Involving men and boys in gender equality in Zimbabwe
Isaac Weston grew up in a male-majority household which assumed the girls would do all the chores. He went to a school where, at lunchtime, the boys bulled the girls so badly they refused to eat in the same area. But it took the Youth Changing the River Flow programme organized by the Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS) to help him realize this behaviour needed to change.
Tanyaradzwa Mashumba suffered years of sexual abuse from the uncle in whose household she grew up. Changing the River Flow’s weekly meetings helped her confront her experiences, make plans for the future – she hopes to become an air stewardess – and become an advocate for greater awareness of gender-based violence.
These were among the stories shared in a round table held in Harare on 31 May 2018 as part of an UNESCO/SAfAIDS project on ‘Challenging constructions of masculinity that exacerbate marginalization of women and youth’. By training men on positive masculinities, conducting research on the impact of culture and religion on gender equality in Zimbabwe, and creating sustainable dialogue through a set of materials for advocacy, it aims to facilitate more gender-equitable and equal communities.