, and to further illustrate that violence and harmful behaviour isn’t always blatant, overt, or physical.