Rwanda to launch the Global MenEngage Symposium, an event about masculinities and gender equality #rwanda #RwOT

Representatives of national, regional and international feminist movements, women rights activists across the World will attend the Ubuntu Symposium- the Third Global MenEngage symposium also known as the Ubuntu Symposium to be launched in Kigali, Rwanda, on November 10-12, 2020.

Over a hundred participants are to be gathered physically in Rwanda while the rest of the world participates in the event virtually, due to measures to curb the spreading of covid19 pandemic.

The 'Ubuntu' Symposium seeks to advance feminist approaches to engage men and boys in advancing women's rights, gender and social justice.

The event is organized by the Global MenEngage Alliance and co-organized by the Rwanda Men's Resource Centre (RWAMREC), the Rwanda MenEngage Network (RWAMNET) and MenEngage Africa.

This year, for the first time, the event is organized in Africa. Originally intended to bring thousands of national and internal members of NGOs, CSOs and human rights activists in Kigali, Ange Marie Nyiransabimana, Youth engagement program coordinator within CVA ( Citizen Voice and Actions), a civil society organization member  of Rwamnet, has explained.

However, due to COVID-19 containment measures, the event organizers have opted to launch a series of events combining in-person and virtual meetings from November 2020 until June 2021.

While mobilizing the youths in Kigali to attend the symposium this Monday, November 9, 2020, Nyiransabimana said, youths need to acquire knowledge on gender issues early.

She said: 'The concept of gender equality is misunderstood in most people.  Some think that it applies to married couples or those who are about to marry but even if you are 12 years old, in the future you will be 20 where you will need to know about gender. We want attitudes to be changed since we are young to avoid future challenges.'

Shumbusho Thomas, a student at the University of Rwanda, College of Science and Technology, said he is ready to benefit a lot from the conference as it will focus on everyday life, how men can behave and promote gender equality.

Shumbusho said, he is ready to share the information about the symposium and encourage his colleagues to attend the activities related to it.

Kansiime Pretty, involving in programs aiming at engaging men and boys in fighting teen pregnancies, urges the youths to participate in the conference as it important to them.

'We have found that when discussing about teenage pregnancies, sometimes people like to focus only on the girls and how they could behave. However, the boys are the key players in these unplanned pregnancies. In a bid to change the way things are done, we initiated the program involving men and boys which is also the focus of Ubuntu symposium. We would like to work with them to disseminate this information to others so that they can participate in this conference and what will be discussed is important for young people', she said.

The symposium will explore the roles and responsibilities of men and boys to advance a broad range of issues related to women's rights, gender justice, racial justice, economic justice, climate justice, human rights and other social justice issues, according to the RWAMREC officials.

This will be analyzed through five main themes which are Power with, Transformation, Accountability, Intersectionality, Feminisms.

The Symposium participants are from diverse sectors and backgrounds, including activists, researchers, practitioners and students from civil society and international development sector, policymakers, private sector and the donor community.

The previous two symposia helped set the agenda for the work of MenEngage Alliance and its members working to engage men and boys in transforming masculinities and promoting gender equality.

The Ubuntu Symposium is expected to advance the political agenda by affirming need for greater alignment and building common cause with social justice movements globally and nationally who are seeking to achieve a full social justice agenda.

About the Rwanda MenEngage Network (RWAMNET)

RWAMNET is a network of 26 organizations working to promote male engagement in development programs including gender equality, Human rights & GBV prevention, health programs, women's empowerment and others in Rwanda.

RWAMNET is chaired by a steering committee made of six Organizations; and RWAMREC is the fiscal organization that coordinates RWAMNET as the secretariat.

The event is the third of its kind following the two previous Symposia organized in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2009; and in Delhi-India in 2014.

Choosing to co-host the event in Rwanda was linked to the impressive progress the country has made in advancing gender equality and women's empowerment; and its positive track record for hosting successful international events.

About the Rwanda Men's Resource Centre (RWAMREC)

The Rwanda Men's Resource Centre (RWAMREC) is a non-governmental Organization working to promote gender equality, positive masculinities and engaging men to eliminate all forms of men's violence against women and children.

RWAMREC was founded in 2006 and was legally registered in 2008 vby the Ministerial Order No. 114/11 of 3/9/2008. The organization was formed as a response aimed at seeing men become part of the solution and efforts in ending men's violent behavior.

With this concept, the organization worked to change masculinity norms of men and boys to become positive and supportive partners in promoting gender equality in Rwanda.

For the quick registration,here is the link: http://bit.ly/UbuntuSymposium

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