MenCare+ Rwanda encourages thousands to share the care work, end cycles of violence

Men participate in a MenCare+ fathers' group session in Rwanda.

In July 2015, MenCare+ Rwanda, or “Bandebereho,” successfully completed its third cycle of young men’s, young women’s, and fathers’ group education countrywide. This cycle led to a considerable increase in the number of people promoting MenCare principles in their homes and communities, sharing the care work, and preventing gender-based violence in Rwanda. Currently, Bandebereho has reached more than 6,000 people through its three cycles of group education, and more than half are men and boys. During each cycle, participants cover topics ranging from promoting gender equality and sharing domestic and care work, to managing conflict at home, preventing drug abuse, and engaging men in maternal, newborn, and child health.

This year, MenCare+ Bandebereho is also carrying out counseling for men who have used violence. These groups work with fathers who have used violence in their homes, supporting them in the process of behavior change to stop their use of violence. The counseling process must be handled delicately and respectfully, working to promote a transformation in men’s attitudes and behaviors while prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of women and children who have experienced violence. The first cycle of Bandebereho counseling for men who have used violence is underway, and participants have begun to share positive reflections and experiences.  As one participant testified:

“I benefitted a lot from the group education of MenCare+ Bandebereho, and other men also benefitted from it. I managed to stop drinking alcohol and I learned a lot from couple communication skills. Now I get home earlier and I manage to discuss with my wife about family projects.”

Bandebereho is coordinated by the Rwanda Men’s Resource Center as part of MenCare+, a four-country initiative to engage men as caregiving partners in maternal, newborn, and child health and in sexual and reproductive health and rights.