African Male activists for Gender Equality meet in Nairobi, Kenya

For Immediate Release
12th May, 2009.
Press Release 
 African Male activists for Gender Equality meet in Nairobi, Kenya
From the 13th to 14th May,2009  African gender activists, the majority of them men, will meet in Nairobi, Kenya at  Silver Springs Hotel to discuss strategies for involving more men in the campaign for promoting gender equality and ending gender-based violence. Most of the organisations attending the meeting are already doing innovative work on involving men in the struggle for gender justice in their home countries. The 30 representatives are drawn from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Malawi Mali, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. During the 2 days meeting organized by the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), participants will strategize on how to design a regional network for an extended campaign to reach men and involve them in ending gender violence in Africa.
The meeting coincides with the world-wide celebration of the International Day of Families (May 15th), whose theme for 2009 is: “Mothers and Families: Challenges in a Changing World.” As promoters of male involvement in promoting gender justice, we advocate for men to share the responsibilities for unpaid care work in the home and communities including in the process of nation building.
FEMNET Chairperson Mama Koite Doumbia emphasizes, that the need for men to take up equal responsibilities in the family was highlighted during the 53rd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in March 2009. The theme for this session was equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including care giving in the context of HIV/AIDS”. “The same month, the International Women’s Day was celebrated with the theme: “Men and women: United to end violence against women and girls”. Most meeting participants have several years experience of working with men, assisting them to break away from archaic masculinities, to put an end to discriminatory behavior and violence, and instead become activists for gender justice” Said Mrs. Doumbia.
On Thursday 14th May 2009, at 17h30, FEMNET will launch a book in which Kenyan gender activists share their stories as individuals and as changemakers. The book developed by FEMNET and Men for Gender Equality Now (MEGEN Kenya), is titled “Defying the Odds: Lessons learnt from Men for Gender Equality Now”.  FEMNET Executive Director Norah Matovu-Winyi explains that the aim of publicly sharing these experiences is to inspire other organizations to learn from our work with men in promoting gender equality. Ultimately the aim is to create a more gender-equal and violence-free world – and to contribute to the body of knowledge on how men and women can work together to achieve social and gender justice.”
Note to Editors
Media are invited to both the official opening of the African Regional Meeting on 13th May 2009 at 08:30 A.M  and the Launch of the Book titled  “Defying the odds: Lessons learnt from Men for Gender Equality Now” On Thursday 14th, at 17h30. There will be opportunities for interviews with Male activist about their personal journey in fighting gender based violence including FEMNET Executive Director Norah Matovu-Winyi, Chairperson of FEMNET Mama Koite Doumbia from Mali, Hassan Omar Hassan, Vice-chair of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHCR) and other personalities invited to the launch of the book.
For more information, please contact FEMNET’s Communication Officer,
Carlyn Hambuba on 020-2712971/2:
Åsa Eriksson (editor of the book “Telling our Stories”) on 0737-197446:

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