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Men stand against GBV

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Facilitator at the Educo Africa Men’s Programme Ruben Piet shared that these sticks formed part of the overall journey of discovery, both physically and mentally. On the day of their arrival, the participating men in the programme each needed to find a stick in a forest at the base of the mountain before heading up. The sticks have since been decorated and serve as a reminder of support through the continued journey.
Facilitator at the Educo Africa Men’s Programme Ruben Piet shared that these sticks formed part of the overall journey of discovery, both physically and mentally. On the day of their arrival, the participating men in the programme each needed to find a stick in a forest at the base of the mountain before heading up. The sticks have since been decorated and serve as a reminder of support through the continued journey.

Thanks to funding from the Solidarity Fund, Educo Africa hosted two groups of men focusing their efforts on finding a solution to gender-based violence (GBV). 

Following a five-day deep dive into self discovery, sleeping under the stars high in the Groot Winterhoek mountains, the two groups of men from Lansdowne-based Life Choices and Mfuleni-based Afrika Tikkun graduated from the programme on Thursday 9 September as better men, by their own admission. 

Lali Mili, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Educo Africa, says with GBV being named a second pandemic in the country, their men’s programme is a preventative intervention.

Using nature as its classroom, the organisation takes groups of 12 men into the mountains for a five-day journey of discovery of self, also giving a platform for the men to freely share their thoughts and feelings to promote healing, shift narratives around gender norms and “find the cure” for GBV. 

“Educo Africa’s Men’s Programme is a proven intervention for addressing the deep emotional wounds that so many South African men carry (and that all-too-often are expressed as violence against women),” says Mili in a statement.

Mili says Educo Africa – a youth development organisation – was founded in 1994. 

“Over the years, we discovered that we cannot only work with young people,” he says.

“A lot of our work is done in partnership because we know we can’t do it on our own.”

At the graduation event in Lansdowne, men shared their journeys with a select group of invited guests. 

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