“Young Men Initiative” is a project that aims to promote healthy, nonviolent lifestyles, and gender equality, by combining activities organized with students, awareness raising campaigns and training/advocating at the public policy level.
“Young Men Initiative” started in 2011 as part of the regional cooperation “Young Men Initiative in The Western Balkans” supported by Care International. This project is also implemented in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Croatia. In Kosovo it has involved young men from Prishtina, Ferizaj, Gjakova, Gjilan and Dragash.
The main topics of the project include:
– Preventing gender-based violence, understanding the cycle of violence – the steps towards change
– Discussion on the physical constructs of female and male, and the social construct of being a man and a woman;
– The use of contraceptives, and prevention of abusing with narcotic substances and alcohol;
– Vocational training and youth participation in the community, as well as other topics as planned in the Young Men Manual.
Within the YMI program, also started the project “Engaging Men in Fatherhood “, training social workers and medical staff covering the topic of paternity in the health sector. The project has promoted gender equality, positive parenthood methods, and healthy relationships from prevention of violence and bringing up children on the values of equality, empowered the public health sector to offer larger involvement of fathers in labor and child care, and has made fathers and mother aware of efficiency of equal caretaking.
75 men and 52 women have been involved and around 5000 people indirectly, 40 family medicine experts were trained, and 11 informative sessions were held with men.
Parents, teachers, students and sports trainers are also included in the activities, highlighting the role they play in young men’s personality development. With 420 workshops, 117 campaigns, and 6 trainings held only in the last 3 years, YMI has faced boys with the rigid social and cultural norms about masculinity, so that they could challenge these socially accepted behaviors and reform them to achieve a common goal – a society of welfare and equity. By engaging young men with different focus groups, YMI has enabled the examination of life practices we take for granted and the re-evaluation of “male traits” and “male behaviors”. The “Young Men Initiative” has influenced the revival of these good life practices by campaigns, trainings, flash mobs, international days, documentaries and charity events for around 10,000 people reached. The project is supported by Austrian Development Agency, OSCE and Care International.
This project contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals: