The Uncommon Man

February 10, 2007

MRI in Liberia: Ministry of Gender & Development

Training at the Ministry of Gender & Development

It's a day off today, and we spent the morning getting a driving tour of the city and surrounding communities. The combined traumas of poverty and 14 years of war are hard to fathom. And yet, life goes on. The streets are teeming with people, who are coming out and back from hiding in their houses or refugee camps. Burned-out buildings are everywhere. So much has been destroyed. The harsh realities of day-to-day life are against a backdrop of powerful and poignant rebuilding of lives and the country.

Yesterday's day of training at the Ministry of Gender and Development was very exciting. (The working air conditioning system definitely made our work easier.) The participants were engaged and inspired by our popular education approach to engaging men as allies with women in ending gender-based violence (GBV). While the concept of men's involvement is increasingly being recognized as important in this work, everyone is hungry for effective strategies and skills for actually doing it. By the end of the day, the 70 men and women had a personal and emotional experience of how men can be powerful allies with women, and were now a network ready for collective action. Next week we will be meeting with the Ministry's Inter-Agency GBV Task to begin planning a national campaign that can mobilize these networks of individuals, organizations and men's and women's actions groups.

Tomorrow we leave Monrovia (the capital) for more rural regions, and will support the IRC staff that participated in our training of trainers in conducting similar trainings with the men and women from these communities.

Our work in Liberia is touching many sectors, from the Ministry of Gender and Development to grassroots men's and women's action groups. We are deeply honored to be part of a growing movement in Liberia of healing and accountability for the legacies of violence. And we are grateful to the International Rescue Committee for providing the support to bring us here and the staff to work with the men and women throughout the country.

Steven Botkin
Executive Director
Men's Resources International

To read a compilation of all blog entries from Liberia with pictures, click here.

Posted by Daniel at February 10, 2007 01:12 AM


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