Report on experiences in the Amandlamadoda (menpower) sexual and reproductive project in Umkhanyakude, KwaZulu-Natal
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This report documents the experiences of participants and staff in the Amandlamadoda project in Umkhanyakude district. Three methods used to collect data for documenting the experiences of participants and staff in the project. These included the review of key project documents, three focus group discussions with men in the community and executive committee members in Umkhanyakude and four key informant interviews with previous and current project staff. The four main strategies that were used in implementing the project were using sport as an entry and engagement strategy, providing men's community education through
public debates and dialogue, undertaking training and capacity development and enterprise development. Some of the lessons learned from Amandlamadoda project were to understand how people perceive things, skills and abilities to identify problems and to generate solutions to them, changing behaviours with regard to the way men relate with women, an opportunity for men to talk about issues that may be worrying them, ability to set personal goals and skills to identify talent among younger men. Overall,
Amandlamadoda has helped men to reflect on their roles in gender violence and HIV/AIDS and to have self-efficacy in dealing with these challenges. Men in Umkhanyakude have learned important and empowering lessons from the Amandlamadoda project. The most exciting and interesting experiences that men had with the project were mainly related to the four strategies which were used in implementing the project. Amandlamadoda was successful in using sport as an entry and engagement strategy, providing men's community education through public debates and dialogue, conducting training and capacity development and enterprise
development. Problems faced by men in Umkhanyakude were prioritized as crime, poverty, unemployment, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, social breakdown, lack of a training institution, child and women abuse, lobolo and marriage issues, boredom, lack of
self-esteem, faction fighting and motor vehicle accidents. The strategies to deal with problems faced by men in Umkhanyakude include building local training capacity, facilitating enterprise development, starting enterprises, business education, keep men occupied in sport, generate income, gender education, life skills and health education and community service. The main impacts of the Amandlamadoda programme in Umkhanyakude includes changing men's attitudes towards the use of condoms, changing cultural stereotypes and attitudes regarding violence against women and increasing participation in project activities. The recommendations to strengthen the project include collaboration with other stakeholders working on gender issues, appointing a structured team dedicated and employed for the programme, increasing the reach of the project in the rest of the district, continuing the training, capacity building and support for the men and obtaining office space, more funds and resources to scale up the project.