The big trend in developmental work are for sure programs to support women in need. Many NGOs, but also companies highlight the work they do for women. Nothing wrong with it. However, it is equally important to offer men also health awareness programs, trainings on income generating activities and also basic skill development. We do that in specific programs for men, but also in mixed groups. With a great interest by the communities living at the poverty line and a huge impact on their daily life.
Two years ago – under the umbrella of our Making More Health initiative – we launched together with our local NGO partner WA-WA at Lake Victoria/Kenya in Homabay a men’s health program. The program includes specific health training sessions, anti drug activities, work in self help groups, but also concrete income generation training sessions and activities. All sessions have parts for men only, but also parts where men and women equally participate and learn together.
“Here is our third phase in men’s health. After the BSF (black soldier fly breeding which helps to produce chicken food out of biowaste) training, we now give them 3 days old chicks to rear, and explain how to do. We’ll then follow this with table banking. Half of the interest accrued goes for their NHIF cover every month,” explains Cavin, our local NGO partner, from WA-WA.
NHIF is the National Hospital Insurance Fund. Many people in our communities are not able to pay the fees, thus not having any insurance in case they need hospital care. But being able to create a certain safety status for the family in terms of care and a steady income are essential factors for more self confidence, mental health and also the role men play in society.
Drug consumption, violence in the families and suicide are often consequences of huge frustrations coming up when men can not respond to societal expectations, to the role they are asked to play. Due to missing education, poverty, no or low income they can not care for their families as needed. Hopelessness and a negative surrounding often leads to alcohol consumption. So, it is not enough to do anti drug campaigns, but to understand well where are the roots for such behavior and to offer alternatives to the men. Then they have a choice. And that’s what we are looking for and what we can definitely do if we want to make the world more sustainable, shouldn’t we?