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May 2016

Workshop addressing violence against women and girls in conflict and post-conflict settings in Africa

In April, MenEngage Africa (MEA) partners in East Africa and faith-based community organisations held a two-day workshop in Kigali, Rwanda, on addressing sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls in conflict and post-conflict settings on the African continent. The workshop was held against the background that in countries that are in conflict, women are the worst affected by violence. They bear the brunt of it because when war comes, they often become targets of sexual violence, their husbands may be killed – leaving them without support – and they are, themselves, casualties of war. Women make up 80% of those who have to flee their homes.

Responding to conflict and sexual & gender-based violence in the Great Lakes Region

Following the workshop with our East African alliance partners and faith-based leaders in the region, MenEngage Africa and the Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre (RWAMREC), Secretariat of the MenEngage Rwanda network, hosted a high-level meeting to bring attention to the conflict areas of the Great Lakes region. The meeting comprised of representatives of the government of Rwanda, led by the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Ms Diana Gashumba, United Nations agencies, international and civil society organisations operating in the Great Lakes region and from across Africa to focus on the need for governments and civil society to work together to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence in the region.
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Ensuring menstruation does not prevent girls from attending school

In February, the Kenya MenEngage Alliance (KEMEA), its founding member, the Margaret Wanzuu Foundation, and another member of the alliance, Young Girls Empowerment Faith-Based Organisation (YGE-FBO), formed a partnership to provide sanitary towels and underwear to needy school girls in the slum areas of Mukuru, in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. Dubbed “Keeping slum girls in school – Ending the period of shame”, the programme aims to benefit 3 600 slum girls annually.

Shifting male gender norms with religious leaders

Through a seed grant he won during the 2015 Women’s Health, Masculinities and Empowerment training programme offered by MenEngage Africa Training Initiative (MATI), Elias Muindi, Programme Officer for Kenya MenEngage Alliance (KEMEA), collaborated with Pentecostal Evangelical Fellowship of Africa Church and the Kenya Network of Religious Leaders Living with HIV and AIDS (KENERELA) to sensitise religious leaders on the prevention of domestic violence, women’s empowerment and male involvement in issues of gender transformation.
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MenEngage Africa alliance manager attends African Women in Leadership Network forum

MenEngage Africa alliance manager, Itumeleng Komanyane, took part in the two-day African Women in Leadership Network (WILN) forum, which is supported by the Australian government. The forum was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in March, under the theme “Moving Forward: Women as Self and Workplace Leaders”, and Komanyane spoke in an expert panel addressing personal leadership experience as women leaders in the public and private sectors and in community development.
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Stories of Change: MATI 2015

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. Participants came from many parts of the African continent to learn from this initiative that aims to build a dynamic, vocal and visible network of leaders and gender justice advocates that will drive the gender equality and human rights agenda in Africa. Some of the participants, including Nyasha Sanie, pictured above, have written to us to tell us how the training has influenced their outlook on life and their work.

MenEngage DRC encourages healthy relations among couples

In March, MenEngage DRC and Congo Men’s Network (COMEN) hosted a session to reconcile estranged couples and couples grappling with getting along with each other, including men and boys who wanted to learn different and improved forms of masculinities. During the session, which was held in Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), men and boys discussed their opinions on: What is a real man?
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MenEngage Botswana’s Desmond Lungah selected for 2016 Yali Fellowship

Congratulations to Desmond Lungah, team leader of Men and Boys for Gender Equality (MBGE), the Secretariat of the MenEngage Africa Botswana network, for being selected to participate in the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders! The selection if a befitting recognition of his contribution to gender transformation and women’s empowerment, which has had a particular focus on engaging men and boys as partners and important agents of change.

Mabingwa “The Champions”

If you’ve ever wondered about the scope of MenEngage DRC’s work, then Mabingwa “The Champions” will tell you more about the network’s activities. It is a movie of change showing work done to promote gender equality, positive fatherhood and non-violence in the Democratic of Congo.

The True Story of Ghati and Rhobi

“The Story of Ghati and Rhobi” is a short animated film aimed at raising awareness of female genital mutilation (FGM). It tells the inspirational story of two girls, Ghati and Rhobi, resisting their community’s practice of FGM. They show courage by saying no to a practice that they heard would be painful and that some girls die from. With the help of community elders, they change the way their community treats a girl’s transition into womanhood by ending the practice. The video was developed by FORWARD and Animage Films, in partnership with Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF), the Secretariat for the MenEngage Africa network in Tanzania.