Following are the activities undertaken by the Secretariat and the alliance members:
- Mapping Study by Rozan
Rozan as Secretariat MenEngage Alliance Pakistan conducted a mapping of the organizations working with men and boys for gender equality, ending GBV and VAW. The study titled “Partners for Change” is now in published form and an asset of the Alliance. The purpose of this exercise was to identify those organizations working with the idea of male involvement to promote gender equality. It helped MenEngage Alliance Pakistan for networking/sharing of information and strengthening the capacity of those organizations in working with young boys and men to prevent gender based violence and promote gender equality.
- Symposiums on Exploring ‘Masculinities’
Within Pakistan work on masculinities has been largely limited to programmatic interventions and campaign style initiatives by an only a handful of NGOs. Gender studies departments have yet to acknowledge the existence of this emerging discourse and to place it within the framework of their mainstream curriculum. As a result, academic research in the area is rare and therefore inadequate. What is glaringly absent is an interface between development practitioners, and academic research that can inform and plug into these processes.
To bridge this gap, MenEngage National Alliance in collaboration with UN Women, Rozan and AMAL Human Development Network organized two, two-day symposiums at the Centre of Excellence in Gender Studies (CEGS) Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad and Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology University of Agriculture Faisalabad recently in October 2011. These symposiums provided a ground for future collaboration among the MenEngage Alliance and academia besides introducing the concept of masculinities to students and faculties of Social Sciences especially Gender and Social Studies. Both Universities expressed commitments on future course of actions. Most important of these commitments include launching a separate course on the subject of ‘masculinities’ by departments of Gender Studies and Social Sciences to encourage further academic research in the area of Masculinities and Gender Based Violence (GBV).
- Capacity Building Sessions for Members
In 6th MEP meeting, it was suggested by the members that due to novelty of the subject of masculinities in Pakistani context, members from diverse areas need to be going through continuous capacity building interventions. Secretariat decided to hold capacity building sessions with members in scheduled six monthly meetings. Following are some of the examples.
- Sexuality and Heteronormitivity
The session was facilitated by Mubasher Saeed (ex- FPAP official) who has rich research and implementation experience in the field of sexual and reproductive health and gender. He involved participants in defining gender (with special focus on sexuality) and discussed the “sex” a social construct. He presented on historicizing sexuality where he shared the ways sexuality has been used to maintain social control. The session lasted for 3 hours and 22 MEP members attended the session.
- A monologue on Masculinities
Imran Nafees, from a Lahore based organization named DugDugi presented a monologue on formation of masculinities. He narrated a story of a man in direct speech whose birth was celebrated extravagantly. He keeps on talking about the difference maintained between his sisters and him, preference in education, pressure of not crying, being powerful, and being a real man who cannot be defeated. He continued telling about how he was shaped after marriage and then what happens when he becomes an old man. The narration was followed by a fruitful discussion by all members on how the masculine identity is framed in social context and how it can be challenged and reframed in ways which are harmless for the society as a whole.
- “Mera Naam Hai Mohabat” by Dugdugi
In a society where love and alternate sexualities appear to be a crime and deviation from ‘natural’; Dugdugi came out with an innovative project i.e. “my name is love”, an artist’s residency project on masculinities, self exploration, identity and alternate gender and sexualities. It is an eight minutes documentary wherein two male and five female performers / artists are shown. They are different from the society in terms of their sexual identities and choices. The documentary highlight that these are the different shades of ‘beauty’ and should be acceptable in the society.
Dugdugi is an active member of the MenEngage alliance. It is a Lahore based theatre group of artists, each with their own creative fields, who have joined hands to bring joy to those who need to express themselves, and bring forth their creativity, the less privileged and the survivors of life’s hardships. Dugdugi works to create environments where society can express itself creatively and breathe freely. Dugdugi’s Thematic Areas of Work include Gender, Sexuality, Self Expression and Empowerment.
The initiative aimed to advance the discourse on engaging men and boys for prevention of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and reducing HIV and AIDS vulnerabilities in Pakistan. The combination of research and work with selected truck drivers and artists has resulted in producing a series of moving testimonials and panels that expressed the experiences, hopes and fears of the truck driver respondents in a sensitive and unique manner. The art panels were exhibited at Nomad Gallery Islamabad in June 2011. Representatives from NGOs working on HIV & AIDS, donor organizations, civil society, students and faculty members from Islamabad based universities, SANAM fellows, Government and media activists attended.
AMAL is looking for potential donors to initiate a large scale advocacy project at national and provincial levels to mainstream masculinities and engagement of men and boys for prevention of HIV and AIDS and other STIs with focus on the new emerging challenges after the passage of 18th Amendment Bill by the Parliament of Pakistan.
- “Will the Real Men Please Stand Up” – A Research Study by Rozan
The research study explores life experiences of five men who took some affirmative action in cases of sexual violence against men, women, children and transgender persons in Pakistan.