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Gender-based violence (GBV) is a global pandemic that affects one in three women in their lifetime. It is disproportionately perpetrated by men against women, and is deeply rooted in gender inequality and women’s lack of power relative to men. Although change is slowly taking place, men and boys must be increasingly involved to work alongside women and girls to support gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

The training on engaging men and boys being part of efforts towards ending violence against women and girls was organized and implemented by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Nigeria, being an implementing partner on the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative. The training was facilitated for women and girl’s rights CSOs and took place in Calabar, Cross River State and in Ebonyi State in the month of June, 2021.

Training Objectives:

1. To strengthen capacities of women and girl’s rights CSOsadvocating for SGBV/VAWG/HP/SRHR to better engage with the male counterpart and discuss ways of EVAWG in the state/communities.
2. To build the capacities of these groups on how they canengage with the men and establish a strong alliance with them on issues of SGBV/VAWG/HP/SRHR.
3. To strengthen participants knowledge on masculinity, power relations and how to engage with the men in the advancement and promotion of activities that preventsSGBV/VAWG/HP

Training Methodology:

The methodology used in delivering the training are:

• Individual Pre- and Post-Training Assessment 
• Debate
• Group and individual presentations
• Plenary discussions 

Training Module and Delivery:

I. Module 1:

Here the participants understanding of key concepts such as masculinity and power relations were enhanced by providing a relationship between these concepts and their violence against women and girls. gendered approach to men’s violence must involve an interrogation of men and masculinities. There is global research on men and masculinities that demonstrates a strong link between the definition of masculinity and manhood in a society and the level of violence in that society. It is clear that while some forms of masculinity encourage violent behaviour, men can construct alternative models of masculinity that are non-violent and egalitarian.

The module also highlighted on the significance and rationale for engaging men in the programmes and activities designed to end violence against women and girls. This rationale provides the basis for involving men as partners in violence prevention. The module explained that the main reasons for using men to educate other men was that men’s attitudes and behavior are shaped in powerful ways by their male peers. Also, male educators act as role models for other men by practicing non-violent expressions of masculinity and demonstrating respect for women. Men possess an insider’s knowledge of the workings of masculinity and men are likely to be perceived by other men as more credible and thus they will be listened to more.   

When men work with men, they are demonstrating responsibility for action against men’s violence against women and thus they lessen the demands on women to challenge men’s violence.

II. Module 2:

This module discussed what must be fundamentally understood about men in order to engage them which included Understanding Men’s privilege which is to say that men benefit from gender inequalities and they believe that they are entitled to be serviced by women. Also Understanding men’s interest is another thing we must understand to engage men. It is generally well recognized that dominant groups have different interests in continuity, as opposed to change, when compared with subordinate groups. 

Following the group debate on whether men should be engaged or not, this helped to highlight some roles men could play. The module also discussed on the different roles’ men could play in ending violence against women. Such roles discussed includesbeing role model in community education, Facilitators of workshops, antiviolence campaign activists, men’s behavioral change facilitators and facilitators of boys programmes. Group exercises and plenary presentations enhanced this session.

The training was concluded with the line of thoughts that full gender equality will not be achieved in the world at large, until violence against women is eradicated.

And if engaging men in violence prevention is to be supported, we need to ensure that it lives up to the two key benefits we hope to achieve. One is that working with men will ‘help to transform gender relations’ and two that it will ‘complement ongoing work for the advancement of women’. Also in involving men in men’s violence prevention, we should ensure not to replicate the same structures and processes that reproduce the violence we are challenging.

 The training came to end with group photographs after the group presentation by participants