Men’s March to say NO to Violence Against Women in Mozambique

On the 10th of December 2011, a group of men will take to the streets in a bid to demonstrate against discrimination and violence particularly against women and girls. This will be the third consecutive year in which the event takes place. In Mozambique, it is a well-known fact that most of the violence that takes place, both in the public and domestic spheres, is perpetrated by men. In the first half of 2010 about 8000 women reported different forms of abuse by their partners to the police. Studies conducted elsewhere however show that gender-based violence is underreported an that the real numbers are probably far higher. Also, almost all of the violent crime in the streets is committed by young men and consequently almost 95% of imprisoned population in Mozambique are young men.

Since 2009, the Men for Change Network, HOPEM, have been organizing demonstrations against negative masculinities in order to strive against this pervasive reality. About 1000 people, mostly from HOPEM member organizations and partners, religious groups, students and civil society activists joined the march last year.

“Peace begins at home, men for the end of violence against women.” says the banner shown by HOPEM activists during the second men’s march, in 2010.

This year, the march will include 10 cities from the South, Northern and Central Mozambique. Participation from significant uniformed forces is also expected. A movement of students for gender equality and human rights will be taking a leading role. This demonstration is part of the human rights day celebrations and the regional component of the UN Secretary General campaign to end violence against women and girls, Africa UNiTE.

Working with men brings HOPEM and the Ministry of Women together

The Ministry of Women and Social Action in Mozambique, in partnership with the Men for Change Network, HOPEM, held a meeting which saw them discuss the work with men and boys at national level. 35 senior civil society and government officers from the 10 provinces of Mozambique attended the meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to critically reflect on the status of the work with men and boys for gender equality in Mozambique and eradication of violence against women. The key meeting objective was to review the extent to which current policies and programs in Mozambique include work with men and boys along with action strategies to strengthen men’s involvement on gender equality in Mozambique. Recommendations made at the meeting for action will be produced in the near future.

Minister of Women and Social Action, sided by the UN Women country program manager, and participants at the meeting opening ceremony

In her opening speech, the Minister of Women and Social Action expressed appreciation for men’s involvement in gender issues and acknowledged the need to scale up the work with men and boys. She said, “this meeting will allow men’s engagement initiatives to be broadened to the whole country.” The meeting also included discussions on other gender issues, such as the sharing of the country CEDAW report and a review on the process of disseminating the Domestic Violence Act approved in 2009.The meeting was supported by the UNDP, UNFPA, UN Women and the Norwegian Embassy.

Exhibition on Masculinities

From November 24th to December 22nd, the Brazil and Mozambique Cultural Centre, in Maputo, will host an exhibition on masculinities with a main focus on violence against women and girls. Organized by the Men for Change Network in partnership with the National School of Visual Arts, the exhibition intends to raise awareness about problems related to masculinity in Mozambique, especially amongst men’s groups. The messages will be communicated through a combination of different arts and disciplines, particularly visual arts such as sculptures, videos, paintings and photos. Life stories, journalistic works, campaigning materials, ideas expressed in popular saying, facts, figures and artifacts from real life masculinity and violence experiences will also be exhibited. This is an itinerary exhibition, with a critical, educational and interactive approach, which will go through different regions of Mozambique.

These materials are the result of HOPEM work and other institutions including the Mozambican police, prisons, civil society organizations, media and research organization. An important and innovative characteristic of this exhibition will be the possibility of participation of all Mozambicans not only as visitors but also as “exhibitors”. People will have the opportunity to openly express their views, emotions and comment on violence through materials and life stories. The exhibition also includes a range of complimentary and parallel activities such as video sessions on human rights, debates, non violence poetry recital and theatre performance. Guided tours, particularly with men in uniform and workers from the private sector, are also an important part of the exhibition program. This is a Norwegian Embassy and UN Women supported initiative under the regional component of the UN Secretary General campaign to eradicate violence against women, Africa UNiTE.

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