Some men in Lilongwe have acknowledged limited opportunities for developing parenting skills as young people transition into adulthood, which is an important element in building a healthy society. This sentiment was expressed on March 6, 2024, at YONECO’s office in Lilongwe, where the organization hosted Lilongwe Traders Community Based Organization (CBO).

The engagement session focused on the creation of safe spaces for men to address gender disparities in parenting. The discussions were guided by Men Care Toolkit. The toolkit was endorsed by the Men Engage Alliance, of which YONECO is also an affiliate. The conversation mainly centred on the Three Ps of Parenting: Presence, Partner Support, and Preventing violence.

During the engagement, it was noted that poor parenting is the root of various challenges people face at every stage of their lives. It was further observed that couples shape their parenting style through a combination of the way they were brought up and some elements of self-discovery.

As the session progressed, it was also noted that ‘men’ are usually viewed as mere breadwinners with no or limited expectations in the role of fostering relationships with their children or supporting their spouse by taking up some of the chores within the home.

Furthermore, it was noted that being ‘feared’ as a father by children and spouse is often mistaken as an indication that the presence of the ‘man’ is evidenced. However, the meeting agreed that this situation simply erodes an opportunity for men to foster healthy relationships with their children and spouses.

Interestingly, the participants acknowledged the importance of men’s presence in their families as they provide physical, emotional and social support to their children and spouses. Being the ‘peace-maker’ in the family was also identified as a significant role for men within the family.

Based on the feedback, the participants acknowledged their newly found perspectives on being a parenting partner to a spouse.

In total, the session was attended by 28 male members of the Lilongwe Traders CBO. The development ushers in an opportunity for parenting skills development for men and communities.


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