-----Original Message-----
Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2002 8:39 AM
Subject: Men Against Gender Based Violence; A FEMNET Initiative

We in the African Women's Development and Communications Network (FEMNET)
would like to share with you the report of our Men to Men Consultation on
Gender Based Violence. The Consultation, which was held in Nairobi from
6-9 Dec 2001, brought together 27 men from Kenya, Malawi, Namibia and
South Africa. These men are members of men only groups that have come
together in response to the need for men to come out and break the silence
and take action against violence on women and children. Some of these
groups have also recognised the need to support men to cope with the
changing male roles and responsibilities.

The Consultation, which was timed to coincide with the Sixteen Days of
Activism Against Violence on Women, resulted in the formation of the
African Network of Men Against Gender Based Violence. FEMNET will work
with the groups in the four countries to implement national level as well
as regional activities; drawing into the Network men groups from other
countries as the programme develops. The Consultation resulted in some
ideas for follow-up activities at the national and regional levels; and
already follow-up action is underway.

A session on Men and Women Dialogue was held during the Consultation,
which pointed to the great value of creating discussion fora for dialogue
between women and men; boys and girls; even as we encourage gender
specific dialogues. As the strategy for reaching men for support in
tackling women's empowerment and gender rights issues gather momentum, we
are conscious that there are some strong reservations about the approach.
FEMNET has worked in the gender arena for the last twelve years, training
thousands of women and men together in gender and development programming.
Our experience is that we must bring men on board our struggle. While
maintaining a focus on our original goal of equality between women and
men, we must recognise that men still hold power and authority at all
levels; and that we need this same power to change the political, policy,
social, economic and other systems and structures; and to cause new power

The strategy to work with men should never replace or be pursued at the
expense of our struggle to empower women so that they can enter the
mainstream of power sharing with men. Indeed the two-pronged strategy of
women only and gender-based approaches must be perfected if women are to
enter and remain in the mainstream of power and politics, economy
decision-making and other power systems.

The report is available for those interested in the details of the


Alice Munyua
Communication Officer
African Women's Development and Communications Network (FEMNET)
P. O. Box 54562, Nairobi, Kenya.

Tel: +254 2 741301/20
Fax: +254 2 742927
Website: http://www.africaonline.co.ke/femnet

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