What does it mean to be a man in the 21st century? It’s a hot topic right now with the #MeToo movement. In many parts of Africa it can be a life-and-death question.
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), including Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting (FGM/C), is still rife across a number of African nations – including in many churches.
Sabine Nkusi and Uwezo Lele, from Tearfund’s Protection and Gender Unit, helped to run a course called Transforming Masculinities in Chad. Sabine wondered how well the men, many of them church leaders, would respond to an invitation to have their models of masculinity challenged…
‘It’s the first day of the three day course. As my colleague Uwezo asks what expectations participants have, Pastor Enoch* speaks up: “I don’t know why you want to transform us men. Do you want to make us women?” I get the feeling that Pastor Enoch is speaking for a number of the men present, many of whom are looking nervous about what’s to come.
‘He continues, “There are more pressing issues to talk about, such as how do we bring the gospel to the lost souls?” Pastor Enoch keeps sharing his thoughts throughout these three days, but his tone begins to change.
‘My colleague Uwezo Lele is delivering the training. What’s being discussed has huge consequences for women. However, the men present need to hear these thoughts from a man’s perspective, so I’m glad we will be working together.