One of the newest and most important aspects of ABPD’s integrated programming is titled New Masculinities. This program works with men to address the injustices and damage caused by misogyny and “macho” culture on both women and men. The goal is to equip men in our partner communities with the knowledge and tools necessary to respect the women in their lives, respect themselves, and break down barriers to allow themselves to not be limited by machismo. This program complements women’s empowerment programming that works with women to support them in raising their voices, defending their rights, and becoming strong leaders at home and in their communities. Since implementing these programs, we have seen a dramatic rise in women’s participation in community governance and management structures. The impact of these programs, although quantifiable to a degree, is felt most by participants in the changes they see in their communities and their own lives. Here are a couple stories highlighting the effect of these programs:
Ana Pichaya, a community health promoter from Simajuleu, told us that in January of this year there was a change in community authorities. The new authorities stated that they would no longer allow women to participate in ABPD trainings. During a community meeting, a participant in the New Masculinities program stood up and shared what he had learned about women’s rights, that men shouldn’t be afraid of empowered women, that his relationship with his wife had improved since they both began participating in ABPD programs, and that he was opposed to the prohibition of women’s participation in ABPD programs. In the end, the community was able to convince the authorities to change their minds and allow women to continue participating in ABPD programs.
Mario Set Capir, a participant in the New Masculinities program in Chijacinto, shared that, after learning about family planning during a workshop, he now understands the risks he exposed his wife to by having three children back-to-back and that he regrets having done so. He added that he and his wife have decided not to have any more children. His wife was interviewed independently and she told us that Mario now spends more time with his children, helps out with the chores around the house, and shows more affection to his family than he ever did before.