Marching towards the 2nd MenEngage Global Symposium – Nepal Chapter, 26-27th June
As part of the build up process for the 2nd MenEngage global Symposium 2014 to be held in Delhi, a two day symposium was held in Alfab-House, New Baneshwar, Kathmandu, Nepal to present the developments and achievements made by MenEngage Nepal in the country since 2007 and the various challenges that have come up in the due process of initiating and scaling up of work on the front of engaging men and boys for gender justice. The two day symposium also released the Kathmandu Declaration on the agenda of the role of men and boys in the struggle for gender equality and took a joint decision of adopting certain strategy and plans for the next 2-3 years in Nepal. The Kathmandu Symposium is one of the main events being organised on regional level to draw out key concerns and challenges of working against gender violence and advocating gender justice especially with men and boys within the South Asian Region. The 2nd MenEngage Global Symposium is a follow up to the first symposium that was held in Rio, Brazil in 2009. The 2nd Global Symposium seek to universalize the process of working with men and boys for gender justice. This time the symposium will focus on drawing out key concerns and challenges from the South Asian Region alongside the key concerns and challenges faced by the people across the globe in general.
The two day symposium was jointly organised by MenEnage Nepal, UN-Agencies, INGOs, NGOs and academicians such as Save the Children International, SAFERWORLD, CWIN working in Nepal with about 150 participants representing the 40 district of the Country. Representatives of the South Asian Committee of MenEngage were also present in the symposium.
The opening session of the first day of the symposium mark a general reflection of various stake holders present in the meet on their work experience regarding gender equality and within it locating the role of men and boys in perpetrating as well as fighting against gendered violence against women. The participants and the key note speakers stressed upon various challenges and concerns that they have personally faced in the level of general behavioral pattern, traditional belief system and lack of awareness on gender and sex. Furthermore, the speakers stressed upon the need to recognize the need to work with men and boys in the struggle for gender equality. The experiences and achievements in engaging men and boys through the MenEngage Nepal network were also one of the key knowledge that was shared. Also many of the stake holders proposed and agreed to take the agenda of working with men and boys for gender equality a step further by adopting it as one of its development goals. Ideas and suggestions were invited to help contextualize the agenda in the context of the local population and cultural practice of Nepal in order to draft the Kathmandu Declaration.
Panel discussions and brainstorm sessions were facilitated through the symposium amongst the various stake holders that were present and certain action points were formulated as part of its strategic plan for the next 2-3 years. Emphasis was laid on targeting education and media as a sector that could also serve as a channel to disseminate information and to bring awareness among population. Steps to provide safe environment for girls in school and to introduce curriculum that promotes gender egalitarian ethos were proposed. It was a common belief that children and adolescent are the most vulnerable section of population who fall prey to the patriarchal and violent ridden social practices and norms. And that care must be taken to guide and provide them an opportunity to refrain from inducting gender negative ethos and habits. The Panel presentation and group discussion in the two day symposium were categorised and revolved around seven themes on which various action points and strategy planning was raised and finalised viz: