The Uncommon Man

February 06, 2007

MRI in Liberia: Second Day of Training of Trainers

Dear friends and colleagues,

We have just completed the second training of trainers day with the IRC staff of the Male Involvement Project and senior social workers in the GBV (Gender-Based Violence) Program. As in Zambia and Nigeria our approach to engaging men is striking a powerful chord for this group of 14 men and women. However, unlike these other trainings, in Liberia the participants are staff of an established organization who are paid to carry out the ideas and activities developed from the training. The skills and strategies they are learning in this training will be immediately implemented through women's and men's group in nine very different communities throughout Liberia.

We began the day with a focus on the causes and effects of silence about violence. Because our emphasis is on being role models for a social change process, the work being done in the training is very deep and personal. The men practiced listening to women, a remarkably simple, but profoundly moving experience for everyone. A brainstorm and group discussion about being a man revealed the advantages and disadvantages for fitting in and stepping out of the "box" of masculinity. And the story of male socialization from the point of view of the little boy helped the group develop deeper insights into the root of male violence. The men then practiced telling stories about their own experiences with violence, further breaking the silence and contradicting the shame and isolation. The emotions tapped were moving for everyone. We ended the day with our bamboo ritual, planting the pole into a pot with each person adding a stone representing their commitment to the vision of non-violence and gender equality.

We are excited by the impacts this training will have on men, women and communities in Liberia. And the Male Involvement Project in Liberia has the potential to be a powerful model of what can be accomplished when Men's Resources International is able to partner with an existing program with the staff and resources for widespread dissemination and institutional support.

In commitment and faith,

— Steven Botkin, Executive Director
Men's Resources International, USA

Note: For a compilation of all blog entries with photos from Steven and James in Liberia, click here.

Posted by Daniel at February 6, 2007 10:17 PM


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