Cultivating men of quality who are not afraid of equality
By: Nakai Godfrey Nengomasha Padare /Enkundleni/
Men’s forum on gender (PADARE) is a movement of men advocating for gender justice in Zimbabwe that operates in rural, peri Urban, mining, farming and urban areas of Zimbabwe. PADARE programmes are highly interactive and are community driven through Chapters which are community structures formed to mobilise men and boys and conduct outreach work on Gender, Masculinities, Positive fatherhood, positive manhood, community leaders engagement for transformative masculinities, Men’s health, advocacy for policy change, Palliative care, male mobilisers for the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV and Community Home Based Care. A chapter then is a group of 50 or more men advocating for gender justice in a community using dynamic programming approaches that include communication and networking, workshops and training, institutional development, lobbying and advocacy within the framework of the social theory behaviour change models. Currently the organization has 85 Chapters in Zimbabwe and a membership of over 4250 men in the ten provinces of the country.
PADARE was started by 5 men in 1995 during the era of the Beijing platform of action when a lot of gender work was being done by women and these men felt they had to mobilise men and boys to play a supportive role in the emancipation of women in their communities through engaging men on alternative positive masculinities. The organisation responds to HIV, male violence on women, Gender based violence, domestic violence and negative masculinities through mobilising men and boys in gender sensitive environment using a human rights approach. PADARE took its name from the Dare/Enkundleni which was a traditional gathering place for community men to discuss community issues exclusive of women and children. The organisation took this name and created spaces where men can discuss about the role that men can take to contribute towards the emancipation of women as well as support men willing to uphold principles of gender equality. What has worked for PADARE is helping men to understand gender equality and equity principles through gender trainings that enable men and boys to deal with misconceptions that equality means role reversal (men becoming women and women become men).
Approaching men as facilitators of change in their communities as compared to oppressors that always violate women and girls through involving men and boys in community dialogues on gender and women’s empowerment issues has been a strategy that has been accepted by men and boys in different communities. As this strategy is being implemented PADARE will deliberately create safe spaces where men and boys are free to explore their fears and anxieties about gender equality. As most men are leaders in communities and also gatekeepers of cultural beliefs it is also important to engage them to challenge harmful cultural and religious practices that hinder them from embracing gender equality and promoting cultural and religious values of ubuntu/hunhu that recognise all people as deserving equal dignity because they are human. PADARE has provided practical interventions in community transformation by engaging and training male care facilitators that are working in communities as demonstration that men and boys can care for the sick and still remain men and showing and encouraging others to join in the important campaign of sharing the burden of care work with women and girls.
Men in PADARE also encourage behaviour change in issues of health, counselling, family involvement, spirituality, sex and values by conducting consistent research on knowledge, attitudes and beliefs that perpetuate harmful negative masculinities among men and boys and assisting in more targeted response to issues relating to masculinities among urban and rural male communities. Using contextualised messages developed by communities during community dialogues has worked in coming up with billboards, community commitment chatters and murals that challenge men to get knowledge for action. For more information about discussion forum topics, new programmes and how you can be part of a men’s movement for gender justice please visit our website on www.padare.org.zw, www.menofquality.org.zw or call our Harare headquarters office numbers +263 8644135 407 or visit us : Harare: 6 Winchester Road Belvedere 08644135407 Gweru Office: 1028 Leeds Street, Light Industry Cell: 0772606196 Bulawayo: 603 Charter House, Fort Street and Leopold Takawira Avenue Cell:0772 691 844