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UN Women Zimbabwe Is Engaging Men As Allies to Respond To All Forms of Gender-Based Violence In Their Communities

UN Women Zimbabwe Spotlight story

UN Women Zimbabwe Spotlight Initiative released a booklet of Impact Stories to capture voices of the programme beneficiaries and various stakeholders in all five programme districts across Zimbabwe. One of these stories is the story of men as allies in the fight against gender-based violence in the community of Mbire, Zimbabwe.

Like many other communities in rural Zimbabwe, Mbire district has not been spared from the scourge of gender-based violence. Gender-based violence has been a huge challenge in the community fuelled by various reasons and a mind-set shift was required from all members of the community in order for change to happen.

To address this, a Men’s Forums with a committee of 7 people per ward in all 16 wards of Mbire district was set up.

“We were trained on gender advocacy by the spotlight programme. As men who have been mostly the perpetrators of this kind of violence and also members of the community, we were motivated to bring transformative change to the community and ensure that changed happened.”

“In Mbire, men are known for using power and forceful means and authority in household decision making. Before the creation of the Forum there were constant reports and incidents of GBV in the Village but that has become a thing of the past. Things are changing as men are becoming more consultative,”  said Norman Mtukudzi a member of the forum.

The Men’s Forum was assisted to conduct a study which validated the reports that men where the leading perpetrators of GBV.

“As men we decided to use existing meeting platforms to teach, sensitise and train the community on GBV. We are noticing reduced GBV cases particularly from Men. As a Forum, we made ourselves more accessible to the community and families, making it easier for households to discuss emerging issues,” said Mtukudzi.

The transformation and change in behaviour dialogues and the Men’s Forum has achieved is now apparent. Men are now accommodating views and contributions from women and children in household decision making. Men now embrace different roles in the house such as domestic and unpaid care work for the family.

“Women would commit suicide over abuse of money by men in the household but now those cases have significantly reduced. Families are now working together,” said Mtukudzi.

To strengthen the work of the Men’s Forum, some of the members have become part of the Crime Consultative Committee with the police, and reports recorded through the police do indicate a significant decline in reported crimes around GBV.

Read the full publication here

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