MenEngage Africa Symposium

icon MenEngage Africa Symposium: Strengthening Capacity of Civil Society and Government to Work with Men (239.27 kB)

Strengthening Capacity of Civil Society and Government to Work with Men and Boys on Gender-Based Violence and HIV
In partnership with Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), The Commonwealth Foundation, UNICEF East Africa and the Ford Foundation
Johannesburg, October 5th -9th, 2009

From Cape Town to Kivu to Cairo, from Abidjan to Antananarivo, men are implicated in health and human rights crises across Africa. Men are also essential for their successful resolution –whether it be stopping sexual violence in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo; accelerating demilitarisation and disarmament in Central and East Africa; preventing new HIV infections, expanding treatment and reducing the burden of AIDS care borne by women and girls across the entire continent; increasing men’s active involvement in the lives of their children; strengthening health systems or promoting a more active sense of citizenship aimed at holding government to account for their commitments.

A growing body of research has helped us to understand the origins and nature of the problems faced by the continent and the role of men and masculinities in these, as well as the opportunities and potential for change. For example, we now have evidence that well implemented gender transformative interventions can bring about significant changes in men’s gender and HIV related attitudes and practices. However, meaningful change at the societal level, requires civil society and government to work together to increase the scale and impact of these interventions. In other areas innovative new interventions are required.

Following on the success of the Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys in Achieving Gender Equality held earlier this year in Brazil, Sonke and the MenEngage Alliance are pleased to announce the MenEngage Africa Symposium to be held October 5th to 9th, 2009.

The symposium aims to strengthen the MenEngage Alliance across Africa and to forge partnerships between representatives from civil society, researchers, national governments, UN agencies and regional coordinating bodies such as the AU, SADC, EAC and ECOWAS, amongst others.

The Symposium will bring together activists, policy makers, service providers and researchers working on gender, HIV, health, development and human rights and will produce clear country and region specific plans of action.

The Symposium will include a range of presentations, skills building activities and work-plan development. Objectives of the meeting include:

  1. Developing shared vision of the need for work with men and boys in Africa and the policy, programming and action required
  2. Strengthening participants’ ability to implement multi-faceted approaches to working with men and boys on gender and AIDS
  3. Developing country and region-specific work-plans with clear, time-bound activities, outputs and outcomes
  4. Building and strengthening the MenEngage Alliance, the Pan-Commonwealth Civil Society Network on HIV/AIDS and the Commonwealth Women’s Network in Africa.

Confirmed speakers include: Elhadj As Sy, UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa; Gary Barker, International Center for Research on Women; Mbuyiselo Botha, Sonke Gender Justice Network; Rachel Jewkes, Medical Research Council, South Africa; Robert Morrell, University of KwaZulu-Natal; Anisha Rajapakse, Commonwealth Foundation; Warren Nyamugisira, the Commonwealth Foundation’s Civil Society Advisory Committee.

The Symposium and the activities that follow will be coordinated by Sonke Gender Justice in consultation with a steering committee comprised of key civil society organisations working on issues related to men and gender equality across Africa as well as representatives from the partners. These include Padare Enkudleni Men’s Forum (Zimbabwe), Men for Gender Equality Now (Kenya), Raising Voices (Uganda), the Rwanda Men’s Resource Center (RWAMREC), EngenderHealth Tanzania, Lifeline Namibia and Foro Mulher (Mozambique), the Commonwealth Foundation, and the Pan Commonwealth Civil Society Network on HIV and AIDS in Africa.

The symposium fee is US$500 with a reduced fee for organisations headquartered in the global south. Funding for scholarships is available to be determined by criteria established by the steering committee.

For more information please contact Orly Stern ( ) or Regis Mtutu ( ) or visit the symposium webpage at: and .

Sonke Gender Justice Network is a South African NGO working with men and boys across Africa to promote gender transformation, human rights and social justice.

MenEngage is a global alliance of NGOs and UN agencies that seeks to engage boys and men to achieve gender equality. Members include more than 400 NGOs from Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, Asia and Europe.

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