Men Engage: Mali

Men Engage: Mali

Publication info


Men Engage Initiative: CARE Mali, 2011-2014

After 3 years of working on the Men Engage Initiative, our most recent review in Mali shows us the following changes in men’s involvement in women’s empowerment and anti-poverty work.

  • Men demonstrate a greater acceptance of Family Planning: Husbands accompany their wives to pre and post natal consultations, and cover related expenses; the men have set up a donation system at the community level to enable the rapid evacuation of women with medical problems.
  • Men are more involved in domestic tasks including: collecting firewood, caring for children, collecting water. This has resulted in a lightening of women’s workload.
  • Improved couple dialogue: Some men have created spaces for communication in their households. This has made the home environment more prone to dialogue; it has strengthened trust between men and women, and reduced men’s use of violence against women. More and more men are ending their use of physical and verbal violence against women.
  • Men have supported women in their access to land: In the village of Parou, the men made 3 hectares of land available to women following a complaint the women issued to the village chief. Their complaint was deemed legitimate. Afterwards, all of the men in the village committed to their cause. At least 50 women benefited from arable land plots as a result of efforts made by the men.

CARE Mali’s Men Engage initiative also has as an objective the personal transformation of the implementing team.

The following changes were identified at the level of the staff:

  • Most of the staff stated that there was a strengthening of dialogue in their couple, and a greater involvement of men and boys in household tasks.
  • Male staff report a greater awareness of gender inequality. As a result of this awareness, they reported completing tasks previously reserved for women (bathing children, making the bed etc), abandoning harmful practices such as FGC, and talking about sexuality with their children.

In terms of my relationship with my wife, before I didn’t used to give her much listening time until the day I understood the advantages of mutual listening in a couple. Since that day, I have become my wife’s main confidant and vice versa. Now she is no longer uncomfortable calling me, even when I am not around, to confide in me; and I do the same. -CARE Mali staff member

As part of the women’s empowerment program, the Men Engage Initiative works with men and boys at different levels as agents of change. Some of the activities include:

  • Personal: Create and support men and boys’ groups for gender equality; facilitate meetings and reflection among male staff on masculinities; support peer colearning. Social analysis and action; Working with men to understand their roles in reproductive health; discussions on violence against women and girls;
  • Household: couples dialogues, husbands group;
  • Communities: work with traditional leaders; communicating positive changes in favor of gender equity.
  • National: national network share work on EMB; study on masculinities