Joint Sonke, UNFPA and Athena Network Gender Transformative norms programming capacity building workshop

From 1 – 5 October 2012, Sonke and UNFPA jointly convened a capacity building workshop entitled ‘Gender Transformative Norms and Regional MenEngage Africa Meeting’ on work to engage men and boys in HIV, GBV and maternal mortality prevention, and the promotion of gender equality and sexual and reproductive health in Sub-Saharan Africa. This workshop was organized for MenEngage Africa partners from across the region, together with UNFPA Gender and Reproductive Health National Programme Officers.  This workshop was linked to the new UNFPA Strategic Plan that has a central focus on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights supported by population dynamics, gender equality and human rights in line with the country context and needs. During the same period, Sonke and the Athena Network convened a regional consultation meeting on the UNAIDS Agenda Framework for Accelerated Action for Women, Girls, Gender Equality and HIV and regional follow-up to the global consultations on integrating GBV and engaging men to advance gender equality through National Strategic Plans on HIV. The Framework commits to addressing HIV needs of women and girls and preventing violence against women, and recommends twenty-six strategic actions that countries can take to achieve this goal.

This joint workshop sought to build the capacity and understanding of participants on the gender transformative norms approach, and provide an opportunity to review and strengthen work to date within Africa on engaging men and boys. Results of this workshop were as follows:

  1. Strengthened capacity on comprehensive gender‐transformative programming in the region with a focus on cultural and social change techniques, including introducing participants to a range of relevant methodologies;
  2. Enhanced participants’ skills on how to adopt and integrate a gender‐transformative approach in their existing programmes and to new gender‐transformative interventions and plans for pilot activities in 2013;
  3. Increased sharing of experiences and enriched approaches to gender transformative programming in response to the focus of the new UNFPA Strategic Plan, and to support implementation of the UNFPA Africa Framework on Working with Men and Boys;
  4. Country networks updated on work within the region on engaging men, progress from the 2011 annual MenEngage Africa meeting, as well as new developments and research, reviewed;
  5. Strengthened links between UNFPA Country Offices and MenEngage Africa partners in different countries within the region.