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MAP Digital Stories: South Africa

“I have to take a stand so that society can see that change is inevitable.” --MAP activist

Entering its second decade of democracy, South Africa faces two interconnected epidemics—violence against women and HIV. Spurred by the need for a response to these public health emergencies, and recognizing the centrality of working with young and adult men to making progress, EngenderHealth initiated the Men As Partners® (MAP) Program in 1998. Since then, dozens of organizations have joined to form the MAP Network and now work together in communities across the country.

In July 2005, the Silence Speaks project (of the Center for Digital Storytelling) traveled to South Africa to conduct two digital storytelling workshops with staff and volunteers from EngenderHealth's MAP Network. Participants in Johannesburg and Cape Town wrote and recorded first-person narratives about their lives; chose photos, still images, video clips, and music to illustrate their stories; and learned to edit these materials into the short digital videos presented here. These digital stories are being shown in trainings and public community screenings throughout South Africa, to promote the MAP Network’s efforts to involve men in ending gender-based violence and preventing HIV and AIDS.

The South African MAP Network strives to create a society in which men and women can enjoy equitable, healthy, and happy relationships that contribute to the development of a just and democratic society. The MAP Network does this by encouraging men to reduce their own risk-taking behaviors, take a stand against domestic and sexual violence, and become actively involved in reducing the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS.

To bring about change at all levels of society, the MAP Network uses a range of strategies. These include: conducting street outreach; holding workshops and engaging in community education; undertaking community mobilization activities; improving the quality and availability of HIV services for men; strengthening the organizational capacity of network members; promoting collaboration; working with national, provincial, and local government; and conducting ongoing research, monitoring, and evaluation.

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