In most of Tanzanian communities, rigid gender norms and perceptions of what it means to be a man or a woman, have been encouraging some men and boys to engage in high-risk undertakings, overlook Gender-Based Violence (GBV), grant them the power to initiate and dictate sexual terms; making it difficult for women to negotiate safe sex and protect themselves from GBV and harmful traditional practices, including, child marriage, teenage pregnancy and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
It is in this context that CDF is taking engagement of men and boys at the core of its interventions to enable them challenge and raise awareness to their peers and community as whole to end harmful traditional practices such FGM, child marriage, teenage pregnancy, and increasing use of Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Services (SRHRS) among women while reducing violence against women and children.
CDF as a member of Men Engage Africa Network and secretariat of MenEngage Tanzania Network believe that working with men and boys is one of the key interventions towards achieving gender equality, where welfare of women and children, and men themselves are strengthened and sustainably protected. In order to improve our programing and learn with others, we do believe that mainstreaming the engagement of men and boys in violence prevention has a positive impact in improving health and wellbeing of women and children, and men themselves. If men and boys choose to speak out violence against women and children, they can change the attitudes and behaviours of their peers and community as whole, and consequently transformative impact for the lives of women and children in all spheres of life.
MenEngage Tanzania (MET) is an an umbrella network that brings together 25 partner organisations that work towards engaging men and boys to promote gender equality and end gender based violence within Tanzania. The organisations work on gender based violence (GBV), women’s rights, youth and children’s rights, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Services (SRHS).
The network was established in November 2014, following series of consultative meetings between the secretariat (Children’s Dignity Forum) and Sonke Gender Justice. MET is supported by Sonke Gender Justice which is the Secretariat of MenEngage Africa.
- To promote inter- and intra-network collaboration between MenEngage partner organisations on issues related to engaging men and boys for gender equality, health and human rights;
- To improve capacity of MenEngage partner organisations to engage men and boys for gender equality, health and human rights;
- To strengthen coordination among MenEngage partner organisations, Government, development partners and other stakeholders at all levels; and
- To mobilise constituencies of MenEngage partner organisations for common advocacy goals.
Since 2014, MET partner organisations have been strengthened with promising practices and sharing lessons learned from existing policies and strategies aimed at engaging men and boys in transforming harmful gender stereotypes, masculinities, social norms, attitudes and behaviours that underlie and perpetuate violence against women and children particularly girl child. Besides, MET has been conducting community sensitisation campaigns and media advocacy with a particular emphasis on the role of men and boys to end GBV, community custodians and policy/law makers to advocate for safer and healthier socio-economic undertakings and friendly laws and policies that protect children and women from all forms of violence.