On 19th November 2021, Uganda youth and adolescents’ health forum (UYAHF) joined other partners at Uganda National campsite Kaazi to commemorate the International Men’s Day under the global theme; “Better relationship between men and women”

International Men’s Day is observed annually and was launched in 1999. One of the six pillars of International Men’s Day is to improve gender relations and promote gender equality for both men and women which is one of the key drivers for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In Uganda, the commemoration was spearheaded by a national coalition of government partners from civil society, the private sector, and the media and it was led by an Advocacy Coalition under the Mama’s Club Uganda’s “Mbula Kalevu” (Boys for Change) Campaign, the Uganda Scouts Association, the Shule Foundation, Uganda Youth and Adolescents health forum, men engage Uganda, Development Initiatives International (DII), and Kudiza Foundation and were celebrated under the national theme; “Mentoring Adolescent boys into becoming Responsible Gentlemen.”

It was graced by the US ambassador to Uganda, Her Excellency Natalie. E. Brown as the guest of honor, and Uganda’s Minister for Works and Transport Major General Edward Katumba Wamala, representatives from the Ministry of Gender and social development, and the Ministry of health among others.

While giving her speech, the Ambassador called for boys and men to champion the fight against gender-based violence in the communities.

“The International Men’s Day is timely as it comes a few days to the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, which means that we can use this opportunity to talk to the men and boys gathered here and instill positive masculine values that look at respect for women so that they may be champions in their respective communities” she added.

She explained that the reason why violence perpetuates in societies is that people see it and remain silent. The Ambassador called upon Boys and Men to take a pledge not to be violent against women or those who see it should openly talk about it.

In an interview with Patrick Mwesigye, the team leader of UYAHF on the sideline of the event said that including men and boys in forums and discussions around SRHR is a key step towards addressing various SRHR challenges in the communities including GBV.

“Men and boys are key players who should always be brought on board every time we hold discussions around SRHR challenges facing girls and young women in the communities, they need to be involved, they need to be there to listen and feel the pains of the women and girls who they abuse” Patrick noted.

He urged the various development partners and CSOs present at the event to use the gathering as an opportunity to pass on key messages around the role of boys and men in ending harmful practices, teenage pregnancy and child marriages.