Tanzanian Director of Children’s Development speaks at MenEngage Africa’s Capacity Building Programme

“When we sufficiently engage men and boys in efforts to attain justice and equality for women and girls, many of the problems that women and girls face will be minimised and done away with completely”, said Benedict Missari, Director of Children’s Development in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, in Tanzania.

Missari was giving opening remarks at the start of a three-day Capacity Building Workshop for 10 MenEngage Africa networks that is being held in the Tanzanian capital of Dar es Salaam, from 4-6 April 2017.

“This meeting comes at a time when a study led by Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF) Tanzania shedding light on the causes and drivers of child marriage has been unveiled. This study shows that men are at the centre of this problem. Men cause child marriages. Men cause child pregnancies. Thus, I ask you to, when you deliberate at this meeting identify how men can be challenged to be responsible and accountable for their children and all children in their communities to make sure that children are protected and treated equally – boys and girls”, Missari said.

“You are meeting here coming from different countries. I believe that the problems we face in Zambia and Botswana are similar here in Tanzania. Having a common understanding of the problems we are facing is very crucial”, he concluded.

Angelica Pino, Head of Programmes at Sonke Gender Justice, the Secretariat of MenEngage Africa, echoed Missari’s sentiment that men need to be accountable for gender equality. “We have rights and responsibilities. Men are part of the problem and, therefore, they should be part of the solution”, Pino said.