Engaging Men and Boys

Engaging Men and Boys

by Radha Paudel
 A Experience of Action Works Nepal
Jan, 2016

AWON’s Overview:Action Works Nepal (AWON) is been working in holistic approach for rural transformation through series of actions around human right, peace building, combating gender based violence, Chhaupadi, education, health, livelihood, social business at local, national and global level by adopting an indigenous practice as leading strategy called Miteri Gau- Let’s Live Together Campaign. Currently, eight different projects are operating under the frame of holistic approach including post -earthquake support. The ranges of partners are involved from EU, UNDP, UNFPA, Government, Charity organizations in various settings though the individual, volunteers are the most important across globe. For details at website www.actionworksnepal.com
The Working areas: AWON is always involved where there is crisis or emergencies such as Karnali which is most stricken by poverty, a decade more conflict, epidemics, geographical hardship, politically marginalized. Likewise, the areas are extended where the passionate individuals and organizations ready to intervene and adopt the AWON’s approach such as earthquake affected areas, Madhes movement (a more than 5months prolong protest and boarder blockade).
 Reason behind Engage with Men and boys:
       1.    Learned from experience
·Women were beaten and scolded by their husbands while they back to home from group discussions
·  Women forbidden to join group discussions by their in laws
·   Women subject to Intimate Partner Violence
·Teachers, health workers, traditional healers, NGO workers stubborn to impose their traditional roles at the name of culture
·Women are working 18-20 hours in a day where as men are working 7 hours in a day
·Child marriage, Chhaupadi, Gender Based Violence is rampant even in the urban areas of the Jumla
      2. Learned from Research studies
  •  88 % Girls and women stayed at cowshed during menstruation, due to decision made by male members at home (AWON, 2013
  • The all forms of decisions made by male members even women subject to violence if she meet female friends without permission of husband by 35 % (AWON’s baseline report, 2014
  • · Only 1% women aware about the all forms of conditions of Safe Abortions in Jumla

3.     Organizational strengths
·Since beginning AWON is working with boys and men as strengths of AWON
·AWON is a member of Men Engagement Alliance at national level since 2011
·Board members are experience on it  
·Board member is recognised and certified as global resource person on engaging men and boys for accountability practice (EMAP) by International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Ways to Engage with men and boys
1.         At Implementation level (at field)
·Directly working with boys, men through fortnightly discussions at group level, discussed on Gender, SRHR, and Human right concerns facilitated by the group leaders (called Meet at AWON)
·Quarterly reflections and actions (at group leader’s Level for follow up and coaching)
·Strategic partnership with other INGO/NGOs for replication of same practices
·Collection of cases and identify or recognize the role model men by groups and felicitated locally. The men should submit the at least ten signature from their neighbourhood as evidence.
ü  Not following the chhaupadi practice
ü  Support women and girls by doing their traditional gender roles
ü  Encourage women and girls to involve in social work and assist and make aware about the SRHR
ü  Stand, speak against any forms of gender based violence
·Use felicitated men as resource person in other trainings and group discussion
·Interview aired via local radios, social media and national medias
·Engage with local level policy makers such as political leaders, school teachers, health workers, youth clubs etc.
·Incorporate the roles of men and boys is a cross cutting practices of AWON
2.    At National level (Policy Advocacy)
·Conduct a study at national level e.g. understanding masculinities at public transport 2011 (it is a first study and action in Nepal) 
·A member of National alliance of men engagement, contributed in various forms,
·Paper presentation at national symposium
·Published articles in national news papers
·Engaged in various advocacy activities on women’s right, VAW, peace building and human rights
·Also have virtual membership and contribution at global alliances
·Spoke at various national, local and international medias
3.    At Organizational Level
·Have men members in board, rejected many funding opportunities due to having men
·Recruit local men at field level intervention
·Have common understanding among all board members and program team on men engagement
Key Achievements by Engaging Men and Boys
  • ·       Increased clients specially on SHRH at local health care canters
  • ·       Increased clients in hotline counselling specially adolescents
  • ·       Four villages declared as cowshed free community in Jumla and Kalikot
  • ·       20 men has already recognized as role model men by community
  • ·       4 men are recognized as role model men at national levels
  • ·       Women’s leadership and decision is accepted at family and community level
  • ·       Women’s regularly attained the group discussions without any barriers from family
  • ·       Men engaged in non-traditional work such as cleansing house, cooking, taking care of children etc.

Challenges  
  • ·     Many feminist organization rejected proposals due to having men in structure and activities from South Asia level as well as global level
  • ·         Status quo (sometimes men leaders overtly exercise at the name of men engagement)
  • ·         Crossing the comfort zones is debatable among stakeholders and sometimes among team members
  • ·         Staff members got threaten by few groups or individuals
  • ·         Need more time, patience and resources for transformation or change

Way Forward
·         To be continued all ongoing initiatives because it such transformative process demands more resources in terms of time, funds and physical presence in field
·         Intensification and expansion of of activities,
·         Documentation and dissemination at various languages and levels

·         Explore more funding/ resources, partnership for engaging at strategic level as well as implementation level
Please watch this video  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mxf9aA97M8

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