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In the last week of September, 182 men graduated from the second cycle of the pilot programme – Action for Equality. For men to graduate from a programme cycle they have to participate in at least 60% of the events that include attending training sessions and them taking personal and collective action to support women in their communities. ECF delivered 100% of programme events to complete the second programme cycle.

This programme cycle ended with action events in every community.  The action events were designed to address the topic “violence as a public health issue”. 220 men across 24 communities demonstrated personal commitment to ending violence through their participation in the Action Events.

The men addressed this topic through the medium of a picture story called “Bai ajaari ka padte?” (Why does a woman fall ill?). The picture story depicted the fact that acts of violence and discrimination have serious short and long-term physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health problems for victims and lead to high social and economic costs. Some of the common health problems that women suffer from as a result of violence and discrimination are depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep difficulties, eating disorders, emotional distress, headaches, back pain, abdominal pain, poor overall health,  fatal and non-fatal injuries, limited access to healthcare facilities and so on. The objective of the activity was to start a dialogue about this topic amongst men and women in the community.

Due to the nature of the event and content, women got involved and identified with it as if it was their story being told. Women felt empowered by the information they received and the fact that the men from their community cared and were taking these small steps to reduce violence and discrimination against them. Our aim is to continue this dialogue through the ongoing Alumni Action Programme Events.

The third programme cycle started on October 3. The momentum created by the action events and the Alumni Programme events, is helping the programme mentors in enrolling new men into the programme.  We are hoping to graduate 160 adolescent men from 16 communities in the third programme cycle which ends on January 25. Mentors are implementing and delivering the revised modules of the Action for Equality curriculum on field.  You will find the new AFE curriculum modules on our website very soon.