Ethiopia

MenEngage Ethiopia

Ethiopia is the second-most populous African country with more than 82 million inhabitants and it’s tenth-largest by area at more than 1,100,000km2. It is the largest landlocked country in the world and one of the oldest known sites of humanity. It may be the region from which Homo sapiens first departed for the Middle East and beyond.

Network Coordinators: EngenderHealth Ethiopia & Population Council

Purpose of activities at country level

To collectively share the efforts, best practices, and resources of organizations and individuals to promote the constructive involvement of men and boys to ensure the wellbeing of women, children, and men in Ethiopia.

Core Principles of MENE

As part of the MenEngage Africa regional network, MENE believes in working as allies with existing women’s rights movements; engaging men from a positive perspective, a human rights and gender transformative approach as a means of achieving gender equality; building on evidence, collaboration and transparency and promoting existing UN mandates.

Target group for activities

  • Engaging men and boys in stopping GBV, HIV and AIDS prevention, Family Planning and Sexual and Reproductive Health of women and girls.
  • Developing joint promotional and advocacy campaigns to influence policy change.
  • Support Information Exchange of tools, best practices, IEC materials and other publications.
  • Work and collaborate with other networks including religious institutions, and networks of women’s groups.
  • Promoting evidence-based strategies for working with men and boys, engaging in campaigns, holding meetings/workshops with government leaders and staff, working to influence and educate the media, working with different target groups (youth and married men).
  • Mobilising resources for the in-country network building.

Some key achievements

Initiated by EngenderHealth Inc, the following organisations and partners met in October 2008 and formed MENE. These organisations include, PEPFAR partners, Pathfinder, Hiwot Ethiopia, IntraHealth, Center for Communication Programmes, Save the Children – USA, Health Communication Partnership (AED), International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), Population Council, UNDP-DAG, Johns Hopkins University,  and CARE Ethiopia).

Since January 2008, the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has been supporting interventions to address HIV prevention through the Male Norms Initiative (MNI) in Ethiopia. EngenderHealth, in collaboration with Instituto Promundo, provided support and technical assistance to PEPFAR partners on ways to integrate male involvement activities through Men As Partners® (MAP) approach.

MENE activities are being implemented under EngenderHealth’s MARPs Project, which stands for ‘most-at-risk populations’, a comprehensive HIV prevention initiative aimed at preventing HIV among vulnerable and marginalized populations in Ethiopia’s urban centres. The programme reaches out to adults and young people who engage in transactional sex, including commercial sex workers. The programme also focuses on restaurant owners and employees, as well as health providers who offer HIV services to these vulnerable populations.

The MARPs Project is one of only a few comprehensive HIV prevention projects that focus especially on these groups. In addition to being marginalized in society, commercial sex workers face stigma and discrimination that prevent them from getting tested or seeking treatment or information about HIV. But by reaching out and offering social and economic support—through access to information, mobile testing, condoms, counselling, workshops, peer education, treatment, life skills training, income generation opportunities, and care—the MARPs Project encourages them to seek help.

(Photo: UN Photo)