To Be a Man, He Must Take a Stand Against Violence

Today, as we recognize the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, it is important to shine a light on the tremendous progress we are making toward ending violence for good. No matter where we live, we all have a shared responsibility to stop gender-based violence, and changing the way we think about gender is a necessary first step. Ending violence begins with changing beliefs and attitudes that lead to harmful behavior — and it begins with us. But the best way to bring to life the progress that is happening around the world is by introducing you to Daniel Kikoma, a pastor from Tanzania, whose determination to help his community live free of violence and HIV has made him a champion in his own right.

Daniel lives in Shinyanga Urban, a district of Tanzania hard hit by HIV and gender-based violence. For women, gender-based violence is a part of everyday life — approximately 44% of women have experienced physical or sexual violence by their partners in their lifetime. As is the case in many countries, in Tanzania HIV and gender-based violence are inextricably linked. After listening to various members of his congregation, Daniel realized that his own long-held traditional views about men being the head of the household and women needing to obey their husbands unquestionably were not conducive to an equitable, peaceful, or healthy environment within their family or their community.

To help his congregants, Pastor Daniel participated in an EngenderHealth-supported intervention called Men As Partners (MAP) through the CHAMPION Project, which is designed to involve men in preventing the spread of HIV in Tanzania. As part of this program, he learned how harmful traditional ideas about gender roles can lead to unhealthy relationships, place men’s and women’s health at risk, and perpetuate an endless cycle of violence.

To read more, please visit President and CEO Pamela Barnes’ blog on the Huffington Post.