On November 29, 2017, the PJL team organized a community-wide sensitization event on the theme of gender-based violence in the rural community of our newest partner school, Mahasoabe.
Throughout the day, the team engaged the crowds with variety of games and activities to increase awareness and discussion on different types of violence, gender norms and stereotypes, and redefining masculinity.
The turnout was phenomenal! We counted 377 men and 347 women (from 10 years old, to 80!) that directly participated in the activities, making a total of 724 community members.
It was interesting that the majority of participants were men. Staff interviewed members of the community to try to understand the reason behind this. Their responses revealed a strong gender norm rooted in the community: men go to the market to look for girls, while women must stay home to take care of their household.
Another gender stereotype became relevant throughout the day as staff observed that young girls were much more shy and hesitant to participate in activities as compared to young boys. These two notable examples of gender-specific characteristics common in the community mean that the theme of the event was very fitting!
This first event proved that community members in Mahasoabe are engaged and activated with Projet Jeune Leader's work. We are greatly looking forward to future events!