The program was initiated by CARE International and its local partner Peer Educators Network (PEN). Parents, school staff, NGOs and international representatives all participated in the night. Ambassador Braathu helped open the special occasion that was designed to recognize the hard work of the participants during the school year. The young men from Gjin Gazulli Electro-Technical secondary school were involved in a program that seeks to promote healthy constructions of masculinity and promote positive attitudes and behaviors as they relate to gender norms, health and violence prevention. During the past school year the young men participated in educational workshops focused on challenging stereotypes and harmful behaviors while promoting positive life skills that promote positive youth development during adolescence. In addition the young men are part of a school based “be a man club” (klubi bonu burre) that organizes school and community events to challenge social norms on how a man should behave.
During this event the premiere of the music video launched jointly between Hip Hop artist Lyrical Son and PEN called The Purpose of Life (Qellimi) was shown to the audience. The music video supported by the project is about the challenges of growing up and trying to live a positive life. It can be found here; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sixsi7Jj1QE. In addition to the music video a theater performance about “Life of a Kosova Man in the House” was performed by the students exploring men’s role in the household. As part of the performance the audience was engaged in conversation by the play’s director Lulzim Bucolli on the changing gender roles in the house and father involvement in child care. The event closed with the young men receiving certificates for completion of the program and a cocktail for the youth and parents.
Photo: John Crownover, CARE
In his opening speech, ambassador Braathu referred to the social changes regarding gender roles and gender equality that have occurred over the past 30 years and specifically pointed out the empowerment of women in that has taken place in many societies. A consequence of this however, is also a changing male role. A role that can be difficult to comprehend, especially for the new generations of young men now experiencing both the traditional approaches towards gender roles and also the new and yet undefined approach. “Gender equity is not only a woman thing”, the ambassador stated. He referred to the importance of also involving men in the spheres that before were considered stereotypic female arenas. As an example he mentioned that in Norway all fathers must take a minimum period of maternity leave. Furthermore, Ambassador Braathu applauded the Young men initiative, and encouraged the young to see that they do have a choice in how they behave as individuals and as a member of society, and indeed, as a citizens of their country.
Read ambassador Braathu’s speech here.