Non-Traditional Male Allies: Engaging Men and Boys in the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Communities.
An Amplify Change Story of Change
Gender AwarenessTrust rolled out the Amplify Change supported Project in Chikun, Giwa and Jema’a Local Government Areas of Kaduna State in August 2016 on Stigma Reduction and Economic Empowerment of women and Girls Survivors of Gender BasedViolence (GBV). with the aim of contributing to the advancement of the health,economic and social well-being of women and girls survivors of gender based violence as well as to challenge Stigma, discriminatory attitudes and lawsaffecting women and girl survivors of GBV in the above mentioned areas.
As part of project implementation, sensitization and awareness campaigns were carried out in each LGA; on the ills and impact of GBV, Community dialogues were held with men and boys in the 3LGAs on GBV and sexual Reproductive Health Rights of Women and Girls, types and forms of GBV; as well as what can be done to reduce its incidence in their communities.
Six (6) months later after the various community engagements; one hundred and five (105) men and boys volunteered to become Non-Traditional Male Allies to support the campaign against GBV, speak out against it and provide help to survivors in the best possible way that they can in their respective communities.
A 'Male Allies workshop against GBV’was organized for the volunteers who were trained on how to advocate for women and girls’ sexual reproductive health rights (SRHRs), to engage with survivors of GBV and give them relevant support. A subsequent capacity building training was also carried out for the Non-traditional Male Allies on 'engaging community for SRHR' and guiding principles for working with survivors of GBV.
As a mark of their commitment, they later signed a joint declaration committing to reduce GBV incidences and promote SRHR in their communities; where they highlighted activities they will carry out towards reducing GBV based on their contexts.
GAT facilitated the structuring of the group for proper coordination; comprising of the chairman, Vice Chairman and the Secretary; and were each provided with Identity Cards for proper identification by community members.
The Non-Traditional Male Allies kick started their activities with all seriousness carrying out awareness campaigns at the market places and other public places asking community members to report any cases of abuse against women and girls; collaborating with community elders and leaders to help alleviate stigmatization of survivors as well as follow up on reported cases to a logical conclusion.
They soon became the first point of call for any GBV case in their various communities, which clearly made them the entry points for disclosure by a survivor in the community referral system.
Increased Knowledge and Confidence:
“When I voluntarily signed the Joint Declaration as a Non- Traditional Male Ally to engage in activities that will reduce the incidences of GBV in my community; Giwa in September 2017, I had no idea how this was going to greatly affect my life. I suddenly became aware of the mistreatment meted out to women or girls around me and became very interested in any case of abuse of a girl or a woman; I could no longer tolerate it, what used to be ‘none of my businesses became very much a concern to me”. – Yusuf Samaila,Giwa Community, Giwa LGA
“At first I was not sure what to do when I volunteered to be a male Ally, but after all the training received, I became empowered and more confident to speak out against GBV and engage appropriately with survivors as I had been taught”. – Pastor Jerry Yakubu, Kafanchan community, Jema’a LG
Change in Mindsets and attitudes:
A middle aged woman who lives with her husband said she has benefited a lot in her home from the project. She said her husband never used to give her money for up keep for the children or herself while he was still working. She used to manage on her own with the profits she makes by selling provisions in her small kiosk. She said her husband who is a male ally has changed; “he now volunteers in the community along with others to help survivors of violence, and also participates in the frequent meetings heldby GAT in his community” she said “he is now a changed man, he told me he didn’t know it was abusive not to take care of his family, now he doesn’t work anymore but he now gives me money for upkeep when his monthly pension is paid.I am surprised because that is something he has never done before. Thank you very much. He now tells other men not to abuse their wives.” - Mary. Kamazou Community, Chikun LGA.
Engaging men and boys is very key in the fight against Gender Based Violence.