“Before joining the Impacto program, I had not been respectful towards my wife and kids. I was violent. I have now learned to never use violence,” said Jordão Cumbucane, during a weekly session with other men in his community where they talk about issues of gender equality and sexual and reproductive health. “Impacto has also taught me to make responsible choices about being a supportive partner and to have open communication about contraception. I thought contraceptive methods would bring my wife serious health problems, so I never wanted my wife to use them. I was wrong.”
During group sessions, men and boys are sensitized on the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence, the importance of shared decision-making, contraception use, and ensuring education for girls, the risks of early pregnancy and early marriage, among other issues. Before participating in Impacto’s group sessions with other men, Jordão, age 44 and a self-employed father of six from Chimoio, Mozambique, believed the only way to earn respect was to raise his hand to a woman.
Jordão was introduced to the Impacto when his wife disclosed to a female activist engaged through the program that Jordão had been abusing her. After receiving her consent to intervene, the female activist alerted a male “facilitating agent” to meet with Jordão. Trying to reach Jordão and persuade him to join six group sessions posed a real challenge. Over time, however, the “facilitating agent,” with assistance from Pathfinder staff, persuaded Jordão to attend weekly group sessions with other men (including partners and fathers of adolescent girls and young women) led by local community leaders trained by Impacto.
The approach of training and deploying male volunteers to act as “facilitating agents” between couples and female activists who make regular household visits to women and girls is meant to mitigate barriers that may hinder the advancement of women and girls.
After attending a series of male group sessions, Jordão vowed not to make the same mistakes again. “I now understand that it is my duty as a husband, father, and friend to set an example for the next generation—especially my children. I want to create a safe environment in my home and for women in my community, by speaking up and holding other men accountable,” he said.
Today, Jordão has made some significant changes in his life. Jordão is working with Impacto to advance gender equality and end violence against women and girls in his community. According to a 2019 Impacto survey conducted in Tete and Manica provinces, 67 percent of adolescent girls and young women in Manica province, where Jordão resides, reported experiencing physical violence from a boyfriend, husband, or partner.
Impacto is helping communities in nine districts of Mozambique’s Manica and Tete provinces to increase public awareness about gender equality and change harmful gender and social practices to foster a safe and supportive environment for women and girls to thrive.
Jordão now serves as an Impacto group facilitator and has mobilized other men and boys to attend. Jordão made a personal commitment to educate his peers about taking a stand against subjecting women to abuse. Impacto is advancing male engagement in sexual and reproductive health by supporting activists, agents of change, and community leaders to promote the rights, voice, and agency of women and girls.