MenEngage Madagascar, working in the huge island nation off the south-east coast of Africa – and home to thousands of animal species, such as lemurs, found nowhere else, plus rainforests, beaches and reefs – was formed recently in 2016. Capacity Building for Communities (C-for-C) acts as the Secretariat for the network, whose focus is to get men involved in fighting violence against women. The network’s goal is to turm as many boys and men as possible into behaviour change agents that act as role models for others to stem the tide of gender-based violence and to encourage healthy relations between men and women in communities.
The network mobilises men and boys to advocate for non-violence through the following activities:
- Raising awareness to end violence and promoting “positive masculinities” to encourage behavioural change that will lead to men adopting new visions and norms devoid of violence.
- Advocating for positive correctional measures for perpetrators of violence.
- Supporting behavior change, counseling and reintegration efforts for perpetrators of violence.
- Organising workshops for reflection and consultation with other partners involved in the fight against gender-based in Madagascar.
- Conducting awareness campaigns in communities.
- Working with the media to sensitise communities and general society about gender-based violence and its impacts.
- Conducting mass campaigns, including media campaigns, about Malagasy laws and a culture of nonviolence.
MenEngage Madagascar Secretariat, C-for-C, was founded in 2007 and it has primarily worked to provide capacity for micro-entrepreneurs through training, mentoring and network support. In the years of its existence the organisation has observed that violence experienced by its target groups, mainly young women, has become a barrier to their professional development. This has led to the evolution of the organisation to include a focus on the promotion of human rights, concentrating primarily on advocacy – prevention and awareness. Targeted populations are the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, women and people living below the poverty line.
First general assembly: 10th August 2018
On the 10th of August 2018, MenEngage Madagascar held its inaugural General Assembly. This follows a year of sensitisation and advocacy efforts done by the Secretariat, Capacity Building for Communities (C-for-C) with, and amongst, civil society organisations, government departments and individuals to gain support for, and to recruit for membership of the network. The network comprises of nine networks, so far. The General Assembly identified the following themes for intervention and collaboration:
- Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Health;
- Gender-based violence;
- Positive involvement of men in maternal and child health, including care-giving;
- Interventions at policy level to lobby and advocate for laws against gender-based inequalities; and
- The protection of activists.
Madagascar is heading to the polls in November 2018 and human rights during election campaigns could be delicate. However, we believe that the election period presents us with a good time to do advocacy work – particularly with election candidates – to influence their thinking and attitudes.
MenEngage Madagascar will soon be approaching donors to promote the network and to begin concrete actions towards strengthening our work.
The General Assembly was also an opportunity to appoint MenEngage Madagascar’s Steering Committee, which will run the network for a period of one year.
The Steering Committee members are:
- Razafindrainibe Vololona from SIMIRALENTA Gender Observation and Promotion Centre was elected President;
- Randriamanantena Vololona from Madagascar Save was elected Vice-President; and
- Raveloarimisa Mbolatiana from Nifin’Akanga was elected second Vice-President.
SIMIRALENTA Gender Observation and Promotion Centre is, therefore, the inaugural president of MenEngage Madagascar. The organisation will serve as a pillar for the network to champion our advocacy for gender equality.