In Sri Lanka, MenCare partner works to sustain, expand fatherhood programming

Participants in Ambagamuwa Area Development Program (ADP)'s MenCare Forum in Sri Lanka.

MenCare partner World Vision Lanka started MenCare programming in the Ambagamuwa Area Development Program (ADP) in 2012. It found that not only was the program successful in engaging men as fathers and caregivers and as partners in women’s empowerment, but that it also had positive effects on related economic, alcohol-abuse, and nutrition programing in the community. Participants have consistently confirmed the positive effects of the MenCare program on their relationships with their partners, children, families, and communities.

World Vision is scheduled to leave the Ambagamuwa ADP next year, as the life span of the ADP comes to a close and the community takes full ownership over the program’s development efforts. With MenCare as a key development initiative in the community, facilitators and participants asked: How do we sustain MenCare programming after World Vision leaves the area development program?

Last month, community members held a meeting to discuss the sustainability of the MenCare program in the Ambagamuwa ADP. Twenty-eight local facilitators, religious leaders, and community leaders participated in the meeting, agreeing to create a constitution that legally registers MenCare and allows it to receive funds for community development work. The participants included many of the same leaders who took part in the MenCare “Training of Trainers” in July. Key topics of discussion included forum objectives, functions and operations, membership, fundraising, technical support, and the legal registration of MenCare. The MenCare forum was officially inaugurated on September 24.

In addition to working to sustain the MenCare program in Ambagamuwa ADP, Ambagamuwa community members are engaging with other local administrative divisions and ADPs to expand MenCare and reach new fathers. Last month, they conducted a MenCare reflection workshop with 68 participants from the Grama Niladari division and from the Mannar, Killinochi, and Mullaitivu ADPs (which are located in northern Sri Lanka). Representatives from the Mannar, Killinochi, and Mullaitivu ADPs visited the Ambagamuwa ADP to learn how MenCare workshops are conducted and hear from local fathers who had participated in the program. They aim to use this information to start new MenCare groups in their own communities.