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Friday, March 6, 2009

CHAMPION Project Launches in Tanzania

What can communities do to help men become part of the solution for healthier families? These and other questions were debated at the launch of the EngenderHealth-led CHAMPION Project in Tanzania on February 17. More than 170 guests gathered at the Mövenpick Hotel in Dar es Salaam for the interactive event. The five-year CHAMPION Project, supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), inspires men to become partners and leaders in combating some of the most serious reproductive health challenges in Tanzania, including HIV and AIDS.

“Men have long been acknowledged as providers, central players in the community, and on the world stage. But far less attention has been paid to men’s roles in promoting the health of the family.”
–Robert Cunnane, Director of the USAID Mission in Tanzania

Each invitation for the launch had the message “Be part of the solution” and a puzzle piece, which attendees were asked to bring to the event. At the launch, the puzzle was completed and revealed a photo of a male champion, a man who had taken an active, positive role in promoting health in his family and community. The completed puzzle illustrates that it takes a community to create champions. Other such champions were featured in a photo exhibition spread throughout the venue.

Officiating at the event, the Honorable Samwel Sitta, Speaker of Tanzania’s National Assembly, noted that harmful gender stereotypes had greatly affected the country’s health systems and the health of individual citizens, accelerating the HIV epidemic.

Other attendees included Robert Cunnane, USAID Mission Director in Tanzania; Fatma Hadfidh Mrisho, Executive Chairman of the Tanzania Commission on AIDS; other government officials; and representatives of the donor community and religious organizations.

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