Two global consultations have taken place on the need to integrate strategies to address GBV and engage men and boys to advance gender equality through NSPs on HIV and AIDS.
These two meetings were convened by Sonke and the UN Interagency Working Group on Women, Girls, Gender Equality and HIV (specifically: UNFPA, UNDP, UNAIDS, UN Women and WHO), in collaboration with the MenEngage Alliance and ATHENA Network.
The meetings aimed to review current NSPs to assess the strengths and weaknesses of these plans with regard to addressing gender-based violence and engaging men and boys for gender equality, and to develop country action plans for advocacy to address priority issues and gaps.
The first of these consultations was held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 30th November to 2nd December 2010, and brought together participants from 14 countries across five regions.
The second meeting was held in Istanbul, Turkey, from 14th to 16th November 2011, bringing together delegations from 16 (new) countries.
A regional meeting was held in 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa where representatives from Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe participated.
A further regional meeting was held in Dakar, Senegal, in September 2013, where representatives from seven African countries participated.
» Download the meeting summary from the West and Central Africa Regional Consultation, Dakar, Senegal, September 2013.
These consultations were organised in response to commitments in the UNAIDS Agenda for Accelerated Action for Women, Girls, Gender Equality and HIV and the UNAIDS 2011-2015 Strategy: Getting to Zero, which highlight the importance of achieving zero tolerance to gender-based violence and engaging men and boys for gender equality. In particular, they were conceived to address the concern that gender-based violence and the engagement of men and boys for gender equality have not been sufficiently integrated into countries’ NSPs, by creating a space to systematically analyse NSPs and develop a coordinated approach to strengthen support moving forward.
Far from standing alone, the Nairobi and Istanbul consultations form part of growing efforts to address the intersections of gender equality and HIV, including: championing women’s rights in the context of HIV; addressing the HIV needs of women and girls; enhancing efforts to integrate a focus on gender-based violence as a cause and consequence of HIV into HIV responses; and actively engaging men and boys in achieving gender equality to challenge constructions of masculinity that exacerbate the spread and impact of HIV.
This collaboration has strengthened working relationships between MenEngage and the UN at global, regional and country levels.
In April and May 2012 an impact and needs assessment was instigated to evaluate progress against country action plans developed during the meeting, and to map technical needs for moving further forward on country action plans.
The report comprises of an executive summary of key findings, conclusions and next steps drawn from the analysis of the on-line questionnaire and in-depth interviews, followed by an annexe of more detailed summaries of the on-line questionnaire’s nine sections.
The purpose was to inform the on-going work of the UN Interagency Working Group on Women, Girls, Gender Equality and HIV, and civil society partners to support past consultation participants; to highlight achievements, showcase successful programmatic and/or advocacy strategies, and share good practice; and to inform future initiatives to advance policy and programming on addressing gender-based violence and engaging men and boys to advance gender equality through NSPs.
What emerged clearly from this assessment is that the meetings had a catalytic effect on thinking, policy and practice regarding the urgency to address gender-based violence as a cause and consequence of HIV, and the need to engage men and boys as agents of positive change to halt gender-based violence, and bring about more gender equitable communities.
The assessment also produced a compilation of country case studies, highlighting key stories of change and impact resulting from the consultations, drawn primarily from in-depth interviews and follow-up.