In February, from the 12th through to the 14th, MenEngage DRC (COMEN) in partnership with UNFPA-DRC and HANGE NA SIDA, held a community mobilisation event at the Amani Festival, an annual cultural event hosted in the city of Goma, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The main objectives of the mobilisation event was to engage men and boys on positive paternity, non-violent action, positive masculinities and the promotion of sexual reproductive health.
We put up a stand that was a hit with festival-goers and it particularly attracted men to come interact and learn, with 337 279 men and boys as well as 58 women and girls visiting our stand over the three days.
Our objectives were in line with the spirit aim of the Amani festival, which aims to bring peace, reconciliation and change to the city of Goma, which has been the scene of armed conflict between rebels and government forces for two decades. Amani is a Swahili word that means peace.
Now in its third year, the festival has become a popular event for residents of the city of Goma and beyond. It brings together different tribes of the city to dance and sing for peace and has local and international musicians performing dance songs which encourage peace and a common sense of togetherness amongst different communities.