Men Community Leaders’ Training On Governance-Burnt Forest

CEEC believes that processes that are not inclusive cannot be sustainable. In Burnt Forest as indeed elsewhere in the country, women have been locked out of important processes including governance which is what informed the project Building the Capacity of Communities in Burnt Forest for Gender Inclusive Civic Engagement and Participatory Governance” which is being supported by GIZ/CPS. Under the project, CEEC carried out a four days’ training of 31 men community leaders from eight farms in Burnt Forest namely Ndungulu, Barekeiwo, Kaplalach, Chuiyat, Kamuyu, Rukuini, Lingway and Kagongobetween 25th and 28th July 2016. This was in acknowledgement of the fact that to promote gender inclusive governance, it is important to work with both men and women so that they can both understand the rationale behind gender inclusive governance. It is also important for women to identify what capacity strengthening they require and for men to identify ways in which they can support the women. This was the background against which this as well as the women’s training (20th and 23rd July 2016) was held.
The training not only covered devolution and the roles of all the elected officials but also an introduction to gender and understanding of masculinities. In sharp contrast to the women, the men had a good understanding of devolution but they did not connect this to gender roles and the socialization process. The session on gender helped them understand how things they considered natural were actually social constructs. A discussion of masculinities and male disempowerment helped them understand how patriarchy was hurting not only women and children but also men themselves. By violating, excluding and discriminating against women, their families, communities and ultimately the country were losing on important resources that only women can provide. It was difficult for the men to appreciate that gender roles were not God ordained but rather prescribed by the society but eventually they came round. They pledged to support women and also sensitize fellow men on the importance of gender inclusive processes.
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