Getting to know each other: MenCare 2013 Global Meeting Day 1

10 June 2013

How can we give children the best possible chance of a loving and positive relationship with their fathers? What levers do we pull, who do we need to engage, and how can we access the resources needed to create frameworks in which families are able to step up to the plate and ‘walk the talk’ of gender equality?

The first achievement of MenCare 2013, an international conference taking place in Cape Town, South Africa this week, is that it has created a friendly space in which practitioners from across the globe can find their own answers to these questions. All of us are sharing our ideas and experiences, and listening to the perspectives of other committed activists from regions very different from our own.

The meeting could hardly be more diverse. Projects from the Global North and Global South have a platform to mingle and explore what factors have contributed to each others’ successes and failures.

We’re hearing from innovative and inspiring projects working in countries as diverse as Botswana, Chile, Guatemala, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Turkey, the UK, the US and Vietnam, about the problems they face – and the tools and strategies they use to further the agenda of supporting men in their essential, everyday roles as care-givers.

In many cases the cultures we inhabit couldn’t be more different – many of us think in distinct languages, and some have been developing our work in isolation. But what’s already clear is that many of the issues we must address are similar, and there’s a real sense of common ground in the child-centred focus of what we do. We’re getting to know each other…shared themes are emerging (MenCare’s ten themes aren’t a bad place to start)…the potential for new and fruitful collaborations feels exciting.

Watch this space for more information about the projects represented at the conference, and how our discussions develop.


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