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Friday, April 3, 2009

Live from MenEngage Rio: Gender and Masculinities in Post-Conflict Settings

Posted by Theresa Castillo

Throughout the day, the one salient theme echoed by many of the presenters was the concept of privilege—reminding me that it is impossible to talk about gender without referencing power and who holds it.

For those of us who develop gender programs, we must be aware of the social, political, and economic dynamics that exist within a community. Several research documents explore these complicated dynamics and we should rely upon them to inform our work.

In the session “Gender and Masculinities in Post-Conflict Settings,” presenters described the extreme violence that young men and boys experience daily in the most poverty- stricken areas. The stories they told were overwhelming. While the research presented was moving, informative, and demonstrated the great demand for targeted services, there was no guidance given for implementing programs focused on men and boys in these settings.

Traditionally, there has been a dearth of guiding documents in this area. However, recently MAP has made great efforts to address these issues, through its work to engage men and boys in post-conflict and emergency settings.

Our curriculum provides a space for health and social service providers to discuss and plan for these different circumstances, considering the cultural, social, and political contexts that impact gender-based violence and the HIV epidemic.

This session has made me more hopeful that in the future we can share our best practices and come up with effective strategies to help this community of young men and boys.

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