Thursday, April 22, 2021

Global fatherhood campaign comes to Botswana

For many centuries women had been relegated to the confines of prettiness, quietness, pregnancy and to the image of padding barefoot in the kitchen while their male counterparts (husbands, brothers and uncles) were in the fore front making decisions for them.

These women however have over the years united against this trend and are still in the process of attaining gender equality. During this process, most societies have however compromised and neglected to address the effects these changes may bring about in the males, hence the establishment of organizations such as nongovernmental organizations such as Men Care, a new gender movement primarily focusing on men empowerment.

Men Care is a part of a global fatherhood campaign and is currently being run in most countries in Southern Africa and it is especially interested in addressing the predominant issue of absent fathers.

Men Care is currently based in Mochudi and according to the country coordinator, Desmond Lunga, they have already established a father group which gets fathers together to open up and share their different experiences and the best way to deal with them. They also discuss and dispel myths surrounding manhood and are able to share advice on how the advent of gender equality can benefit them as men. Lunga stated that it is through these gatherings that most men discovered that due to various changes in legislature men are no longer expected to be the sole providers for their children and women are also expected to bare some financial responsibilities towards them.

Sexual Reproductive Health is also an aspect that Men Sector has interest in and they encourage the men in their group to go for regular Sexually Transmitted Infections and prostate cancer testing. They are also advocating for government’s initiative of safe male circumcision.

“We also educate men on the various strides women have made to attain gender equality and how best deal with societal stereotypes and pressures,” stated Lunga. He also alluded to the fact that they work closely with government to try their level best to influence policy. They are currently working hand in hand with the Gender affairs department in bidding for the criminalization of marital rape.

While the Men Sector appreciates new and amended laws advocating for gender equality, they still have qualms in failure of sensitization and implementation of these laws and people continue to be compromised, exploited and abused because they are not aware that the law is on their side.

Lunga stated that though they are still based in Mochudi they are hoping that their participants will graduate and start their own groups in the different communities to spread the word and ultimately spread across the nation. They also use platforms like radio stations and are given slots in television shows to further help spread the word.

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