Why Engage Men & Boys?

DAWN believes women, men, girls and boys joining together is the only way to disrupt the social norms that allow gender inequality and violence to exist.

We partner with men’s organizations who are pioneers in the Engaging Men’s movement and support programs that make an impact for generations to come.

Working together, we believe we can:

  • Change the harmful constructions of masculinity associated with power and control that drive inequality and violence against women
  • Encourage healthy gender relationships in boys at an early age
  • Inform an understanding about the causes and the social, economic and  public health impact of gender-based violence so societies recognize that violence is not simply a women’s issue
  • Engage with men and boys to help them develop techniques to cope with and better manage social pressures that are promoted by traditional notions of masculinity
  • Promote a culture of response in homes, schools, workplaces and neighborhoods when violence does occur
  • Give tools to men so they can raise sons who have positive, non-violent communications and behaviors in their relationships with women

Safe Campus Initiative

We are excited to support and work with our partner Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA). MAVA is a men’s organization, founded in 1993, that believes men are equal partners in the pursuit of women’s empowerment and stopping gender violence. One of their most successful and forward-thinking projects is the Campus Gender-Sensitization and Leadership Program, a college-based youth development and community outreach project that has reached more than 20,000 college students in Maharashtra since 2006.

The Campus Gender-Sensitization and Leadership Program aims to:

  • Bring about social change by sensitizing young men and women on issues of gender, sexuality and violence
  • Serve as an open platform for the youth (especially men) to comfortably express their fears and thoughts; and where they can be exposed to new ideas on gender and male/female relationships
  • Provide various innovative tools to young men to communicate and spread awareness of gender violence and equality amongst their peers.

For the 2015-2016 school year, the program will identify, train and work with student leaders at 10 colleges across Mumbai. With MAVA’s experienced advocates, the student leaders will then work within their colleges to conduct the following activities among 18-19 year old boys:

  • Capacity-building & leadership camps for student leaders
  • Periodic gender-sensitization workshops with 40-100 person student groups
  • Community outreach programs through street-theatre, rallies, campaigns on contemporary gender themes, and inter-collegiate cultural competitions
  • Film festival on gender, masculinity and relationships
  • Workshops on sexuality education and appropriate usage of social media for students

The program’s success lies in providing positive male role models to young men and providing safe spaces for facilitated conversations about masculinity, gender roles and norms, and the various forms of violence (such as recognizing domestic abuse as a form of gender violence). The impact goal with this program is to reach 5,000 students across 10 colleges.

The Campus Gender-Sensitization and Leadership Program works in the following ten colleges:

  • Ramnarain Ruia College, Matunga
  • D.G.Ruparel College, Matunga
  • Kirti College, Dadar
  • Guru Nanak College, GTB Nagar, Sion
  • S.I.E.S. College, Nerul
  • Sant Gadge Maharaj College, Grant Road
  • Government Law College, Churchgate
  • Siddhartha College, Fort

Community Strong: Leadership Development and Coalition-Building

DAWN strives to build a strong community where men and women work in partnership for safer homes, schools, workplaces and neighborhoods. The Community Strong initiative brings women’s and men’s organizations together to discuss obstacles, share ideas and work together on bystander intervention and community engagement initiatives.

Roundtable on Bystander and Upstander Intervention

In December 2014 DAWN partnered with Equal Community Foundation in Mumbai, India for a one-day roundtable that brought together some of the leading organizations that are addressing gender-based violence in India to discuss effective strategies for bystander engagement.

The aim is to work toward an establishment of a coalition to continue this discussion and further problem-solve ways in which to promote bystander intervention. The roundtable focused on exchanging experiences and evaluating existing bystander models; understanding challenges facing bystanders including caste, class, and regional division; defining what it means to be an “up stander” and strategizing how it can be leveraged. The roundtable successfully created a forum where ideas, successes, and challenges were shared and problems discussed.

The non-governmental organizations represented at the roundtable included: