Positive Masculinities: Working With Young Men to Combat Gender Based Violence in Kikuyu Sub-county

CEEC with support from DKA Austria, for the project “Positive Masculinities: Working with young men to combat gender based violence in Kikuyu Sub-County” held a four day training in Kikuyu town from 16th-19th November 2015 on gender concepts, gender based violence and  positive masculinities. The trainees were twenty seven (27) young men from Kinoo/ Uthiru, Sigona, Karai, Nachu and Kikuyu wards who are members of church based youth groups involved in performing arts.

CEEC previous interaction with the youth in Kikuyu Sub-county in 2014 revealed that the main perpetrators of gender based violence are in the youth age bracket. Additionally, young men are engaging in crime, alcohol and drug abuse. Flawed masculinities and male disempowerment was seen to be the root of the vice thus the need to help the “generation of lost young men” to reclaim their dignity, self-worth and develop a healthy sense of identity. This project is a response to a request by trainees in the previous phase to reach out to a wider constituency of the youth. They felt that the knowledge, information and skills they had acquired are invaluable and very much needed by every young man not only in Kikuyu Sub County but the entire country. To appeal to the young people, the project will use performing arts to not only disseminate the message but also nurture youth talent.

On their last day of training, the trainees were joined by trainees from previous phase to come up with ward based action plans ahead of the 16 days of activism against gender based violence which will be marked across the wards through theatre and walks. At the end of the training the youth accepted that there is a problem with the socially constructed perceptions of masculinities which necessitated need for change of mindset and deconstruction of the same.

As one participant noted “We have shunned laziness, domestic violence, self-pity, alcoholism and all the other avenues that some men tend to vent their hopelessness to when they fail to live up to the traditional roles of a man. Now that we are well equipped with concepts of positive masculinity, we shall move out to our wards and chapa (hold) shows depicting positive masculinity and how it helps our societies” Ng’ang’a Njenga. 

Click here to view the gallery.