I even wash her clothes. Something I have never done before because it was not a thought and it simply was not a “manly” thing to do. The other day, we cooked chapati and beans together and ate it with my mother who was visiting and you know what…it tasted so good. My mother said nothing. She was probably shocked. However, to my surprise, the next day, she sent me to the shop. You may ask what is the importance of that. Well you see, in my culture, the younger siblings and most often, the girl in the family has to do these errands. Not the son and especially, not the eldest son. Yet, because my mother has seen change within me, she was comfortable enough to send me to the shop. It felt good. I have felt a release as a man and am open even to other work that only women are expected to do.
I now know that it is wrong to beat up women and for us to take out our frustrations on them. We are supposed to work together. I want to help other mean realise this too.
I see a difference in myself, in my family and now, even in my community as I share my change of thinking and actions. My change has impacted even my cousin who used to beat up his wife as well. Other people are already seeing the difference. People are noticing this and asking what is going on.
I want to continue sharing what I am learning. Already, together with other trained facilitators, we are spreading the message of #ARealManIs. It is important. We are real men and if people can see the change in me, then it is good. Thank you YMCA.
Andrew Mzerera (32), Kilifi YMCA volunteer and facilitator for #ARealManIs Masculinity programme
The Transformative Masculinity Programme is a UN Women funded project developed and implemented by the African Alliance of YMCAs. The project called #ARealManIs, is rolled out with coordinating partners Kenya and Zambia YMCA .The aim of the programme is to foster a positive male identity among boys and young men to be the solution and champion gender equality, eradicate violence against women and support education and peaceful socio-economic development with girls and women. This is achieved through capacity building training, awareness campaigns and community mobilisation to promote active citizenship with all key stakeholders.