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News Archive

Chief Mrs. Ugo Nnachi of Nigeria speaks with Smith College President, Carol T. Christ.
March 2007

Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys

Blog entries from days 1 - 5

Monday, March 30, 2009

Greetings from Brazil. I am in Rio de Janeiro for the first ever Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys in Gender Equality. This gathering of more than 400 men and women activists, researchers, policymakers, UN officials and young people from 71 countries around the world marks another historic occasion in our movement. As organizers and participants of this conference begin to gather today, I am re-connecting with dear colleagues and fellow activists from all over the world.

The Symposium is being organized by MenEngage, a global alliance of NGOs and UN agencies that began in 2004, with the goal of working in partnership to promote the engagement of men and boys in achieving gender equality, promoting health and reducing violence at the global level. The MenEngage Alliance has convened international meetings and regional consultations, and promoted the formation of MenEngage networks at the national level. Steering and Advisory Committee members of MenEngage include Promundo (Brazil) EngenderHealth, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Family Violence Prevention Fund, International Center for Research on Women, WHO, UNFPA, UNDP, Sonke Gender Justice Project (South Africa), Save the Children-Sweden, Sahoyog (India), the White Ribbon Campaign, Men for Gender Equality (Sweden) and Men's Resources International.

The steering committee of MenEngage met today. There were reports about projects, programs and activities that are now happening on every continent and many, many countries. The issue of male involvement is being actively addressed in rural communities such as in Cambodia, and India, and championed by major international agencies and United Nations organizations. It is very humbling to see how far this field has come, and fascinating to watch the whirlwind of networking and organizing that continues to build a sense of a movement. 

At tonight's opening session the Symposium will be officially launched. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will be welcoming participants via a taped message.

In connection,
Steven Botkin

Day 2: Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys 
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
by Steven Botkin

Last night's opening session was a remarkable experience. The diversity of people who packed the room and the level of dignitaries who spoke was a testament to how far this movement has come. The significance of this was confirmed as we watched UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speak to us (via video) about his support for this Symposium and the importance of engaging men and boys as a global issue.

Today's program was filled with plenary sessions on "Dialogue with Women's Rights Movements," "Including Men and Masculinities in Gender Equality Policies," and "Men, Masculinities and Gender-Based Violence." The day ended with a reception for the Asia/Pacific region with reports about engaging men and boys activities in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal and Bangladesh. The entire group was led in a spirited Samoan hand-clapping activity by a powerful young man from Papua New Guinea. 

In connection,
Steven Botkin

Day 5: Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys
Friday, April 03, 2009

by Steven Botkin

The last few days have moved very quickly, and a stomach bug has given me an extra challenge.

I have had many exciting conversations about how MRI’s work could be useful in a variety of different settings. And I know that this will lead to a number of very interesting projects over the next few years. 

This Symposium marks two tremendous accomplishments in the movement for engaging men and boys in gender equality. First, this issue is now being explicitly included in institutions all around the world, of all sizes (from the U.N. to community-based NGOs) and with many different program areas (violence prevention, women’s rights, HIV/AIDS, family health, fatherhood, humanitarian aid, disarmament and demobilization, youth development, etc.). Scaling up has been a major theme of the Symposium, and this institutionalization means significantly more access to vehicles of influence and power. It also brings the political, cultural and spiritual challenges of professionalization and globalization. The strong emphasis on personal relationship-building and yesterday’s regional networking sessions have been important humanizing factors. 

Another significant accomplishment reflected in this Symposium is that we are now a multi-generational movement. The old timers (among whom I include myself) have passed the baton to a new wave of leadership, representing more global perspectives, who are taking this work to places we had hardly dared to envision. And now, yet another generation of younger men and women from even more diverse communities around the world are cutting their teeth on the joys and challenges of this work and adapting it to their own time and places. In this multi-generational context a culture is being created and we come to know ourselves as a community with a legacy that will be carried and evolved into the future.

In connection,

Nike and NoVo invest in the "Girl Effect"

NEW YORK, New York - In May 2008, the Nike Foundation and Peter and Jennifer Buffett, co-chairs of the NoVo Foundation, announced an innovative collaboration to invest in the girl effect: the ability of adolescent girls in developing countries to bring unprecedented social and economic change to their families, communities and countries.

In impoverished communities, lack of resources drives girls out of school and into early marriage, childbirth, and HIV infection at rates dramatically higher than boys. The results are irreversible for girls, and devastating to communities caught in intergenerational cycles of poverty. Yet when girls gain a different path – supported, educated and empowered – everyone benefits.

“If there’s a time to act in the fight against poverty, it’s when a girl stands at the crossroads of adolescence – yet today less than half a cent of every dollar spent on international assistance programs is invested directly in girls. We believe the girl effect deserves more attention,” said Maria Eitel, president of the Nike Foundation. “We are extremely excited that Peter and Jennifer Buffett recognize the potential of the girl effect and have chosen to collaborate with us to invest in girls, identify and scale best practices and champion the global girl effect.”

“Investing in the girl effect offers the potential for tremendous economic impact, which leads to more stability, less poverty and more opportunity for economic growth,” Peter Buffett said “Just one component of the girl effect – the increase in family income associated with an additional year of a girl’s education – nets more than a 40-fold return according to conservative calculations. The intergenerational benefits, however, go far beyond this to impact a range of issues including declining fertility rates and improved health and nutrition for the next generation. That’s a return on investment we can’t ignore.”

The Nike Foundation’s work has been building the case for international investment in girls through its a unique portfolio that funds new approaches, creates funding pipelines, nurtures models for scale and replication, makes girls a priority of institutions and proves the girl effect.

“Educating a girl is just the start. To make it work, a girl needs a safe environment, her identity secured with basic things like a birth certificate, and skills that allow her to participate in the formal economy. With these, an adolescent girl in the developing world is a force for change,” Jennifer Buffett said. “She will help stabilize her family, contribute to a healthier community and create a stronger economy. But without these she doesn’t stand a chance—and neither does her future family.”

The NoVo Foundation has committed $45 million over three years. This represents the NoVo Foundation’s largest grant since it received a pledge of Berkshire Hathaway stock, worth over $1 billion, from Peter Buffett’s father, Warren Buffett. NIKE, Inc. is also announcing today an additional $55 million investment in the Nike Foundation through fiscal year 2011 in addition to the $36 million already invested in the Nike Foundation to date for programs supporting girls in countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Bangladesh, Liberia and India.

Funds from NoVo and NIKE, Inc. will be managed by the Nike Foundation, which has focused on the issue of girls and poverty since 2004. Together, their goal is to mobilize exponentially more resources from public and private sources directly to adolescent girls through advocacy, awareness and impactful programs.

Men's Resource Center for Change names new Executive Director

On July 21st, the Men’s Resource Center for Change in Amherst, Massachusetts welcomed James Sheehan of Boston's North Shore as its new Executive Director. Jim brings to the E.D.’s chair a solid commitment to the founding principles of the MRC as well as decades of experience in non-profit management, including a strong set of skills in development and program innovation.

“It should take little argument to convince us all that men, as a gender, are in pain these days,” Jim says. “Our natural capacities for generativity, intimacy and ecstasy have been both devalued and mocked over so many years and generations. This has left us often failing in our relationship and relying on force to create our places in the world.”

The MRC welcomes Jim with confidence in the future and renewed dedication to a vision of a world where men and women work together to challenge violence, promote equality and bring peace and harmony to our homes and our communities.

Rwanda Men's Resource Centre Coordinates National Networking Meeting

On 12 June 2008, Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre (RWAMREC), in collaboration with UNDP Rwanda, facilitated a countrywide meeting focusing on engaging men and boys in issues of violence-prevention and reproductive health. Approximately 90 participants attended the meeting, representing a range of government agencies, national and international NGOs, UN agencies, and civil society.

Fidel Rutayisire, founder and chairperson of the Rwanda Men's Resource Centre)

The purpose of the meeting was to build a sustainable action network for advocacy and mobilization strategies in an effort to effectively engage men and boys in GBV and HIV prevention and the promotion of family planning/reproductive health, gender equality, human rights, and conflict prevention. The specific objectives of the country consultation meeting were to:

  • Bring together strategic partners, organizations, donors and experts in order to inform them about the various types of programming which has been successful in engaging men in gender equality, HIV, GBV, reproductive health, human rights and conflict resolution and present the strong research which has illustrated the positive impact of such programming;
  • Strategize on how to incorporate within the Rwandan context different approaches to engaging men into existing activities and encourage networking;
  • Determine how activities can reach out to as many people as possible in a sustainable manner;
  • Engage various actors in policy advocacy, program development and management at all levels; and,
  • Discuss strategies for mobilizing funds for programming engaging men in nationwide interventions.

The meeting has ended with the following recommendations:

  • A MenEngage Network and steering committee was established,
  • RWAMREC will serve as the secretariat to the MenEngage Network
  • Participants recommended that research on masculinity should be conducted.

The consultation meeting was officially closed by a representative of the Minister of Gender and Family promotion; Madam ODA GASINZIGWA who is also the president of the National Women’s Council.

New Studies Examine Violent Deaths, Child Maltreatment
Via Family Violence Prevention Fund.

Two studies released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in April find that many people who die violently experience intimate partner violence and/or relationship problems beforehand, and tens of thousand of newborns and infants experience abuse or neglect.

Partner Violence Precedes Many Homicides

Nearly one in five homicides (19 percent) is precipitated by intimate partner violence, according to a new report from the CDC's National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS). Fifty-two percent of female homicides, and nine percent of male homicides, are precipitated by intimate partner violence. In addition, 32 percent of suicides are precipitated by a problem with an intimate partner.

The new study provides a detailed analysis of 2005 data from 16 states on all types of violent death, as well as information about the circumstances surrounding these deaths. It finds that there are some 50,000 violent deaths in the United States each year. Most of those deaths are suicides (more than 56 percent), while nearly 30 percent are homicides and deaths involving legal interventions, and another 13 percent are of undetermined intent.

Overall, men are more likely than women to die violently, and American Indians/Alaska Natives and African Americans have higher rates of violent death than whites and Hispanics. The rate of violent death is highest for people age 20 to 24, and the home is the most common location for all types of violent death.

There were about 200 violent incidents in which a homicide was followed by the suicide of the suspect in the 16 states in 2005. In those cases, 168 of the 225 murder victims were female, and 180 of the suspects who committed homicide and then suicide were male. The highest percentage of both homicide and suicide victims in these cases were age 35 to 44.

The report says that programs designed to enhance social problem-solving and coping skills, and skills dealing with stressful life events, have potential to reduce violence since relationship problems and intimate partner violence are precipitating factors in many types of violent death. It also recommends prevention programs aimed at addressing mental health problems and increasing education about the warning signs for violence.

The CDC's NVDRS is a comprehensive reporting system that collects and centralizes data on violent deaths from death certificates, coroner/medical examiner reports, and law enforcement reports. The states participating in the study are Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Wisconsin, and Virginia. The National Violence Prevention Network is working to expand it to every state.

Child Abuse and Neglect

In 2006, 91,278 infants under a year old experienced nonfatal abuse or neglect, including nearly 30,000 who experienced maltreatment in their first week of life. According to "Nonfatal Maltreatment of Infants," 86 percent of the abuse and neglect cases involving the 29,881 newborns were reported to child protective services by professionals, most often medical staff or social service workers.

That same year, state and local child protective service workers substantiated that 905,000 children (under age 18) were victims of abuse or neglect.

"The concentration of reports of neglect in the first few days of life, and the preponderance of reports from medical professionals during the same period, suggest that neglect was often identified at birth," it notes. "One hypothesis for the concentration of maltreatment and neglect reports in the first few days of life is that the majority of reports resulted from maternal or newborn drug tests." Prenatal substance abuse test results are routinely reported to child protective service agencies as neglect. Many women, and pregnant women in particular, struggle to find drug treatment programs that will serve them.

"Establishing safe, stable, and nurturing relationships between children and adults is the vaccine against child abuse and neglect," National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Director Ileana Arias, PhD said during an audio news conference. "We must support programs that inform and provide support for parents, families, and health professionals on how to ensure protected and nurturing environments for children." She said maltreatment is the third leading cause of death for children under age one in this country.

Growing up in a violent home may be a terrifying and traumatic experience that can affect every aspect of a child's life, growth, and development. Children who suffer from abuse and neglect are often at risk for poor health outcomes and may be more likely than other children to engage in risky behaviors during adolescence and adulthood.

"Nonfatal Maltreatment of Infants" defines physical abuse to include beating, kicking, biting, burning and shaking, and neglect to include abandonment, maternal drug use or failing to meet basic needs like housing, food, clothing and access to medical care.

The CDC and the Administration for Children and Families analyzed data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), which has been collecting annual data since 1993. The report is the first published national analysis of substantiated nonfatal maltreatment of infants using NCANDS data. Researchers were able to examine data from 45 states.

The CDC's NVDRS findings were reported in the April 11 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Surveillance Summaries. To read the report, visit  "Nonfatal Maltreatment of Infants" is in the April 4 edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. To read the entire article, visit

Facing History Honors Steven Botkin of MRI as a Local ‘Upstander’

Awards are part of the Choosing to Participate exhibit, on display at the Boston Public Library through May 20th

BOSTON – Students who are working to end violence in their communities, individuals who are helping to protect the environment, and community groups providing meals and health care to people in need across Greater Boston are among the 25 honorees selected as ‘Upstanders’ by the international non-profit organization Facing History and Ourselves. Upstanders are individuals or groups from Massachusetts and surrounding communities who have taken up the challenge to speak out and to make decisions that have great impact on others’ lives. Facing History is celebrating these honorees, whose images and stories have become a part of the organization’s “Choosing to Participate” exhibition, with a photographic display at the Boston Public Library through May 2008.

“Each of the Upstanders’ stories reminds us that it only takes one person, or a small group of people, to bring about significant change,” said Jill Karp, a member of Facing History’s Board of Directors and co-chair of the committee that selected the 2008 slate of Upstanders. “We want visitors to this exhibit to reflect on times when they have chosen to participate - become an Upstander - and to think about those individuals in their own lives who are Upstanders."

Last spring, Facing History sent out a call to learn more about those who have taken actions to improve the lives of others and create change in their communities. Residents from throughout New England shared stories of their friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members. A panel of distinguished community members selected the 25 honorees. Among the 25 being recognized as Upstanders is Steven D. Botkin of Pelham, founder of Men’s Resources International. With Botkin’s leadership, the organization is committed to helping men and women around the globe to practice and promote healthy, compassionate, and responsible lives, while working towards putting an end to violence.

In addition to the Upstanders display, Choosing to Participate features an interactive, multimedia exhibit that highlights four moments in history that capture hatred, racism, injustice, courage and compassion, and features local stories and artwork that reflect the exhibit’s central themes. Visitors to the exhibit can also attend an extensive calendar of workshops, world-renowned speakers, performances and film screenings during Choosing to Participate’s visit to Boston.

The 25 Upstanders will also be recognized for their efforts at a special reception to be held in April, hosted by Facing History and Ourselves.

UN's New Campaign to Stop Violence
via Family Violence Prevention Fund

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the latest session of the Commission on the Status of Women by kicking off a multi-year global campaign that will bring together the U.N. governments and civil society to try to end violence against women.

The campaign, “UNITE to End Violence Against Women,” will mobilize governments, opinion leaders and men in government, the arts, sports, business, and religion and boys to speak out against violence against women and girls. The Secretary-General said, “I call on men around the world to lead by example; to make clear that violence against women is an act perpetrated by a coward, and that speaking up against it is a badge of honor.”

The campaign will engage women’s organizations worldwide and run through 2015, the same term as the United Nations Millennium Development Goals that aim to stop poverty. There will not be a universal approach to ending violence against women, but each country will formulate its own measures to address violence. “There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: Violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable,” Ban Ki-moon said.

He also said he hopes to hold an event in 2010 to review progress and map out steps for success by 2015.

More information on the new campaign is available at

February 16, 2008
Rwandan Men Launch Global Petition to End Gender-Based Violence in Kenya

Pledge organizer, Fidel Rutayisire, Founder of Rwanda Men's Resource Centre

Fidel Rutayisire, founder of the Rwanda Men's Resource Centre (RWAMREC), is organizing a pledge drive for men around the world to speak out against the violence against women and girls that has been part of the ongoing conflict in Kenya.

Signatures will be sent to Kenyan Ministers, Parliamentarians, other authorities, and civil society organizations. MRI applauds RWAMREC for taking this important and timely action, and we are committed to helping them reach and surpass their goal of collecting 500 signatures by April 1.

Follow the link below to read the petition and add your support!

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Stephen Mbati, founder of the Zambia Men’s Resource Centre (ZAMREC).

MRI Hosts Zambian Activist for White Ribbon Day Events.

Men’s Resources International was pleased to host Stephen Mbati, founder and director of the Zambia Men’s Resource Centre (ZAMREC) from February 13 – 15, 2008.

This was Mbati’s second visit to Western Massachusetts and marked three years of collaboration with MRI. Since Stephen Mbati first contacted us in January 2005, MRI has hosted him for a study tour of U.S. men’s initiatives, co-presented with him at the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, and delivered onsite training and consultations in Lusaka for the newly launched Zambia Men’s Network. Read the training report (PDF) or view pictures.

MRI was honored to welcome back Stephen Mbati as our guest at the White Ribbon Day events in Boston, and to host a reception in Springfield for Stephen Mbati and local professionals to share stories and strategies for working with men and women around issues of gender-based violence.

MRI supports White Ribbon Day in Massachusetts, USA
Valentine's Day, February 14, 2008

Men send anti-violence message on Valentine's Day

On February 14, 2008 men across Massachusetts wore a white ribbon to show their solidarity with other men who pledge “to not commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women, sexual assault and domestic violence.” To help mark this occasion, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Lt. Governor Tim Murray, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and White Ribbon Day Co-Chairs Former Governor Paul Cellucci, and Northeastern University’s Athletic Director Peter Roby hosted the first annual Massachusetts White Ribbon Day at the State House. Corporate executives, students, union members, community activists and others from around the Commonwealth attended the event to join together in taking the White Ribbon Day Pledge.
The campaign invites all men - heterosexual, gay, bisexual and transgender - to challenge the traditional notions of masculinity that equate strength with violence and control and to help create a world free of abuse. To sign the pledge or learn more, visit or contact Craig Norberg-Bohm at or 617-248-0922.

17 January, 2008
60 Mintues Reports on the War Against Women: The Use of Rape As A Weapon in Congo's Civil War

On Sunday, January 13th, 60 Minutes aired a feature report by Anderson Cooper on Congo's war against women. Watch the video, or read the excerpt below.

(CBS) Right now there's a war taking place in the heart of Africa, in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, and more people have died there than in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Darfur combined.

You probably haven't heard much about it, but as CNN's Anderson Cooper reports, it's the deadliest conflict since World War II. Within the last ten years, more than four million people have died and the numbers keep rising.

As Cooper and a 60 Minutes team found when they went there a few months ago, the most frequent targets of this hidden war are women. It is, in fact, a war against women, and the weapon used to destroy them, their families and whole communities, is rape.

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19 November, 2007
Urge Your Senator to Co-Sponsor I-VAWA

Click here for an easy online form and template from The Family Violence Prevention fund othat allows you to contact your senator about this important legislation.

On October 31, Senators Joseph Biden (D-DE) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) introduced groundbreaking legislation to combat the global crisis of violence against women and girls. The International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) would, for the first time, systematically integrate efforts to end gender-based violence into foreign assistance programs, applying the force of U.S. diplomacy and foreign aid totaling $1 billion over five years to prevent the abuse and exploitation that affects up to one in three women worldwide.

The new legislation would authorize more than $200 million annually in foreign assistance for international programs that prevent violence, support health programs and survivor services, encourage legal accountability, change public attitudes, promote access to economic opportunity projects and education, and address violence against women in humanitarian situations. It aims to prevent domestic and sexual violence, including "honor" killings, bride burnings, genital cutting, mass rapes in war, and more.

To deal with situations like the Darfur and the Democratic Republic of Congo, it would require the Secretary of State to identify critical outbreaks of violence against women and girls in armed conflict and develop emergency measures to respond to these outbreaks. These measures would include efforts by the United States government to protect women and girls, to urge all parties in the conflict to protect women and girls, and to facilitate prosecution of perpetrators.

In addition, I-VAWA would integrate training to change attitudes that condone violence against women and girls into humanitarian assistance programs, and train lawyers and police to deal with domestic violence cases. It also bolsters women's organizations overseas that are already working to end violence against women in their countries. The legislation would decrease potential sexual exploitation and abuse by U.S. humanitarian workers, military personnel, military contractors and police involved in peacekeeping operations by creating training programs to prevent such abuse and a complaints mechanism for reporting problems.

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8 November, 2007
UN Finds 'Hideous' Violence Follows Conflict

“Violence against women has reached hideous and pandemic proportions in some societies attempting to recover from conflict,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in opening remarks at an October 23 meeting on women, peace and security. “Together, all of us need to strengthen our collective and individual response to it. This is essential if we are to reverse the damage done by conflict, and to build more inclusive, accountable, and cohesive societies, underpinned by democratic institutions.” His remarks kicked off a day-long open meeting to discuss the implementation of a seven-year-old resolution that called for the prosecution of crimes against women and greater protection for women and girls during times of war.

Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women Rachel N. Mayanja said, “Sexual violence in conflict, particularly rape, should be named for what it is: not a private act or the unfortunate misbehaviour of a renegade soldier, but aggression, torture, war crime and genocide.”

Ban Ki-moon’s remarks emphasized that Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security also calls for women to be involved in decision making at every level of peacemaking and peace building. “More and more, women participate in mediating and negotiating peace, in searching for justice, in fostering reconciliation, in supporting disarmament and demobilization, and in shaping development policies and rebuilding institutions… But there is so much more left to do,” he said. “We need to appoint more women in leadership positions in our peace operations around the world.”

More than 50 speakers echoed those sentiments during the event. In a formal statement, the Security Council stressed the need for women to participate in conflict prevention and resolution and expressed concern that “the under representation of women in the formal peace process would result in shattered economies and social structures, lack of the rule of law, poverty, limited access to education and other services, and various forms of discrimination and stereotypes.” The Security Council demanded an end to impunity for rape and other forms of sexual abuse.

Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guénenno said that, for seven years the focus has been on implementing parts of Resolution 1325, but urged a new approach. “A concerted integrated approach [is] needed to address rape and sexual violence in conflicts and post-conflict situations.”

“While rape was used as a weapon of war in such situations as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Darfur, addressing that war crime [requires] going beyond political compromise and power- and resource-sharing agreements,” he said. “In combating such crimes, the role of the Security Council [is] important in ensuring that the mandates and resources it authorized took into account the situation faced by women and girls on the ground. The political leadership of the United Nations… [is] a vital tool in eliminating sexual violence.”

Based on interviews with 24,000 women around the world, a 2005 World Health Organization study found that 20-75 percent of women had experienced physical or sexual violence since age 15.

For more information on the United Nations day-long meeting on women, peace, and security, please visit,

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1 November, 2007
International Violence Against Women Act

Groundbreaking legislation to combat the global crisis of violence against women and girls was introduced in the United States Senate on October 31st by Senators Joseph Biden (D-DE) and Richard Lugar (R-IN). The International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) would, for the first time, systematically integrate efforts to end gender-based violence into foreign assistance programs, applying the force of U.S. diplomacy and foreign aid totaling $1 billion over five years to prevent the abuse and exploitation that affects up to one in three women worldwide.

“The International Violence Against Women Act marshals together, for the first time, coordinated American resources and leadership to address this global issue. I believe the time is now for the United States to get actively engaged in the fight for women's lives and girls' futures, and we must begin by preventing and responding to the violence they face,” Senator Biden said.

“It is essential for the United States to work with non-governmental organizations and like-minded countries to end domestic violence,” Senator Lugar added. “No woman, regardless of her income or education level, should live in fear or be made to believe that physical or emotional abuse is acceptable. We cannot expect to reduce poverty and decrease the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS until we have more equitable treatment of women in developing countries. Empowered and educated women are the key to breaking these cycles.”

In 2005, the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF), Women’s Edge Coalition and Amnesty International USA convened meetings to develop the legislation, recognizing the need for a comprehensive worldwide approach that looks at separate challenges facing different countries depending on the form the violence takes in each. More than 150 U.S.-based experts and 40 women’s groups overseas gave advice on the bill.

To learn more about the major components of I-VAWA, and how you can get involved, click here.

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MRI Conducts Trainings in Rwanda, September 23 – October 6, 2007

10 October, 2007
MRI Conducts Trainings in Rwanda

MRI trainers, Steven Botkin and James Arana and associate trainer, Adin Thayer recently returned from 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 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 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.

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6 August, 2007
UN INSTRAW PRESS RELEASE | Involving Male Facilitators Makes Gender Training for Military, Police and Peacekeepers More Effective, Say Experts in UN-Sponsored Discussion

[Note: MRI Exectutive Director, Steven Botkn took part in the online discussion on which this report is based.]

[Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic] Increasing the number of qualified male trainers in gender training for security personnel is one of the key conclusions of an online expert-group discussion hosted by United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW), the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

The recommendations of this e-discussion are released today on the eve of a three-day "training of trainers" in gender equality for personnel from various UN peacekeeping missions. This workshop is organized by the UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and held at UN-INSTRAW headquarters in Santo Domingo.

During the three-week virtual discussion carried out in April, more than 140 specialists from around the globe exchanged field experiences and discussed how to make gender trainings more effective for security sector personnel such as military, police and prison staff, peacekeepers and the justice system.

With special attention given to UN peacekeepers, international gender experts representing academic institutions, NGOs, security forces and the UN have provided useful recommendations and practical tips on training delivery, for example on how to challenge gender stereotypes.

"Many of the security institutions - military, police, peacekeepers- are dominated by men", pointed out Carmen Moreno, UN-INSTRAW Director. "How can they fulfill their mandate of protecting both men and women if they are blind to gender issues? Knowing more about how differently men and women experience conflict helps security personnel respond better to gender-based violence and prevent sexual abuse", continued Ms. Moreno.

"According to experts, having male and female trainers working together is very good practice", stressed Toiko Tnisson Kleppe, UN-INSTRAW moderator of the e-discussion. "This way they canbreak the ice, question gender stereotypes and more easily get the message across to the mostly male participants. A man who speaks to other men about gender is often listened to in a more attentive way", she added.

According to gender and security specialists, gender trainings are more effective when initiated at the early stage, integrated directly into other training programs, conducted in situ and with the involvement of senior management officials.  

The virtual discussion on gender training for security sector personnel took place as part of an on-going joint project of UN-INSTRAW, DCAF and ODIHR, which focuses on the development of a hands-on toolkit for practitioners on how to integrate gender issues into security sector reforms. Upon the experts' request, the organizing institutions are now considering setting up a permanent platform on gender training for security personnel in order to sustain the exchange of knowledge and practices.
  • Listen to an interview with the moderator of the e-discussion
  • Read selected experts' quotes
  • Read the top 10 recommendations
  • Read the summary of the e-discussion
  • Visit the webpage on gender training

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11 July, 2007
MRI returns to Liberia to continue partnership with IRC, July 15 - 28

MRI returns to Liberia to continue partnership with IRC July 15 – 28, 2007

On July 16, MRI directors Steven Botkin and James Arana travelled to Liberia for a third visit in support of the International Rescue Committee’s new project, “Part of the Solution: Involving Men in Preventing Gender-Based Violence.”

Funded in part through Irish Aid, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Liberia contracted MRI in October 2006 to help develop an innovative approach to engaging men as allies against GBV in conflict affected settings. Through two onsite visits and remote technical support, MRI’s work with IRC has lead to:

  • Increased understanding and investment among IRC GBV staff in the value of a male involvement project
  • Increased knowledge and capacity among IRC GBV staff on the fundamental principles for engaging men and basic skills for facilitating women and men working together as allies
  • Development of nine Men’s Groups (total membership of 225 men) in three counties
  • Initial training and supervision conducted with all nine Men’s Groups
  • Planning for a national awareness raising campaign that was launched in June 2007

A considerable amount of momentum has been generated in the nine communities where Men’s Action Groups have been started. Based on the request of both communities and staff, the IRC has contracted with MRI again to provide additional in-country and remote technical support.

During this third visit from July 16 – 28, Steven and James are leading an additional staff training, consulting with IRC regarding long-term goals and strategies for the program, and helping to develop monitoring systems for the men’s action groups and initiatives.

Click here to read daily blog entries from Liberia from Steven and James, during their third visit from July 16 – 28, 2007.

(You may also view blog entries and photos from MRI's previous trips to Liberia: Trip 1 Blog | Trip 2 Blog.)

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5 July, 2007
MRI Men's Leadership Training in Springfield a powerful experience of learning and connection for participants and facilitators.

Ribbon Ceremony at MRI Men's Leadership Training in Springfield, MA, June 2007

On June 21 – 23, MRI presented a Men's Leadership Training in downtown Springfield, which focused on preventing violence and promoting positive masculinity. Over 30 men and women participated, representing teachers, coaches, program directors, social services professionals, and committed individuals. While most attendees live or work in Springfield, others traveled from Vermont, Washington DC, Colorado, and Washington State.

Singer and activist Julius Ford opened the program with songs, which were followed by remarks from Helen Caulton-Harris, Director of Health and Human Services for the City of Springfield; Francis Hubbard, community activist and elder; Mary Reardon Johnson, Executive Director of the YWCA of Western Massachusetts; and Ronn Johnson, Director of Community Relations for MassMutual.

The 3-day professional development workshop, led by MRI directors Dr. Steven Botkin and James Arana, centered on connection, consciousness-raising, and experiential learning to:

  • Recognize the causes and impacts of violence in our relationships, families and communities
  • Engage men and boys in issues of violence and compassion
  • Explore the privileges and costs of traditional masculinity
  • Develop community leadership and mentoring skills
  • Plan and organize men’s initiatives
  • Build alliances between women and men
"We are still absorbing the profound experience of being together for the Men's Leadership Training in Springfield," said Steven Botkin. "The connections, inspiration and lessons we shared will motivate us for much time to come. We thank everyone involved for helping to make this happen."

Nearly 20 of the participants have expressed interest in a 6-month follow-up practicum for continued support, consultations, and technical assistance in planning or implementing a men's initiative in a professional or community setting.

MRI will publish a report to summarize and reflect on the training, and a page of photographs will be available soon. Links to both will be posted on our homepage as soon as they are available.

Join in the conversation about the training and
practicum on our new discussion board.

View photos from the Springfield Training here.

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2 July, 2007
Men's Educator Position Available, Burlington, VT

The Women's Rape Crisis Center in Burlington, VT (WRCC) is excited to announce a new position at the agency. WRCC seeks a part-time (20 hr/wk) staff person to give male-positive workshops on sexual violence prevention and positive masculinity to college men and male youth. Position will also help plan and implement male-specific outreach events in the community and on local college campuses. This position will work part-time at the University of Vermont and part time serving male youth and community members in Chittenden County. The Men's Educator has the one-of-a-kind opportunity and flexibility to initiate and expand a new men's education program at the WRCC.

Successful candidate will have experience with public speaking and working with men, male college students, and male youth. Knowledge of sexual violence issues strongly preferred. Competitive hourly wage with benefits package.

Send resume, cover letter, and three references by July 20th to:

Women's Rape Crisis Center
PO Box 92
Burlington, VT 05402
Attn: Cathleen Wilson

Men and people from diverse communities encouraged to apply.

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2 June, 2007
MRI's work in Liberia

MRI Directors Steven Botkin and James Arana recently returned home after more than two weeks in Liberia conducting Men's Training with the International Rescue Committee (IRC). In an ongoing partnership with the IRC, MRI will return to Liberia in July for a third training visit.

Read a compilation of daily blog entries and view photos from Liberia.

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1 June, 2007
MRI Launches Website Redesign

Men's Resources International is excited to announce the relaunch of its website, The site has been re conceived and redesigned by MRI Communications Director, Daniel Coyne and Strategic Identities' Creative Strategy Director, Joshua Lynn. The purpose of the redesign was to reorganize MRI's current online resources and information and streamline the navigation to better serve visitors with differing needs and interests. The site also seeks to clarify MRI's mission, activities, and services through new content, additional images, and visual elements throughout the site. In addition, the relaunch features a new section devoted to men's gender-based violence work in Africa. This new area of the site, which is linked from MRI's main pages, also has its own URL:

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21 April 2007
KENYA 2007 International Women's Summit:
Women's Leadership Making a Difference on HIV and AIDS July 4 - 7, 2007 | Nairobi, Kenya

The World YWCA, in partnership with the International Community of Women Living with HIV and AIDS (ICW) and other international organizations, will convene an unprecedented international conference on women's leadership on HIV and AIDS. The International Women's Summit (IWS) will take place from July 4 - 7, 2007 in Nairobi, Kenya, in conjunction with the World Council meeting. To learn more or register, e-mail, or visit

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