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Positive masculinity one of the solutions to gender-based violence


Dec 15, 2023

BUJUMBURA December 14th (ABP) – Positive masculinity is one of the solutions against gender-based violence (GBV), that is what the Burundi Men engage network advocates, a civil society organization committed to positive masculinity, during a panel organized last week, as part of 16 days of activism against violence against women and girls.

Thus, according to the coordinator of that network, Augustin Niyongabo, the role of man is essential. He explains that if the fight against that violence is only undertaken by women, the fight against GBV is doomed to failure, it does not lead to tangible solutions at a time when the man, often the author of the violence, is not directly involved in that struggle.

He also indicated that if a child or a woman is raped, there is always a man who is the victim. However, he noted, men are among the decision-makers who make the laws. They can initiate updated regulations to effectively combat GBV.

Unfortunately, at the level of the Burundi MenEngage network, we consider that the weight of traditions, especially in countries with a patriarchal system including Burundi, constitutes one of the contributing factors.

Educational support from a young age on responsibility against GBV is recommended to circumvent that system. At least that is the opinion of Patrick Vyamungu, coordinator of the PADANE project within Action Santé pour tous Magara yacu, (AST), the association which provides the executive secretariat of the Burundi Men Engage network.

Mr. Vyamungu advocates education in good habits, starting from early childhood. He notes that civil society associations, national and international NGOs concentrate more efforts on adults, whose margins of change in mentality are limited since they were educated in the old system: sprinkled with stereotypes linked to tradition.

For him, early childhood is crucial for education for gender equality. He proposes introducing programs into school education from nursery school, which set the rules not to be exceeded by introducing prohibitions. Burundi Men Engage having highlighted the role of boys and men in the fight against gender-based violence, while calling on men and boys to take action to denounce all forms of violence and injustice against women by leading by example.

According to figures put forward by the network, out of 120 countries examined on gender equality, 50% of them do not have laws that punish discrimination against women. And, according to global estimates each year, 250,000,000 women and girls around the world suffer physical and sexual violence, more than 4 out of 5 women live in a country where there is no legal protection against GBV. The Burundi Men Engage network is made up of around twenty diverse associations, namely male and female associations, engaged in the protection of children’s rights.