The Pursuit of Gender Equality remains firm in Mozambique

By: Fanelo Ya Mina Institute; Originally Posted on: The Savana Mozambican Weekly Newspaper

Fanelo Ya Mina Institute and the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Mozambique have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the production of educational materials on gender issues with emphasis on the involvement of men in pre-natal, maternal, infant health and the caring of the elderly, for mass distribution throughout public health facilities.

The MoU was signed by Celma Elizabeth Menezes, the Founding Executive Director of Fanelo Ya Mina and by Célia Gonçalves, the National Director of the Department of Planning and Cooperation at the MOH.  The main objective of the MOU is the promotion of gender equality across different sectors of society - family, community and health services – in which men and boys play a critical role for women’s equality.

"There is the need to challenge societal stereotypes that perpetuate inequalities in sharing of responsibilities among women and men in health care; as well as those factors that limit men’s participation on safe motherhood and other health related issues", said Menezes.

The agreement addresses several topics including pre-natal, maternal, and post-natal care. It also includes the caring of the elderly – in which men play a central role in health promotion. The agreement also addresses other topics such as men’s health, responsible fatherhood, HIV/AIDS, gender based violence, early marriageand malnutrition.

According to Celma Menezes “the country faces shortages of educational materials targeting men sosigning an MoU of this nature with the MOH represents the embodiment of the Mozambican government to embrace the agenda, which I personally see as a long-term institutional investment strategy for the health sector."

It’s expected that the availability of educational materials, produced locally will bring about profound reflections among the Mozambican people on the need to embrace men and leverage upon men’s figure as catalysts of gender equity processes for the ultimate benefit of women, children, elderly and men themselves. In addition the materials will help raising men’s awareness and help them developing more equitable attitudes/behaviors thus participating alongside women on issues regarding sexual and reproductive health, child’s health - tasks traditionally performed by and assigned to women.

The two signatory parties will work together to mobilize funds from multilateral and bilateral partner organizations to ensure the immediate implementation of the MOU.

Fanelo Ya Mina was officially founded in 2011, it is a Mozambican woman-led CSO that seeks to meaningfully engage men and boys as partners and advocates on ways to promote gender equality, women’s empowerment, children’s rights and social justice for all.  According to founder, Celma E. Menezes: "The organization stems from the recognition of the "relational" nature of gender and the need of seeing men in a positive way, as part of the solution of all gender equity processes".

Fanelo Ya Mina is also the implementing partner organization of the renowned social activist Graça Machel in the Caring for Girls – a project that seeks to invest on girl’s education by helping in-school girls from underprivileged backgrounds, with a monthly supply of sanitary towels, to address menstruation related challenges - biological, social and financial – so as to increase girl’s school retention and achievement rates.

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