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More than 700 participants attend an-all men empowerment conference in Tetu

Tetu Member of Parliament Mr. Geoffrey Wandeto has said that men are an indispensable cog in the development of society and noted that by forums that focus on addressing challenges affecting men and by extension training them on skills that can empower them it benefits the entire society.

Wandeto who was speaking over the weekend during a one-day empowerment workshop at Tetu PCEA church said the aim of the workshop was to equip men with knowledge and information literacy skills, access to male health services, acquisition of value addition skills in agricultural production and awareness on Gender Based Violence (GBV) practices.

The workshop, organized by Wandeto and the first of its kind in the area, brought on board various stakeholders including health services providers, financial institutions, and representatives from both county and national government and was attended by about 700 men from Tetu.

The MP thanked all the stakeholders who were involved in organizing the workshop, saying men play a pivotal role in the prosperity and stability of any society across the world and added that the conference was one way to push the narrative forward.

“I also wish to appreciate efforts by both the County and National governments in organizing this all-male forum and hope the efforts to empower the participants will not only benefit those in attendance today but also have a positive impact to the community where they live,” said Wandeto.

Speaking at the same function, Nyeri County Social Welfare Officer Mr. Isaac Wanyaga noted that GBV against anyone, regardless of their gender is wrong and against the tenets of modern civilization.

He similarly added that GBV is an archaic and retrogressive practice that should be condemned by all as it goes against the principles of respect, equality, and empathy which should be held dear by all.

“Statistics show that both men and women are affected by gender-based violence, and this is why we must address it collectively. Identity and positioning are paramount, and it’s crucial for men to engage in this conversation because they play a pivotal role in eradicating this deeply rooted problem from our society,” he said.

County Gender, Youth, Sports and Social Services Director Ms. Monica Thumbi thanked Wandeto for coming up with such a novel initiative terming it a powerful tool for community sensitization efforts.

She called for more such forums in future saying the society needs to be educated on dangers of engaging in practices that border on GBV.

“We must educate ourselves about the many forms of gender-based violence, such as physical, emotional, sexual and economic abuse. By understanding these issues, we can collectively advocate for positive change, promote strong life values, mentor and empower others through various programs, among them the fight against gender-based violence,” she said.

Cases of violence against men have been going on unreported for years across the world due to the stigma attached to the vice by society. For instance, in 2022, the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW-Kenya) said that it received over 3,762 cases of GBV.

Out of the cases, 2,985 were against women while 777 cases were perpetrated on men. The various forms s of GBV included physical assault, emotional abuse, defilement, and rape.

“The highest form of GBV was a denial of resources including financial resources at 68.3 percent, followed by defilement at 7.9 percent, emotional abuse at 6.7 percent, rape at 5.7 percent, and physical assault at 4.5 percent,” read the report.

The group further said that it had managed to provide legal support to 2,157 women and 711 men from the cases they received. In addition, 66 men who had undergone some forms of violence were offered psychosocial support.

By Samuel Maina

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