Raymond Haywala – Zambia

Raymond Haywala – Zambia

Date: May 29, 2012
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If we can influence husbands to promote gender equality in their own homes, the work is half way done. This belief led me to start the Good Husbands initiative in Kapiri. I have now been active in the Zambian gender scene for a few years, and I think it has been quite a journey.

I see the empowerment of women as a necessary advancement in society. I am doing the same work as Gender Links is; my particular niche in the work towards a more just society is trying to engage the men more on gender equality. I work for the Young Women’s Christian Association, and when we started following trends in communities, we realized almost immediately that there needs to be a focus on men as much as women. This is especially the case since men are seen to be the perpetrators of violence in the communities they work in.

I would like to see culture being challenged more strongly, since this is often used as an excuse to hold women back. But this is not the way I understand my culture. I want to be proud of my culture, which should see women being upheld in society, starting with family men who can be perpetrators of gender based violence too. Why would you do that to the woman you love? I do not think it is right.

I would also like to see women being given more positions in power. At the Gender Links summit, I was so happy to see so many women in local government. It made me see what is possible, but also looking at my own community, I see how far we still have to go. I wish more men were exposed to these events; then they may be able to contribute to the gender agenda more positively. There is no doubt that too often when we speak of men and gender, they are the perpetrators of violence and oppression. We also need to talk about men who are upholding women’s rights, and promoting gender positively in their communities.

The Gender Links summit is a good way of collecting information. We can talk to one another and take lessons away from one another. It also helps me build presentation and communication skills, which always has room for improvement. I feel this platform is a way to best showcase yourself and get feedback on what more we need to do. It’s wonderful to have this group of peers who see where I am coming from, and can make contributions to my work and ideas.

Gender Links is an African authority on gender, and I am always happy to be part of this platform. However, I think we need to bring more men into all activities on gender. Without engaging enough men, it is difficult to make sure there is real gender equality. Men and women are all part of the problem, and part of the solution, so we must really work together.

Every time I come away from a Gender Links event, I find myself thinking of new ideas. I am taught through watching others, and seeing what they are doing. It is enough for me to want to change others. I do this in my own community through leading by example, and I see that Gender Links does the same thing. Faides and Colleen are not afraid to work hard for results. They explain their thoughts fully, and are so knowledgeable of the topics they engage on.

I want to see all Zambian men stepping up and not being afraid to support women. I want to keep working hard, and leading by example, so that this change will happen. I want to spread the work of the Good Husband’s project, and bring men on board in creating gender equality in our country.



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