Browse by Theme: Engaging Men & Boys

“He always came home late and drunk and he often kicked the door open while hurling insults at me and the children. I became such a miserable person.... After a number of curriculum sessions, I started to notice a change of heart in my husband, he started taking responsibility for the family needs.... He even went ahead to open up a joint account for us.” (Quote by a project participant – but not from Olive who is pictured above.) Intimate partner violence (IPV) is the most common form of violence against women and girls – but our Indashyikirwa project in Rwanda proved there are ways to change this: by supporting couples to build healthier, more equitable relationships, and by helping communities to challenge and address the values which normalise violence.

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The example of Minakshi, a former child bride who has gone to become an activist and community-level facilitator for CARE’s Tipping Point project, is a reminder and inspiration for all development workers that real change is personal. We cannot work on projects seeking to shift harmful social norms without ongoing self-reflection around our own attitudes to gender and power, write Tirzah Brown and Yuleidy Merida.

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This week marks the one year anniversary of #MeToo, and the subsequent #AidToo movement. This transformed the global conversation, and put this critical issue high on the public agenda. I for one hope it stays there until we as a society and we as an industry overcome the power imbalances and gender inequality that underpin sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment.

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In Zimbabwe, mothers and school management worked to improve girls’ academic achievement through the Improving Girls’ Access through Transforming Education programme (IGATE). When you ask girls what they liked best about the initiative, many of them will tell you about the emergency skirt.

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Women in Malawi say that being able to open their own bank account or save with a VSLA has caused their husbands to be more engaged.

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#MeToo began with the bravery of individual women not willing to be silenced about their experiences of sexual harassment and abuse. Their voices have become a global movement exposing the systemic nature of sexism and male entitlement in all industries and countries. And, with #AidToo, #LabourToo and #MosqueMeToo, the movement has shown that no section of work or society is immune.

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At CARE we believe that a good humanitarian response has to respond to anyone in need, regardless of their gender. This comes with an understanding that greater priority must be given to women and girls due to entrenched gender inequalities. But when the world is impacted by an unprecedented refugee crisis and the vast majority of lone refugees are adolescent boys and men, are we really understanding and responding to their unique assistance and protection needs?

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