South Africa

MenEngage South Africa

South Africa is situated at the southern tip of Africa. The Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet along its 2,798 kilometres of coastline. The population is multi-ethnic with many cultures and languages: the country recognises eleven official languages, of which English is only the fifth most-spoken home language. About 80% of the population is of black African ancestry, but South Africa also has the largest populations of European, Asian and racially mixed people in Africa.

Current Chair: Sonke Gender Justice Network

Purpose of activities at country level

The MenEngage South Africa network seeks to strengthen advocacy and policy agenda for engaging men and boys to promote gender equality, prevent and address gender-based violence, promote reproductive health and rights, and gender equality. The operational framework stems from the intention to put forth the unexpressed concerns in maternal health service delivery by also strengthening the capacity of grassroots-based youth organisations to implement evidence-based male involvement and youth participation programmes to improve maternal health outcomes.

Some key achievements

With the support of UNFPA SA, Sonke convened a MenEngage SA in-county network dialogue between young people from various civil society organisations and policymakers.  The dialogue, also known in South Africa as a lekgotla, provided a space to reflect on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), maternal health policy, the implementation thereof and possible remedies for what is found lacking.

The lekgotla also focused on how these policies can engage young men as key stakeholders in ensuring better access to services and the involvement of young parents in SRHR.

The policy background to the event is derived from the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) that highlighted the importance of gender equality, women’s empowerment and family planning in the attainment of development plans. Also, by the Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA) which was launched during the African Union Conference of Ministers of Health in May 2009 and by the South African government in May 2012.