Liberia | Nigeria | Rwanda | Zambia
MRI Associate Director, James Arana, with children in Zambia
Many African organizations dedicated to women's health, safety, and political and economic development are eager to engage men as allies and partners, and men's groups have begun to form in a number of African countries. Simultaneously, violence prevention is increasingly being recognized and promoted internationally as a public health issue in itself and as a key factor in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Simply by responding to direct requests for information, coaching, support, and live training in several African nations, Men's Resources International has begun to play a significant role in this burgeoning African movement for gender equality and violence prevention.
This special section of the Men's Resources International website documents MRI's recent work with organizations and individuals in Africa, and provides information and resources for and about grassroots men's and women's organizations in Africa working together for unity and peace in our families and communities.
MRI partners with International Rescue Committee for Male Involvement Program
Men's Resources International (MRI) has partnered with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to help IRC-Liberia lay the foundation for their Male Involvement: Part of the Solution project as part of their Gender-Based Violence Program. This ongoing collaboration has seen four MRI onsite visits to Liberia and continuing off-site technical support.
Nigeria Training and Consultation (Ebonyi Men's Resource Centre)
In November of 2006, James Arana and Steven Botkin of Men's Resources International traveled to Ebonyi State in Nigeria to provide 10 days of training and consultations for the development of the Ebonyi Men's Resource Center. The event was hosted by DOVENET, a woman's safety and empowerment organization, directed by Chief Ugo Nnachi. In addition to men and women from Nigeria, participants included delegates from the Zambia Men's Network and the Rwanda Men's Centre.
Late in 2006, News of MRI's initial Zambia training reached a passionate and articulate human rights activist in Rwanda named Fidel Rutayisire. Fidel envisioned a Rwanda Men's Centre and immediately contacted Men's Resources International for technical assistance to establish a center for engaging Rwandan men as allies with women in violence prevention, healthy masculinity and gender equality. By August, a Rwanda Men's Resource Centre steering committee had been formed, and in October the organization (RWAMREC) was formally established and endorsed by the national network of women's organizations, PROFEMME, and a strong collaborative relationship with Men's Resources International was forged.
Recognizing the passion and commitment of Fidel, and the tremendous potential in this newly forming organization, MRI sponsored Fidel to attend the MRI training on "Engaging Men in Eliminating Gender-Based Violence" in Nigeria as a delegate from Rwanda. In his report on this training experience Fidel wrote:
There is a need of organizing this type of training in Rwanda. A Rwandan training with MRI would strengthen the Rwanda Men's Resource Centre which is a young organization that needs a capacity reinforcement. By training leadership, our members, and other key people from different organizations, especially women's organizations, we will be able to affect significant change by continuing to spread the message at a grass root level.MRI Conducts Two Trainings in Rwanda
In the fall of 2007, MRI trainers, Steven Botkin and James Arana and associate trainer, Adin Thayer spent two weeks in Kigali, Rwanda where they conducted leadership trainings on Engaging Men in Eliminating Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
The first training was in support of the newly formed Rwanda Men's Resource Centre, and the second was for the staff of CARE Rwanda.
In his first blog entry from Rwanda, Steven wrote:
We are gathering...to conduct our training on engaging men in ending gender-based violence for members of the Rwanda Men's Resource Centre (RWAMREC) and others from the community. And to continue to build the network of connection and support among men and women in Africa who are doing this work. We are excited and humbled by the opportunity to continue to support these initiatives Men's Resource International has helped to launch over the past year and a half.
The challenges are daunting -- centuries of violence and oppression, cultural legacies of patriarchy, extreme pervasive poverty, lack of funding for programs. And yet, these leaders have committed themselves to pursuing the vision of building networks of men allied with women for ending violence and promoting positive masculinity.
Our three-day training, funded completely by individual donors to Men's Resources International, will include more than thirty Rwandans (in addition to the international delegates). With support from Dean's Beans Organic Coffee Company, four representatives from "up-country" coffee cooperatives will be attending. Following the training we will facilitate a strategic planning meeting with members of the RWAMREC board of directors.
During our second week in Rwanda, James, Adin and I will conduct a similar training and consultation with CARE International staff who are eager to develop male involvement in their violence prevention and reproductive health programs.
We will do our best to keep you updated on these experiences through regular blog entries, and photographs. You can send us your thoughts and blessings by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. On behalf of all of us gathering in Rwanda, we thank you for your interest and support.
In faith, Steven
Read all blog entries from Steven and James in Rwanda.
Zambia Training and Consultation
On June 6. 2006, Steven Botkin and James Arana of Men's Resources International traveled to Lusaka, Zambia in the southern part of Africa to conduct a Men's Leadership Training for the Zambia Men's Resource Centre. The event was hosted by the Zambia YWCA and was funded by private U.S. donors.