International men’s day commemorated

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Limpho Sello

SHE-HIVE Association in partnership with AIDS Health Foundation (AHF) celebrated International Men’s Day (IMD) in Maseru this week with calls for men and women to combine their efforts towards promoting gender equality, ending gender-based violence and good health.

The day is annually commemorated on 19 November and this year’s theme is: “Celebrating Men and Boys in all their diversity”. The theme is a calls to action for individuals, institutions and organisations to innovate the manner in which they design and deliver resources and support services which speak to the unique needs and issues of Men and Boys.

Actions and services should address Men and Boys’ diversity and refrain from utilising a “one-size-fits-all” approach in the creation of tools that help them to empower themselves and strengthen the communities in which they live.

In Lesotho both She-Hive and AIDS Health Foundation celebrated the day through the Movember Campaign being implemented under the MenEngage Programme. This aims to support the engagement of Men and Boys in the broader spectrum of gender and health. The Movember campaign works to raise awareness on men’s health conditions such as prostate and testicular cancers; and depression that sometimes lead to alcohol and drug abuse; and suicide if not addressed.

In an interview with the Lesotho Time, She-Hive Association founder Mamakhethe Phomane said the success of all programmes under implementation lay on their ability to engage with men, particularly on issues to do with gender-based violence. She-Hive provides psycho-social support to survivors and those affected by domestic violence. Apart from counselling services, legal advice is also provided alongside facilitating income-generating programmes, particularly in circumstances where women and children suffer economic deprivation.

“We have done some studies to investigate the underlying causes of challenges targeted by our programmes and findings show the need to ensure the involvement of men as part of the solution. We encourage men to lead some of our advocacy work for positive deviance that would encourage other men to join our cause while promoting a peaceful environment,” Ms Phomane said.

She cited the MenEngage programme as effective in strengthening engagement of men in gender issues to enable the development of an informed society in which men are not perpetrators of violence but protectors, care-givers and providers for their families and communities.

Ms Phomane said the programme has managed to draw attention to issues that negatively impact Men and Boys through both private and public conversations around often neglected issues of health.

“We would like men to take charge of their health, particularly in issues around HIV and AIDS, with regards to prevention, getting tested and ensuring that they access treatment and remain on treatment and taking preventive measures. That way we can have Men and Boys empowered to take control of their lives and with the capacity to promote good health. This can also help in developing stronger and healthier communities,” Ms Phomane said.

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