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FORUT affiliates to new global network for gender equality

A global network - MenEngage - for involving men in promoting gender equality is now being established. FORUT Norway has joined the network.

The new network has been initiated by a core group of 8-9 international NGOs in cooperation with selected UN agencies. Following preparatory work during the last couple of years the ambition is now to enrol NGOs all over the world in the MenEngage network.

Regional consultations have been held in Asia, Africa, the Americas and in Europe, where a broad spectre of voluntary organizations have met to discuss how best to organize the network in the respective regions. The regional consultation for Europe was held in Stockholm, Sweden in the middle of January, and more than 70 participants from most of the countries of Europe met to set up the European branch of MenEngage.

After this meeting FORUT Norway has registered as member of MenEngage. Dag Endal represented FORUT at the meeting: - We see that there is a lot to gain from being member of such a global network. We meet organizations that are experienced in a broad variety of strategies and methods to promote gender equity. And the most important is that many organizations have shown that it is possible to mobilize men to challenge prevailing images of masculinity and change men’s behaviour. The idea is that such changes will not only benefit women and children of a family, but benefit men themselves, says Dag Endal.

FORUT has now started programs in Malawi, together with the government and a number of NGOs. – Our focus in Malawi is alcohol and drug prevention, but closely linked to the prevention of gender-based violence, risky sexual behaviour and HIV/AIDS. We aim at integrating these issues, and then mobilize men to talk to men, to mobilize men and to change men.

In its new website MenEngage is presented as an alliance of non-governmental organizations that seek to engage men and boys in effective ways to reduce gender inequalities and promote the health and well-being of women, men and children. NGOs which intend to affiliate to the MenEngage network, must subscribe to a number of core principles, eg. engage men as care-givers, work in alliance with existing women’s rights processes, acknowledge the vulnerabilities of men and realize that men are also suffering from non-equitable and violent versions of manhood.

NGOs from developing countries are invited to join with the network by using the registration function at their web site. You will then be put in touch with the regional MenEngage branch in your area.

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