Ernest Kalema – Uganda

  • January 6, 2021 at 10:14 am #3030
    Huong Nguyen
    Keymaster

    Ernest Kalema_Uganda
    Kectil Assignment 4

    1. Stereotypes and Cultures that hurt males

    What male stereotypes can you identify within your immediate community? Explain why you believe these are stereotypes
    Uganda is pervaded with a number of stereotypes regarding males and these are resounded every now and then in media and in a number of gatherings.
    Stereotype Why it’s a stereotype
    Males don’t cry God gave all flesh emotions, even animals. Men might express them differently but they have them
    A male is supposed to pay the bills whenever for anu outing with a female This depends on the economic standing of both. Its illogical to expect a man without a job to pay bills for a woman with a job
    A man’s money is the family’s money and lady’s money is her money Marriage is a partnership where every gender contributes to the wellbeing of the family especially when they all earn
    Males are worse cooks compared to ladies The best chefs in the world are male
    Manual jobs are always male jobs Females can also do these jobs if adequate raining is provided
    Males don’t have best fiends Males do, although their relationships with their best friends is different from that of a female
    Love makes males weak. Love is for females We are all creatures of love. It’s the very fabric of our creator and everyone has the ability to love
    A man without an ego is not a man Every man has an ego. Its just that some have learnt to master their ego rather than serve it

    What measures do you believe can be instituted in order to ensure that these stereotypes can be broken down?
    First of all, I believe that before any measure can be instituted, those who have got this knowledge about stereotypes surrounding males need to fist work on themselves first. We need to first work on ourselves first so that we champion and pioneer the other initiatives to reach out to others. “It’s not easy to challenge stereotypes, but society doesn’t change if you don’t start changing yourself first.” . Attitudes and deep-seated beliefs about male roles and behaviours in society need to be changed day by day and taking appropriate self-initiated actions to dispel them. These can include doing more self-study and research on the matter.
    Dialogues: There should be dialogue amongst men themselves to understand that emotions, and the way they feel that society misconstrue as inappropriate behaviour for men are part of being human and should not be put under stereotypes. Males have points of weaknesses just like females do. Such dialogues should be held with females in participation so that the two genders can better understand themselves as they share in the same platforms because collapsing these stereotypes does not only benefit men only but benefits the entire society at large
    Parents to Spearhead passing right information while nurturing: In may African societies, there is a belief that a child is raised by both the parent and the community. This reaped a lot of dividend sin terms of averting wrong behaviour in children. However, children from a young age learnt and got entangled into toxic belief systems perpetrated by the wider community including stereotypes. The responsibility needs to go back to parents as the primary custodians for raising children and the parents need to be engaged through door to door sensitization as well as through community sensitization so that they can pass on this information to children at the right age Parents need to model the kind of men they want their sons to become
    Special Affirmative Action: In Uganda, affirmative action has always been granted to females e.g. additional points joining universities, preferences for enrollment on certain fields etc. It is time for the narrative to change in the direction of males too especially their involvement in female dominated and female centric professions e.g. nursing professions
    Revisiting Curricular: There is a popular saying in the bible “Train a child in the way that they should go and they shall never depart from it”. Curricular from a young age needs to integrated appropriate education and information about these stereotypes. This curricular should transcend to level at which male rights are more deprived or levels at which society puts more pressure on the males especially in adolescence and tertiary stages of life
    Mass sensitization, education and awareness creation: Stereotypes won’t disappear unless people understand they are harmful. Therefore, NGOs and CSOs should be engaged or even formed to specifically advocate for and create sensitization campaigns through above the live media, below the line and use of IEC materials in communities and male hotspots.
    Creating Safe Spaces: Safe spaces should be mapped either by government or civil society organisations or even youth organisations to facilitate males to open up and express their emotions with fellow males without any feeling of vulnerability.

    How do you think we can change the points of view of older generations in order to see the harm that male stereotypes are having on the younger generations’ mental health?
    The older generation are often considered as the wiser generations and those who have a lot of experience. These are harder subgroups to influence because they possess age-old beliefs that modernisation hasn’t effectively changed. I believe the following points of initiatives can attempt to change the views of these older generations
    Role modelling in society: There are some role models who have broken out of these old beliefs and have embraced the changing society and its effects on these beliefs. These role models can share their stories in media on radio stations, which media is majorly used by these generations in Uganda.
    Music, Dance and Drama: Music has proved throughout the ages to influence beliefs in society, cause revolutions and even so, politics. Musicians and drama groups of the older generation should be engaged to craft songs, skits and drama pieces for showcasing on the various media platforms to propagate appropriate messages addressing the native effects of these views to children’s mental health and other effects on society
    Dialogues, Generational centred conferences and platforms: Dialogues are the most peaceful and non-violent and non-defiant way of resolving differences in opinions and beliefs. Dialogues, mediated by older and respectable icons in society need to be organised by NGOs and CSOs to bring together opinions of parents and the millennial generation. These should also be used as platforms to educate all generations on the benefits of collapsing these stereotypes
    Social media Engagement: In Uganda, the older generations are increasingly embracing social media communication and come across a plethora of information in its various formats. These platforms especially Facebook and WhatsApp should be used to circulate sensitization information inform of articles, infographics, voice notes and videos of prevailing stereotypes and the negative effects of these harmful stereotypes.
    Leverage churches and religious institutions: Religious institution across the board have authority and influence on all types of generations. They have been proved to shape attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of the populations that ascribe to them. These are instrumental avenues to propagate messages to these older generations that combat these harmful stereotypes.

    2. Healthy versus Toxic masculinity

    Do you believe that toxic masculinity is still evident within today’s society? Please substantiate your answer.

    Yes, it is still evident in the patriarchal society and some of the evidences and examples that we see are that some men are being anti-feminine. Men reject anything that is feminine that resemble attributes of women e.g. showing vulnerability, expressing emotions. On funerals, it is permissible for men to cry but for short time. It looks awkward if the man sorrows for long and is perceived as weak. Men are actually emotional but the toxic masculine society dictates that men don’t cry in public. It is also perceived that men do not say “I love you” to a fellow man, it can be misconstrued to be a homosexual statement and sometimes sexist. Toxic masculinity comes in the form of denial that a man can at one time depend on another man for survival. A man is considered not a true man if at one point in time he depends on another which might be circumstantial rather than perpetual. Toxic masculinity also comes in the form that to maintain or have status in the community, a man must have power to control and a man without power to control is not a man. Men have been tempted to become power hungry for the sake of gaining respect in society.
    There is a tribe in Uganda that has a belief in the toxic masculinity. They have a saying that “Omusajja tayangwa” literary interpreted as whenever a man wants to have sex, the woman just gives in. This form of sexual entitlement is extreme toxic masculinity.

    Can toxic masculinity be unlearnt? Please elaborate on your answer

    Yes, toxic masculinity can be unlearnt but this can be a gradual and lifelong uphill process. It requires a lot of work because some of the underlying beliefs and behaviour are deep seated for many years and men took a lot of time growing in an environment in which these beliefs are upheld. But eventually it is a rewarding process if one is conscious of the need to work on self to address this toxicity. The other reason why this process is very hard to unlearn is due to the fact that connecting and validating one’s pain and being able to express emotions takes a lot of self-awareness, self-validation and acceptance of vulnerability. This can be achieved especially when one knows that other men are going through the same so that they can learn from how other men are overcoming. From a society perspective, it even gets harder especially when these beliefs are pervasively inherent in societal values, workplaces and form a basis for standards of realistic manhood.

    How, as a Kectil Colleague, would you go about shifting the narrative from toxic to healthy masculinity?

    As a Kectil Colleague, shifting the narrative about toxic masculinity really need to take a bold stand especially amidst the high-flying women empowerment initiatives and feminist movements.
    One of the common facets of men is that due to toxic masculinity, men even fear to seek help. What would be the most appropriate move is to have men mentors and counsellors who are well educated in dealing with men issues. In HIV programmes like Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision, initiatives like giving men flexi hours and flexi clinic i.e. clinic that meet them where they are have proved to yield greater results. As a Kectil Colleague, my role would be to gather 2-3 of these mentors /counsellors in an online group where men can join and seek help from mentors and share their deepest hurts and beliefs about masculinity

    As a Kectil Colleague, I have sofar engaged other men to join, subscribe and live the male promise which I believe negates all the toxic masculinity beliefs. Men have always longed for spaces that mostly focus on their issues and I believe recruiting more young males into this initiative will go along way to curb toxic masculinity

    One of the initiatives that I have for so long want to start is an online talk series about men issues and the various stereotypes. My vision is to see every male to take up their position in society with the right view of masculinity and soaring beyond the pressure and standards that society places on a man. I intend to start a Facebook page to actualise this initiative because I believe once male issues are solved, one won’t need to solve women issues because violence from men is the root cause of many of the issues affecting females.

    What do you believe the benefits of integrating a sense of healthy masculinity into a community are?

    Once healthy masculinity is integrated into the community, there will be great reduction in the violence against women and violence against children. When men have a right view and understanding of masculinity, they will have the sense that they also have points of vulnerability and therefore will learn to control their emotions in a manner that doesn’t extreme emotions like anger and intense feeling of superiority.

    The other benefit would be the increase in harmonious social-economic working relationships between men and women. Males and females would not override each other’s position in society but will respect each other emotions, aspirations, economic prospects and position in society.

    There will be reduced mental health issues, identity crisis as well as suicide. Evidence suggests that toxic masculinity is one of the major causes of suicide in young males because standards and expectations from society that dehumanize males. These intense emotions that pile up within males would then be innocuous because males will have the power to rule them, express them and find healing.

    How do you believe we can enhance healthy masculinity practices within our communities, especially in the context of lockdown and the pandemic?

    The pandemic and lock down have been characterised by restrictions on gatherings, increase in mental health issues, emergence of a plethora of many online activities and heavy reliance on social media information. Solutions to enhancing healthy masculine practices within our communities can take the following forms

    Creating sensitization about what toxic masculinity: Most males do not know that the traits they are showing are not healthy. Social media engagement has been proved to be effective in reaching large numbers of people who at least have access to internet. Sensitization campaigns inform of videos and use of social media meetings need to be arranged with credible speakers that can impart knowledge and give relevant societal examples of toxic and health masculinity practices. Communities that do not have adequate access to internet can still use physical gatherings. There is need to identify in communities’ people who can serve as male champions to conduct door to door reach out activities in male hotspots

    Create an understanding and dialogue among males and females: Males and females need to come together to discus issues of masculinity from each other’s point of view. These dialogues should specifically a carry action points or initiatives that will be implemented to continues such discussions and take them to lower level communities. Rural areas within Africa are the most affected when it comes to unhealth masculinity and therefore dialogues through community barazas with social distancing adhered to can avail much.

    In Uganda, statistics show that there was an escalation of the domestic gender-based violence during the lock down period and a careful cross examination of its causes points to issues to toxic masculinity. Therefore, appropriate messaging through above the line media for example T.V needs to be embarked on by Government and NGOs to propagate reconciliatory messages and role of each party in ensuring harmonious relationships

    3. How Males can use their innate skills to protect females and advance/improve society

    What natural abilities do you think men have to support females and transform the community?

    Men have a lot of strength that they can use to protect females and improve society. First of all, the physical endowment of men can greatly be used to protect females from any physical danger. Secondly men have the unique ability to do strength-based employment opportunities which they can use to support the females. The males also have the inner fortitude to control emotions and in sad circumstances, they can use this to also strengthen the females who are largely emotionally fragile. Men are great thinkers as evidenced by many innovations and ideas the world rides on.

    Comment on how males are using their natural abilities in your community

    In Uganda, there are some male dominated jobs because of the strength that is needed to do the job. For example, carrying luggage in markets, security work is purely done by men. Men are also natural leaders and are at the forefront of every agenda in Uganda. A study conducted on over 7,000 leaders using 360 performance data to explore gender differences on 16 leadership competencies found that women were rated significantly higher than men on 12 of the 16 competencies (Zenger & Folkman, 2012). Men were found to be better at strategic leadership whereas women were found to be better at middle management. This means men provide direction in society and should therefore provide vision on every agenda

    In view of the physical strength endowed to men, men need to take their position in protecting women against fellow men who violate the rights of women. This physical ability should be used to protect life for the weak i.e. children, women, disabled mentally ill and other vulnerable groups and their property

    The world has seen great milestones in the area of women empowerment. This came with a shift in roles among men and women. What impacts do you see women liberation movements have on males in your society?

    Women liberation movements have not only been advocated for across communities but have also been integrated into international development agendas as a central theme to realise global goals. These movements have birthed both negative and positive impacts to society in Uganda

    Positive Impacts

    Increase in the education status of women: These liberation movements have made women more literate and more able to participate in formal and gainful employment opportunities. Women now are more aware of their rights as well as structures to engage for their rights. This level of empowerment has made the society in Uganda more human centric than violence centric. This education has not left them behind especially in the rapidly changing technological landscape

    Increased participation in economic development: The traditional woman used to be a stay home woman who would only take care of non-commercial activities of the family for example cooking, babysitting, kept the houses etc. These roles have now been extended to include participation in economic activities. These movements have attracted more women to participate in economic development activities from policy, regulatory and other levels of influence of the economy. They participate equally with men in existing markets, make meaningful participation in economic decisions and have access to productive resources which benefits society as a whole as the income inequality gap has been decreased.

    Negative Impacts

    These liberation movements have made some women so proud, so extreme to the point that they under look the value of the man in the society or family. This has made some men get low self-esteem. Liberated women have threatened the views, values and esteem of men. This has led to men becoming aggressive in defense because if these liberated women are soaring in education, jobs etc men resort to violence in an attempt to bring down the women to show them their position in society.

    These liberation movements have made women become too independent and even taken up roles of men in a home e.g. paying school fees, providing for the home because the woman has money and has risen to show she is able to take care of the family on her own and hence men has become lazy, make off springs and leave the women to raise them. This has made some men irresponsible. Some women have also become too independent that they don’t see the need for a man except sex and reproduction

    The continuing affirmative action by the Government of Uganda, although well intentioned has become so extreme that advancing jobs has been made to prioritize women over men hence depriving men of jobs, they should have done

    These liberation movements have unequally elevated women so high to the point that they sometimes disrespect women and the natural order of leadership and control. Women in Uganda especially in family settings where the woman is highly educated and earns more than the male in the house, instructions and directives are sometimes disobeyed out of defiance and the feeling that men and women are equal and therefore all have to make rules and standards in a home. Leadership structures in homes have been greatly threatened with homes now characterised with a lot of quarrels and upheavals. Men no longer have the honour they once had in society

    Single out an outstanding young male in your country/ region who you believe is putting their abilities to good use. Write about what this person is doing (with facts) and why you chose them among the many

    There is a young man called Ian Makamara from Kenya a student at Strathmore Law School of law, justice and sustainability as well. He is the founder of an organisation called Ladies in Red. Throughout his time in university, he realised that justice is found far beyond the walls of a courtroom. This is because in a society rife with poverty and inequality, the law has no meaning. This led him to pursue various avenues to achieve social justice and sustainable development, with a focus on gender equality, quality education and climate change. Ladies in Red (LIR) is an initiative that he started after the suicide of two young girls in Kenya. They took their lives due to the shame that they felt due to period stigma. He and his friends started an initiative that was focused on women’s rights and eradicating period poverty. The approach he took is different from many other organisations, as instead of donating pads and leaving it at that, the initiative seeks to institutionalise a financial plan that will help young girls in society afford reusable pads, thereby breaking the chain of dependency. Furthermore, the initiative was evolved into a mentorship programme to cater for the mental health needs of the girls and women involved, as well as find ways to facilitate income generation among them due to the problem having its roots in poverty. The first mentorship program was started with Wings of Hope, a rescue home for young ladies that have been victims of rape and gender-based violence from their communities.
    Social media page: https://www.instagram.com/ladies_in_red_ke/ https://twitter.com/LadiesinRed2

    How do you think women and men can work together to develop the community they live in?

    Women and men should first of all work together to ensure that they transcend common stereotypes surrounding roles of men and women in society. Much as we talk about stereotypes, they affect both parties and it’s the role of both to sit on a round table to redefine some of these roles and dispel any fallacies that exist

    Evidence shows that children who succeed in life are a result of a collective upbringing from both a male/father figure and female/mother figure in a home. Evidence also suggests that most of the male criminals attribute to lack of a father figure in their lives. This implies that in a home setting fathers and mothers need to play a collaborative role to raise the next generation.

    With regards to economic participation, common stereotypes about the type of job appropriate for certain gender need to be eliminated. A number of initiatives exist right now in the world to address this i.e. women referees, women taxi conductors, women body builders, women footballers etc. Therefore, both have a role to play in economic growth and participation in gainful employment. Women and men need to utilise their talents and strengths to fend for families as the basic unit of society

    MALE ROLES IN SOCIETY PANEL DISCUSSION

    Does the panel agree with this pledge?

    All the panellists agreed with this pledge wholesomely because it speaks more to the underlying main issues that bring out many fallacies about manhood.

    How would you go about encouraging males to take the ‘Kectil Male Promise?’

    Based on analysis of many of the respondents that came out, the strategies that were suggested came from similar strategies that have worked especially in the fight against HIV/AIDS Pandemic and Gender based violence programmes.

    First of all, there is need to craft programmes that increase the self-awareness of the males. Many males make mistakes in life against life because of not being self-aware. They make decisions in life based on their emotions neglecting a critical assessment of the stage in life they are in and their ability to handle the aftermath of their decisions. Men need to be self-aware and base their decisions on this awareness.

    Secondly, in view of the fact that it has been an uphill task to capture males in many programmes, campaigns are inevitable. Campaigns propagated via radio stations as well as use of IEC materials would work for adult males. More importantly, engaging males from a young age would be the most effective way. Some panellists sighted campaigns that were effective during school days i.e Presidential Initiative on AIDS Strategy for Communication for Youth (PIASCY), Rock point 256, Straight talk foundation that used to share periodicals on sex and gender issue in schools which changed perspectives on the scourge from a young age.

    What do you believe can be added to the Male Promise, and why?

    Many participants in the panel discussion were confident that the Male promise is sufficient enough. The only addition that came out of the panel discussion was the fact with regards to the first statement within the promise/pledge, it seems to focus more on pregnancy which is more at the tail end after looking at an attractive girl. The focus should be on loving her unconditionally and taking care of her. If one loves her then they are automatically willing to accept responsibility of what comes out their union. Some young men might have the ability to take care of her and even accept responsibility of the child but still not take care of her to the same level as another whom they love. Therefore, the pregnancy bit is an outcome of not loving a girl and therefore it could be taken out.

    What responsible steps do you believe are constituted in facilitating other females who find themselves in risky situations?

    The panel participants drew from some of the success initiatives that have already been instituted tackling similar issues within Uganda. The panel first identified what type of risks affects women and these included the sexual harassment at workplaces, rape, incest, gender discrimination among others. In most recent occurrences, there is a high rate of incest happening in Uganda and women are violated and are trapped in relationships with their fathers. The participants noted the following key steps to take to facilitate women at risks;
    Establish Toll free lines to facilitate case reporting and counselling; Uganda has already tested toll free lines to handle various issues e.g. child helpline, “You report” helpline; These lines could provide counselling services, facilitate case identification and reporting.
    Establish Safe Spaces; For cases where girls are trapped in relationships that are toxic, violent, incest etc, there needs to be safe spaces where these issues can be facilitated to surface without judgement and confidentiality upheld. These spaces should also include programmes where man and women come together to discuss these risks and collectively craft a way of how to combat them.

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