MenEngage Alliance South Asia

Formed in 2007, MEASA is a regional alliance composed of 5 country networks – Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka with over 200 organisational members in the region and approximately 100 individual members. Afghanistan and Maldives are also developing their country networks and will join the South Asian Alliance in future. MenEngage Alliance members work collectively and individually toward advancing gender justice, human rights and social justice to achieve a world in which all can enjoy healthy, fulfilling and equitable relationships and their full potential.

since 2011, MenEngage Alliance South Asia has been organizing regular steering committee meetings, as a result of which the regional network has set up democratic processes and structures to organize the regional network.

In 2014, the region hosted 2nd Global Symposium in Delhi, India. Among other advocacy milestones achieved, a book titled Global Masculinities (Routledge 2019) was an output of the Symposium.

Moreover, the regional Steering Committee met in 2015 in Colombo, SriLanka and recently in May 2017, MenEngage Alliance South Asia organized a smaller group face-to-face meeting where the group came together to identify strategic ways forward for the regional network. The deliberations have been finalized in Dhulikhel Nepal in December 2018.

Through our country-level and at regional level, the Alliance seeks to provide a collective voice on the need to engage men and boys in gender equality, to build and improve the field of practice around engaging men in achieving gender justice, and advocating before policymakers at the local, national, regional and international levels.

At South Asian level, MEASA is guided by a Steering Committee which is composed of three members from each country network. The MESA Secretariat is currently hosted by Shirakat – Partnership for Development, Pakistan which is mandated to oversee the implementation of the Alliance’s strategic priorities and plan. This includes coordinating and overseeing thematic working groups as well.

Introduction

Formed in 2007, The MenEngage Alliance South Asia (MEASA) is a regional network, part of the global MenEngage Alliance consisting of dozens of country networks spread across many regions of the world, hundreds of non-governmental organizations, as well as UN partners.

Its members work collectively and individually toward advancing gender justice, human rights and social justice to achieve a world in which all can enjoy healthy, fulfilling and equitable relationships and their full potential. Through its country-level and regional network, MenEngage seeks to provide and create space for a collective voice on the need to engage men and boys in gender equality, to build and improve the field of practice around engaging men in achieving gender justice, and advocating before policymakers at the local, national and regional levels.

The primary focus of the MenEngage Alliance South Asia (MEASA) is strengthening the Alliance and promoting knowledge sharing, capacity development, and collaboration among the organisations both at the regional and national levels. There have been stronger collaborations between national and regional organisations and agencies, such as IPPF-South Asia Regional office and its associates at the country-level, Partners for Prevention, Care International in Sri Lanka and Nepal, and USAID & GTZ in Nepal. MenEngage Alliance South Asia has a strong partnership with various women’s rights organizations, both as members and partners, at both national and regional levels .

The MEASA governance framework comprises of a two-tiered regional governance structure with a Steering Committee and a smaller Executive Working group. The Steering Committee comprises of three representatives from each country network (four at present) as decided by the country alliance in respective countries, a representative from the global steering committee and a representative from the regional secretariat.

With the view to have collective efforts to address the structural barriers of gender equality, MenEngage Alliance South Asia and its members have been, since its inception in 2007, continuously working collectively and individually towards addressing these concerns primarily with its value addition to “transforming masculinities and engaging boys and men in gender equality and women’s rights”.

MenEngage Alliance South Asia has more than 250 CSOs and individuals as members, hence has the potential to bring about the social change. Since 2011, MenEngage Alliance South Asia has been organizing regular steering committee meetings, as a result of which the regional network has set up democratic processes and structures to organize the regional network.

In 2014, the region hosted 2nd Global Symposium in Delhi, India. Among other advocacy milestones achieved, a book titled Global Masculinities (Routledge 2019) was an output of the Symposium.

Moreover, the regional Steering Committee met in 2015 in Colombo, Sri Lanka and recently in May 2017, MenEngage Alliance South Asia organized a smaller group face-to-face meeting where the group came together to identify strategic ways forward for the regional network. The deliberations have been finalized in Dhulikhel Nepal in December 2018.

MEASA’s work remains responsive to regional and national realities, rooted in local wisdom, receptive to global best practices and in harmony with MenEngage Alliance’s Global Symposia Calls for Action, consensus built for action in previous MEASA meetings, treaty body recommendations, UN initiatives including UN OHCHR’s recommendations on engaging men and boys for ending gender inequality and gender-based violence.

 

Some of the thematic areas are given below:

•  Promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights

•  Increasing HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment

•  Ending violence against women and girls

•  Combating homophobia/transphobia and advocating for LGBTI rights

•  Reducing forms of violence between men and boys

•  Preventing child sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and trafficking

•  Supporting men’s positive involvement in maternal and child health, as fathers or caregivers

•  Addressing macro-level policies that perpetuate gender inequalities

•  Peacebuilding and social cohesion

1. Gender as relational: 

We believe that men, along with women, should be engaged in achieving gender equality and in advancing the rights, health and well-being of women and girls.

2. Questioning men’s violence against women: 

We are dedicated to engaging men and boys to end violence against women and to questioning or challenging violent versions of manhood.

3. Promoting existing UN mandates: 

We are dedicated to engaging men and boys to fulfill the mandates, statements of action, and principles of the International Conference on Population and Development, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Commission on the Status of Women statements (48th session), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and working collectively to encourage governments to do the same.

4. Engaging men as caregivers: 

We are dedicated to promoting more equitable participation by men and boys in caregiving, the care of children and domestic tasks.

5. Working as allies with existing women’s rights organizations: 

We are committed to working as allies with women and women’s rights organizations to achieve equality for women and girls.

6. Sexual diversity and sexual rights: 

We are dedicated to promoting cultures of masculinity that respect sexual diversity and the sexual and reproductive rights of all, and that engage men so that concerns for reproductive health and contraception are more evenly shared between men and women.

7. The vulnerabilities of men: 

We believe that the specific needs and experiences of men and boys have often not been well understood nor taken into account in the development of public policy or professional practice across a wide range of areas. We believe that men and boys are made vulnerable by non-equitable and violent versions of manhood.

8. Engaging men from a positive perspective: 

We believe that all people would benefit from recognition of these issues and appropriate action to transform non-equitable and violent versions of manhood and redress power inequalities related to gender. We seek to build examples of men already acting in more gender-equitable and non-violent ways.

9. Participation: 

We will strive to include and take into account the voices of men and women, boys and girls, at the community level, and the voices of community-level NGOs.

10. Non-discrimination: 

We will actively advocate against, question and seek to overcome, sexism, social exclusion, homophobia, racism or any form of discriminatory behavior against women or gay/bisexual/transgender men and women, or on any other basis.

11. Transparency: 

We will be transparent, honest, fair and ethical in all of our actions, including making public our sources of funding and annual budget.

12. Collaboration: 

We seek to work in collaboration, with open dialogue about institutional differences and achieving consensus whenever possible.

13. Evidence base: 

We seek to build on evidence-based approaches to engaging men and boys.

14. Human rights perspective and life cycle approach: 

We recognize the need to apply a human rights perspective in all activities and to take into account a lifecycle and ecological approach that incorporates both the individual as well as the broader social and structural contexts that shape gender inequalities.

15. Code of Conduct: 

MenEngage designed a Code of Conduct to be used as a guiding document for our regions. This instrument is meant to be used to help members remain consistent with the values and principles of the Alliance, both in their personal lives and in our professional and public work. It has been signed by all of our steering committee members

Objective 1:

To ensure an inclusive, enabling Policy Environment to sustain and scale up towards transformative GE through engaging men and boys

Promoting the engagement of men in positions of authority as advocates to support the establishment of a legal and policy framework that guarantees gender equality, prohibits and eliminates discrimination and prevents and responds to all forms of gender-based violence in all spheres of life;

Engaging men who have influence within public institutions relevant to the prevention of and response to gender-based violence to address bias in such institutions and adopt gender-transformative approaches. This includes institutions in education, health, social protection, law enforcement and justice systems; 

Mobilizing men and boys for gender equality and the elimination of gender-based violence at community and societal level, in partnership with women’s rights movements.

Objective 2:

To build an effective community of practices on men and masculinities, working in solidarity with the broader feminist movement

Engaging men and boys as agents for achieving gender equality and eliminating gender-based violence must be based on a critical analysis of the privileges they enjoy as a result of discriminatory power structures, and re-engage them as allies and partners of women’s rights discourse; to support the human rights of women and girls and gender equality. In the process, the benefits for men and boys of such a transformation will also be realized, including more positive, non-violent, equal and inclusive gender relations based on full respect for the human rights and dignity of all. 

Objective 3:

To promote non-violent, equitable and inclusive notions and practices of manhood through a socio-ecological approach towards dismantling patriarchy

Engaging men and boys is a critical element of strategies to dismantle patriarchy in order to achieve gender equality and eliminate gender-based violence against women and girls. Clearly, the transformation of beliefs, attitudes and behaviours of men and boys is necessary to achieve these goals. In order to be transformative, interventions that focus on men and boys must challenge unequal power relations and structures, based on the recognition of how patriarchy is privileging men and boys and oppressing women and girls. In the absence of these premises, there is a risk that initiatives to engage men and boys may preserve and reinforce gender inequality and patriarchal and discriminatory gender stereotypes. In the same vein, interventions focused on men and boys should be designed in consultation with women’s rights advocates to make sure their concerns and perspectives are considered.

What We Believe

MEN AND BOYS MUST ACT
In order to achieve gender justice for all, we believe men and boys need to be part of the solution as allies
to women’s rights and other social justice movements. Equality is only possible if we work together.

FEMINIST-INFORMED APPROACH
We advocate for approaches that are grounded firmly in feminist, human rights-based principles, and build on
the work of women’s rights organizations and movements.

TRANSFORMING MASCULINITIES
We advocate for approaches that critically challenge and transform patriarchal gender norms and power
inequalities across all levels of society.


 

How We Promote Gender Equality