Ongwediva is hosting a gathering of men from various parts of the country, who for two days will discuss issues of violence in the Namibian society, especially violence on women committed by men.

The National Men’s Conference, organised by the Women Action for Development (WAD) and the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, was officially opened today by Ongwediva Mayor Taarah Shalyefu.

Close to 200 men are attending the conference, themed: “Galvanising Positive Masculinity to end the scourge of violence in Namibia”.

Ompundja Constituency Councillor Mr Adolf Uunona read the speech of Deputy Minister for Marginalised Communities Mr Royal Kxao /Ui/o/oo who was unable to attend.

Mr /Ui/o/oo stated that “despite the enactment of various laws and policies women and girls, and to some extent boys, are subjected to violence.”

/Ui/o/oo said that violence perpetrated on children has “a significant and longterm effect on children’s future.”

With this conference, he said, men will learn how to acquire ‘positive masculinity’ and that actually “men can also cry, be emotional and empathetic.”

“In my culture men are not expected to cry, be empathetic or care for their mental wellbeing,” he said.

The two days discussion will centre around topics such as those aimed at creating awareness on various gender concepts, create awareness on patriarchy and its use in perpetrating inequality, to create understanding on how gender roles affect the lives of women and men, explore harmful gender norms, increase awareness on GBV, understanding the causes and effects of violence, etc.

In the photo: The national men’s conference underway in Ongwediva.