Activists from East and Southeast Asia strengthen skills to transform masculinities for gender justice

Activists and trainers in East and Southeast Asia recently met in Bangkok to strengthen their knowledge and skills to transform masculinities to prevent gender-based violence (GBV) and to promote gender justice. The regional ‘Transforming Masculinities for Gender Justice Training of Trainers Workshop’ was held in Bangkok on 5–8 November 2012 by the RLC (Regional Learning Community for Transforming Masculinities to Promote Gender Justice in East & Southeast Asia) with support from Partners for Prevention. More than 30 activists who are working to promote gender justice and human rights in Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Laos, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor Leste and Viet Nam took part in the training of trainers workshop. “The workshop was empowering and enriching. It served as a space for collective learning, self-evaluating and reflecting, revisiting and understanding world views, building friendship and solidarity, and planting seeds of activism. It is very important for activists to have this space. This was not the typical top-down training workshop, ” said Tura Lewai, regional health programme coordinator of FSPI, Fiji. The main objectives of the workshop were: • to deepen understanding of masculinities, patriarchy, gender power relations and their links with other forces of oppression, violence, and political, socio-economic, cultural, and religious structures and systems; • fostering critical consciousness, on-going self-reflection, in order to translate this collective understanding into effective action; • challenging beliefs, attitudes, and practices, confronting the status quo, in an attempt to inspire activism to stand up against forces that sustain many forms of injustice, including gender injustice; and • building skills to facilitate learning sessions based on the regional curriculum. “The training helped me a lot in gaining self-confidence to conduct trainings on gender justice because it provided such a safe environment, and all community members were very supportive. We were all learning from each other,” said Panha Sok, Director, Banteay Srei, Cambodia. The RLC is a community of practitioners and activists working together to develop a collective approach to knowledge creation and skills building for transforming masculinities and gender power relations to prevent GBV and promote gender justice in East & Southeast Asia. The collective learning process aims to inspire and support national actions to contribute to long-term social change. Practitioners taking part in the RLC have generated and shared their knowledge through a series of community learning processes, including curriculum development, trainings, networking, mentoring and partnerships. The knowledge generated through this initiative has been synthesised in a regional curriculum ‘Toward Gender Justice: Transforming Masculinities’. This curriculum has been developed by, with and for practitioners, activists, advocates, experts, researchers, individuals and organizations from the region working to promote gender justice and eliminate GBV. For more information or for a working draft of the RLC curriculum, contact: Khamsavath.Chanthavysouk@one.un.org

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