MenEngage Africa Training Initiative (MATI)

Scaling-up and widening in scope the programmes and models already known to be effective in transforming pervasive gender inequalities within Africa

MATI-logo_3

There has been much resistance on the part of some women and women’s rights organisations to involving men in gender transformation and development work – driven by fears about the dilution of the feminist agenda, and by anxieties over the diversion of limited resources away from women’s empowerment initiatives and back into the hands of men. Yet not engaging with men and boys may limit the effectiveness of development interventions, and may intensify gender inequalities.  The Men Engage Africa Training Initiative thus provides an opportunity to train gender justice advocates to implement programmes that engage men and inspire gender justice activists to become active agents for the advancement of gender equality.

Through MATI, we seek to strengthen institutional and individual capacity for gender mainstreaming while providing the learning resources to ensure a critical mass of colleagues from the MenEngage Africa network and partners across the continent have adequate gender knowledge.

As an initiative of the MenEngage Africa network, and reflecting a commitment made by the global MenEngage Alliance to create a training/leadership initiative within several geographical regions, the MenEngage Africa Training Initiative was established to expand the skills and knowledge among female and male advocates, civil society practitioners, policy-makers and other stakeholders within Sub-Saharan Africa on engaging men and boys, and to build a regional network of future leaders and gender justice advocates.

MATI is a short, intensive, residential course which seeks to expand the skills and knowledge of women and men in the Sub-Saharan Africa region to scale up work on engaging men and boys in gender equality and build a network of leaders and gender justice advocates. In doing so, it strengthens existing work on the greater involvement of men and boys in the prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV and AIDS, fatherhood, child sexual exploitation and abuse, LGBTIQ+ rights and other issues on gender equality.

MATI has historically been organised in partnership with leading universities in Africa and globally. In the past, we have collaborated with the University of Cape Town, University of California, Wits University, University of Pretoria, Kenyatta University, University of Botswana and the University of Pretoria. MATI has been organised with university partners to provide an opportunity for community leaders to engage with academia and to acquire new skills and competencies to support the work they do in their respective communities.

Meet the Alumni

Florence Makgarapa

Florence Makgarapa manages gender equality, human rights and HIV & AIDS programmes for teh Alliance for a Healthier Generation in Francistown, Botswana.

Past MATI events

Click on the below events to view more:

The Inaugural Course

The first MenEngage Africa Training Initiative course, “Masculinities, Leadership and Gender Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa”, took place at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, from the 20th to the 30th of August 2012. It brought together 23 participants – 14 males and nine females) from 14 African countries. The participants came from countries covering the eastern, western and southern regions of Africa – Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The course content was delivered by global and regional experts and leaders in the fields of gender, human rights and social justice, for example, on topics such as “Why Engage Men?” and “Gender, Culture, Tradition and Religion.” Evaluations from the first course indicated that participants found the training very useful and it increased their knowledge and skills by 41%. This is a positive outcome demonstrating that the modules on the course were effective in transferring knowledge and skills to participants on how to work with men and boys for gender equality.

Target Audience

The course is intended for gender activists, programme staff and project managers from women’s rights, children’s rights, sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV and AIDS, and LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and inter-sexed) organisations, youth leaders, government officials, United Nations (UN) agency representatives, donors, academics and media advocates.

Who is Eligible?

The ideal candidate will:

  • Work in a field where they can influence gender justice and gender equality through their position within non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community-based organisations (CBOs), government, UN agencies, donors, academic institutions, faith-based organisations, juridical systems or other relevant organisations in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    Have a minimum of 3-5 years work experience in gender, advocacy, human rights, social justice and/or sexual and reproductive health and rights issues.
  • Demonstrate commitment and interest in strategies and programmes aimed at engaging men for gender equality within Sub-Saharan Africa.
    Have proven and demonstrable leadership experience/skills.
    Have a basic understanding of gender issues, particularly around gender justice.
  • Demonstrate an understanding, commitment and willingness to be part of an intense two-week residential course.
  • Have an innovative proposal for a ‘Project for Change’, to be implemented on completion of the course.
  • Have the support of their organisation for both participation in the course and implementation of their Project for Change (where applicable).
  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree in international relations, human rights, health rights, gender or other relevant fields (practical experience will be taken into account in lieu of an educational background).
  • Be fluent in English.
  • Have interest or experience in running training courses.

The MenEngage Africa network, Sonke Gender Justice and the Women’s Health Research Unit of the University of Cape Town (UCT) hosted the second MenEngage Africa Training Initiative course, “Masculinities, Leadership and Gender Justice in sub-Saharan Africa”, at UCT from 16-26 September 2013.

About the Course

“Masculinities, Leadership and Gender Justice in sub-Saharan Africa” is a short, intensive, two-week residential course which seeks to expand the skills and knowledge of women and men in the sub-Saharan Africa region to scale up work on engaging men and boys in gender equality, and to build a network of leaders and gender justice advocates. In so doing, it aims to strengthen existing work on the greater involvement of men and boys in the prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV and AIDS, fatherhood, LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and inter-sexed) people’s rights and other issues pertaining to gender equality.

The course incorporates a mix of thematic and skills-building sessions covering both theoretical and practical components as well as site visits and daily opportunities for self-reflection.

Thematic sessions address the aims mentioned above, while the skills-building sessions specifically address leadership (including youth leadership), organisational development, research methods, advocacy, resource mobilisation and monitoring and evaluation.

As part of the training, participants are expected to submit a ‘Project for Change’ proposal, which will be refined during the course and, most importantly, implemented within their respective organisations once the course is completed. The Project for Change is a project or programme that is applicable to engaging men for gender equality. It can focus on sexual and gender-based violence, HIV and AIDS, sexual and reproductive health or LGBTI rights to name a few potential thematic areas. It can be an existing project that requires expansion or strengthening, or a new initiative that must be implemented upon completion of the course. Through the implementation of the Project for Change, it is hoped that participants will be able to practically employ the additional skills and knowledge gained from this training.

To assist participants with the implementation of their Projects for Change, the course incorporates a six-month mentorship programme. This mentorship component is a critical aspect of the training as it seeks to provide participants with ongoing support and guidance as they implement their projects at the conclusion of the training. Participants can elect their own mentor or have one appointed for them. Ultimately, certification for the MenEngage Africa Training Initiative (MATI) will be based on satisfactory implementation of the Project for Change and thorough engagement in the Mentorship Programme.

The organisers trust that this course will contribute to the strengthening of both individual and organisational capacities.

Summary of the First Course

From 20-30 August 2012, the first MenEngage Africa Training Initiative course ‘Masculinities, Leadership and Gender Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa’ took place at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. It brought together 23 participants (14 males and 9 females) from 14 African countries (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe).

The course content was delivered by global and regional experts and leaders in the fields of gender, human rights and social justice, for example, on topics such as ‘Why Engage Men?’ and ‘Gender, Culture, Tradition and Religion.’ Evaluations from the first course indicated that participants found the training very useful and it increased their knowledge and skills by 41%. This is a positive outcome demonstrating that the modules on the course were effective in transferring knowledge and skills to participants on how to work with men and boys for gender equality.

Target Audience

The course is intended for gender activists, programme staff and project managers from women’s rights, children’s rights, sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV and AIDS, and LGBTI organisations, youth leaders, government officials, UN agency representatives, donors, academics and media advocates.

Who is Eligible?

The ideal candidate will:

  • Work in a field where they can influence gender justice and gender equality through their positions within non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community-based organisations (CBOs), government, UN agencies, donors, academic institutions, faith-based organisations, juridical systems or other relevant organisations in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Have a minimum of 3-5 years work experience in gender, advocacy, human rights, social justice and/or sexual and reproductive health and rights issues.
  • Demonstrate commitment and interest in strategies and programmes aimed at engaging men for gender equality within Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Have proven and demonstrable leadership experience/skills.
  • Have a basic understanding of gender issues, particularly around gender justice.
  • Demonstrate an understanding, commitment and willingness to be part of an intense ten day residential course.
  • Have an innovative proposal for a ‘Project for Change’, to be implemented on completion of the course.
  • Have the support of their organisation for both participation in the course and implementation of their Project for Change (where applicable).
  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree in international relations, human rights, health rights, gender or other relevant fields (practical experience will be taken into account in lieu of an educational background).
  • Be fluent in English.
  • Have interest or experience in running training courses.

From the 24th of February to the 5th of March 2014, Sonke Gender Justice (Sonke), the MenEngage Africa Network (MEA), the Women’s Health and Research Unit at the University of Cape Town, Steps and Witness hosted the third MenEngage Africa Training Initiative (MATI) training entitled ‘Media, Film and Gender Advocacy Workshop’ in Cape Town, South Africa. The first two MATI training courses; ‘Masculinities, Leadership and Gender Justice’ brought together individuals from government, UN agencies and civil society to increase their capacity to lead gender justice programmes that engage men as partners and agents of change. These were hugely successful with over 800 applications for participation received for both overall. For its third iteration, Sonke and partners decided to adapt the programme in order to focus on other key influencers that tend to be overlooked in trainings and workshops designed to increase knowledge and skills on gender and human rights. Thus, in 2014, filmmakers were invited to learn more about gender, human rights and public health with a special focus on men’s roles and responsibilities in relation to these key areas, thus, breaking new ground for the MenEngage Africa Training Initiative.

The main objective of the workshop was to facilitate the production of films for social change in the areas of gender justice, human rights and public health within the African continent in addition to increasing the skills and capacities of filmmakers working in the field of gender justice. A total of 26 amateur and professional filmmakers, media practitioners and activists from 12 African countries attended the workshop. Overall, participants found the workshop very useful. They received new information, the objectives were met and the workshop covered topics they wanted to know about.

Intensive Course on Women’s Health, Empowerment and Masculinities: Advocacy and Leadership Training
In September 2015, MenEngage Africa, Sonke Gender Justice and the University of California’s Centre of Expertise on Women’s Health Empowerment partnered together to offer the 2015 Women’s Health, Masculinities and Empowerment: Advocacy and Leadership Training course. The short course took place over two weeks from 1-16 September at Kenyatta University, in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, and it attracted 30 professionals, trainers and activists from the health, legal, research and human rights disciplines. Through interdisciplinary case studies and exercises, participants learned how to build women’s empowerment and gender norms transformation into health programmes and advocacy activities to maximise their effectiveness. All participants had a specific focus on advocating for improvements in women’s health, advancement and gender transformation.

While the importance of engaging men and boys in gender justice work has been widely recognised, most initiatives to engage them tend to be small-scale and short-term. In order to transform pervasive gender inequalities within Africa, a scaling-up and widening in scope of the programmes and models already known to be effective is imperative. The MenEngage Africa Training Initiative (MATI) provides an example of a programme designed to address this gap.

The vision for MATI is to build a dynamic, vocal and visible network of leaders and gender justice advocates that will drive the gender equality and human rights agenda on the African continent. The first step towards realising this vision is through the implementation of training courses that provide cutting-edge and up-to-date information on gender, public health and human rights in order to expand the knowledge and skills of activists in Africa. Since 2012, four highly successful training courses have been implemented and more are planned to take place in other parts of the continent up until 2018. Thus far, a total of seventy-five men and women have been trained from over twenty African countries.

To learn more about MATI, including the experiences of past participants, please read the MATI Overview Booklet.

We cannot over-emphasise the value and impact of the course on your personal and work life. Some of the participants in last year’s training, “Women’s Health, Masculinities and Empowerment: Advocacy and Leadership” share how the course has changed their outlook on life as well as influenced their work for significantly better outcomes.

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