Anzu Mia Becomes a Role Model

Anzu Mia Becomes a Role Model

Publication info

Abu Sufian and Richard Sloman

Salma says she has seen a “radical change” in her husband Anzu Mia in the past year; he has become committed to supporting the most vulnerable families in his community. In 2009, Anzu contracted tuberculosis and was taken to the hospital. “Many people died in hospital from TB,” he explains, “I thought I would die too”.  But Anzu did not die and after this experience, he began to change his behaviour with his wife and in the community. He appreciated and supported his wife more. “In the past we quarrelled a lot,” Salma explained, “But now our relationship has improved.  Before he was violent to me most of the time, but now he never beats me."  Anzu also became more vocal in the community and started speaking out about the negative ways some men treat women.

Young men in the community observed the positive way he behaved towards his wife and other women and began to discuss this with him. Slowly he began to be seen as a role model for young men in the community. Last year the Food Security for Ultra Poor project formally identified him as a positive example for others in his community and now he speaks regularly with adolescent men about the way men treat women. He also helped to establish an Ending Violence through Engaging Men forum, which is a space facilited by the project where young men and adoloscent boys meet twice monthly and discuss issues like gender socialization, masculinity, power dynamics, sexuality and reproductive health, and gender-based violence. To date, the project has 645 Ending Violence through Engaging Men forums in 600 villages and now 200 male role models have been identified by the community; Anzu is the best of them.

Anzu also attends the project’s couples’ workshop sessions with his wife. Here they discuss issues of sharing household chores, women’s rights, and sexual and reproductive health. Since attending these sessions Salma says Anzu takes more of a share in household activities such as cooking. Anzu explains “I feel no shame in taking on these roles” which are traditionally associated with women. When neighbours see him carrying out this work, he explains he is supporting his wife. The project has also facilited couple’s workshops in 116 communities where 10 couples attend monthly. The project sets up womens’ groups and young mens’ groups; the couple’s workshops bring them together to achieve greater synergy and results. Anzu and Salma are examples of this; life has improved for them because violence in their home has reduced. Salma is also now able to attend social events and visit friends, her mobility and leisure time have increased, household income has gone up because Salma has a small business, and she is now saving money for her daughter’s marriage. For Anzu, he has more time for the family and he finds he discusses more with his wife. They are a happy couple and this is recognized in their community.