Engaging Men and Boys as Gender Allies
While it is true that women and girls often have worse outcomes in terms of health, education, and quality of life, than their male counterparts, both genders are equally affected by decades of war and conflict in Afghanistan. Men and boys are often overlooked in development programs with more attention being paid to the rights of women and girls.
In order to move forward towards achieving better health and education outcomes, we must work together, allying with men and creating communities that recognize the value of both genders. This has impacted the mental well-being and physical health of both men and women and continues to put immense stress on households and their members.
That is why Sahar, with the financial support of a grant from WomenStrong International, created a pilot program to include men in gender development that were more than simply teaching men and asking them to adopt a new way of life.
We hoped to challenge perceptions and start planting the seed of new thoughts about gender and women in Afghan society. Many men in the country have never had the opportunity to engage with and discuss the ideas about Fatherhood and Caregiving, Mental Health and trauma, Physical Health, and being male champions in their community to bring positive changes, these were important topics in the program.
This program was a successful pilot and we are currently looking for new partner organizations with the current Taliban rules in place.
Over 70% of men in our Partners in Change program completed the program with significant improvements in their understanding of their roles as parents, the value of equality in society, and the importance of leadership opportunities for men and women, equally.
WomenStrong International is a global community of organizations working with women and girls to end extreme urban poverty. We start and end by listening to urban women and girls, who know best what they need, in order to thrive. WomenStrong finds, funds, nurtures, and shares women-driven solutions that can transform lives.