To address the dynamics of gender-based violence and the issues of masculinity in our society, the National Women’s Commission and Spouses of CARICOM Leaders Action Network, with funding support from the British High Commission designed and implemented a Barbershop Forum in November 2019 to further engage men and boys in Belize on the importance of prioritizing key interventions in reducing violence against women and boys while also ensuring that the key issues concerning men and boys were also being addressed.
Being divided into three sessions: Opening, Plenary, and Group Discussions, the forum’s main objectives were to:
· Establish a coalition of male leaders in the community to serve as advocates
· Prioritize possible interventions while also building on knowledge and providing the resources and tools to continue championing the reduction of gender-based violence in Belize
· Identify immediate (short-term) next steps for action in 2020.
In attendance at the virtual sessions were public and private sector organizations and companies, local government, different ministries of Belize as well as past participants from the Men’s Barbershop Forum held in November 2019.
Proceeding the forum, in August 2020, the National Women’s Commission and Spouses of CARICOM Leaders Action Network,(SCLAN) also hosted a virtual Introductory Consultation entitled, “Engaging Men and Boys to Advance Gender Equality and Help Prevent Gender-Based Violence.”
The Virtual Consultation’s main focus was to create a coalition of men to advocate for gender equality and in turn, provide an opportunity for committed participants to host and moderate district forums to engage other men and boys throughout the country.
However, as a result of the pandemic, the planned Training of Trainers will be conducted until early 2021. A series of training sessions as an introductory training phase has been held on October 28 and on November 18. In addition, on December 9, a core group of leaders was identified and invited to guide the process of coalition development. Some participants are expected to deliver training sessions (not forums) in various schools, workplaces, and communities.