Representatives meet for MenEngage Global Board meeting in Sweden

Our MenEngage Global board members came together in Sweden from 21-24 May 2024. Against the backdrop of challenging global trends in the work for gender equality, the meeting offered a critical moment to connect, reflect, and strategize for the future.

Our MenEngage Global Board consists of members from each of the six regional networks of MenEngage Alliance, who are nominated to represent their region’s members at the Global Board level. It also consists of ‘at-large’ members, who represent specific constituencies such as women’s rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, and youth.

Click here to find out more about the global board of MenEngage Alliance.

During the 4-day meeting, Board members were given a preview of upcoming findings of an independent evaluation of the past four years of MenEngage Alliance’s work. Informed by interviews and feedback from members and partners of the Alliance, the evaluation explores strengths, gaps, and opportunities. It does so across themes such as communications, network-building, knowledge development and joint advocacy in the work with men and boys for gender equality.

Global board member, Festus Kisa representing Q-Initiative Kenya, taking part in workshop with fellow members of MenEngage

After digesting the interim evaluation findings, board members spent a day exploring upcoming challenges and priorities through a range of participatory methods. These sessions are part of an ongoing consultative process to develop the next strategic plan for MenEngage Alliance. Some initial take-aways included

  • We are concerned about trends of resistance and backlash to gender justice and human rights. Board members reflected on the need to be strategic on our role as an international network focusing on men’s engagement in an increasingly regressive political landscape.
  • There is opportunity and need for MenEngage’s unique voice on engaging men and boys to address the anti-rights movement, prevent gender based violence, advance SRHR and many other interconnected issues related to gender equality, human rights and social justice – in partnership with the feminist movement.
  • We believe in collectivity. Board members affirmed the importance of coming together as a network and for the urgent need to create change collectively, to learn and grow together, and not to work in isolation from each other or outside of broader movements for social justice. 
  • We must meet the challenge of mobilizing as a network in support of gender justice at all levels. This means focusing our efforts and ensuring our networking efforts provide members with the support they need to connect with each other and amplify their work, and in solidarity across social justice movements.
  • Accountability remains key in the work with men and boys. Board members acknowledged that holding ourselves and each other to account as actors in the gender justice space is a vital role of a network like MenEngage Alliance. They recognized our joint efforts to put steps into place across MenEngage Alliance, including the Accountability Reporting Mechanism, Accountability Focal Points in each region, and an Accountability Team to take forward the issue strategically. Yet there was also recognition that this is an ongoing process in which we must continue to advance the highest standards of accountability and practice possible across our networks and beyond.

The Global Board officially opened up nominations from the Board for the position of Co-Chair. This follows the end of the term of our outgoing Co-Chair, Bafana Khumalo, who remains an inspiring and significant figure in the MenEngage Alliance network and gender justice field, and who continues to serve on the Board as the representative of Sonke Gender Justice. The Board will vote in a new Co-Chair by the next quarterly Board meeting, set to take place virtually. 

Meeting key partners

The board meeting provided an opportunity for the Global Board of MenEngage Alliance to meet with a key strategic and funding

The board meeting provided an opportunity for the Global Board of MenEngage Alliance to meet with a key strategic and funding partner, the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida). Several MenEngage Alliance members presented our shared work and mission at a lunch session to a packed room of Sida staff members interested in the work with men and boys as a strategic value-add for broader gender justice efforts. 

This was followed by an informal coffee and networking session in which members of the global board shared their experiences and interest in being part of a global network for transforming patriarchal masculinities and working with men and boys for gender justice.

04 July 2024