Social Development — Desmond Lunga
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Desmond Lunga is the founder of Men and Boys for Gender Equality, a nongovernmental organization which aims to empower the boy child. It seeks to engage men and boys in reducing gender inequalities, preventing HIV, ending gender-based violence and promoting the health and well-being of women, men and children.
Currently the Programme Manager for Men and Boys for Gender Equality, and a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow, Lunga believes that since human beings learn from each other, the absence of fathers in the homes raises the question - from whom should the boy child learn?
Absent fathers leave male children and adolescents no choice but to learn from the streets, or from their misguided peers. Lunga is passionate about the role of men in the raising of ideal men, and says we cannot rely on television, music or subcultures to teach them values. Men have an equal role to play in establishing new cultural norms, and through his organisation he promotes active parental engagement of men whose partners are pregnant.
As part of this vision,Men and Boys for Gender Equality has also started a media campaign, empowering the media to join in educating men on issues surrounding fatherhood. Through this campaign entitled “Men Care”, they reach out to men across the country with their message,aiming to make them aware of what it really means to be a father.
The“Men Care” campaign has produced communication materials and an innovative radio programme with a focus on men’s issues related to parenthood. They place posters and brochures in clinics and hospitals, government offices and popular community settings, to entice expectant fathers to join the movement.
This concept is part of a global campaign of“Men Care” global campaign, aimed at teaching men how to treat their partners throughout pregnancy, and explaining both the physical and emotional changes they can expect. They are also coached on how to help with domestic chores around the house, so as to be able partners in the challenges of pregnancy. The training includesequipping new fathers onhow to care and help with the newborn baby after delivery.
The organisation has also done schools training on issues of gender inequality. Lunga hopes this school level initiative will encourage the young peopleto mobilise their own communities around these issues and one day develop their own community-based initiatives that will further the vision of the Men and Boys for Gender Equality organisation. — Charmaine Revaka