Members of the Zambia Men's Resource Centre
In January 2005, Stephen Mbati from Zambia contacted Men’s Resources International requesting assistance in the creation of a Zambia Men’s Resource Centre (ZAMREC) as a project of the Zambia YWCA “to involve men, male youths and boys in the fight against gender based violence in Africa.” In March, Men’s Resources International organized, hosted and partially funded Stephen’s 10-day study-tour of men’s violence prevention programs in the United States.
The study-tour coincided with the United Nations’ 49th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (“Beijing+10”). Stephen Mbati and Steven Botkin, executive director for Men’s Resources International, were invited to make a presentation for delegates to this conference as part of a UN-sponsored institute on working with men and boys for gender equality.
In November 2005, the Zambia Men’s Resource Centre held its formal public launch in a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by the Zambian Minister of Health and attended by Zambian dignitaries and many of the 71 male ZAMREC members.
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.
Twenty men and four women participated in the training, which focused on positive masculinity, violence prevention, and gender equality. Steven and James employed a combination of ritual, story-telling, consciousness raising, and team building to create a safe space for participants to share their own stories and recognize the effects of sexism on their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. This provided a personal context for discussing sensitive gender issues, and a compelling foundation for addressing more practical lessons on community outreach, leadership skills, organizational development, and financial sustainability.
The formal training took place over three full days. In the days before and after the training, however, meetings with key leaders helped MRI understand the social and political dynamics, establish relationships of trust, and reinforce lessons learned.
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