On November 17th, around 200 men and women showed up for Singorwet’s first ever Men’s Health Awareness Day. After having a successful International Women’s Day (IWD) in March, I knew my community was hoping I would do something for men. Just like IWD, I applied for the GAD grant (GAD also funds events related to men, not just women) and I got it!
Our event also corresponded by chance with a training going on in the village for Men As Partners. Men as Partners is a campaign in Kenya to educate men on reproductive health. Too often reproductive education is focused solely on women, however the reality is that men usually hold the decision making power on things as simple as when to have sex and how many children to have. The 30 men that participated in the training were able to enhance their awareness and support for their partner’s reproductive health choices and take an active stand for gender equality and against gender-based violence. We even had condom relays! After a week of training, the men received certificates and t-shirts at the Men’s Day and all got a chance to say what they learned. You could tell they were really empowered!
The event also included topics about HIV/AIDS, Khalil spoke about family planning, Maxx educated us on gender violence, and Blake informed the audience about the importance of saving money and starting a business. Christina Gusa did a fantastic job teaching about prostate and testicular cancer. The audience was so quite during this topic and I’m still hearing from the men about how much they learned. Cassidy auctioned off solar cookers in which some went for over 1000ksh! And finally, Jojo, along with a man from Waterlines spoke about sanitation and clean water.
All the money we raised continues to be put toward our maternity ward project and we are proud to say we raised over 10,000ksh that day! Closer to the 25% community contribution and closer to having a functioning maternity ward!
Overall the event was a complete success due in part to the help of PCVs, community members and the dispensary.