The AAYMCA piloted the Transformative Masculinity Programme in Zimbabwe
Last week, I attended a workshop hosted by the Southern African AIDS Trust held in Harare on the topic of gender equality and female empowerment. The workshop gave me a great opportunity to learn more about the gender issues in the Zimbabwean context and discuss how to tackle these issues. The newfound knowledge gave me new impetus to continue the work related to the TM program and one of my goals for this year is to put focus on the issue of GBV. Last week’s workshop also gave me the opportunity to meet and connect to individuals, organisations and government bodies engaged on topics related to GBV, in addition to developing ideas on how to connect GBV to the transformative masculinity program and the work that we do in the YMCA.
According to the 2011 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey, 1 in 4 women reported that they had experienced sexual violence. This is a high number and it only covers one form of GBV as we also include physical violence, emotional/mental/psychosocial violence, economic violence and harmful practices as GBV. GBV is defined by the World Health Organisation as “all forms of violence which is a result of socially ascribed gender differences which is a result of gender inequalities”. The clear majority of those affected by GBV are girls and women, but also boys and men might be affected. I want to create awareness and behavioural change regarding GBV while I keep in mind how it is rooted in cultural beliefs, socialisation, power relations, economic power imbalances and the masculine idea of dominance. This is where the issues of gender-based violence and transformative masculinity meets and where cultural differences, challenges and learning develops. If you really want to change an issue, you have to go deep to find the root causes and find creative ways to change these root causes to create change.
Source: Marte Steiro, Norwegian YAC participant based in Harare, Zimbabwe