Delegation of the European Union to Eswatini

Changing attitudes, instilling behaviour change

26/08/2019 - 09:00
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The community of Mahwalala Township in Mbabane has appreciated an EU-funded project that is aimed at helping young men to become responsible citizens by staying out of trouble and respecting the next person.

The project, Kwakha Indvodza (To Build a Man), is targeted at attitude and behaviour change and brings together young men, aged between 15 and 29, from the Mahwalala community who are not only taught life skills but also how to stay away from conflict with the law thus helping to reduce crime. Coincidentally, Mahwalala is crime hotspot whereby gruesome and chilling criminal acts such as rape and murder have taken place in recent months.

This programme aims to ensure that the community lives in harmony with both men and women exercising respect and appreciation of each other thus curbing incidents such as gender-based violence.

On 23 August 2019, EU Ambassador, Esmeralda Hernandez Aragones visited the Mahwalala project to see for herself its impact.

During the Ambassador's visit the young men engaged in the programme gave several testimonies on how the project has shaped their lives for the better. The young men said they have not only been taught life skills but also schooled on the importance of respecting and appreciating the next person particularly the opposite sex. During the training the young men have also been sensitized on the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence (SODV) Act.

"We all understand that youth unemployment, economic disempowerment and restlessness become drivers of crime and anti-social behaviour. However, we should not overlook the vulnerabilities of young men and the negative impact of deep-rooted patriarchal norms and values, hence this project which aims to help young men stay out of trouble as a result of inappropriate behaviour," said the Ambassador.

The project will not only focus on Mahwalala but will also be extended to five other communities around Eswatini. The aim is to ensure that more than 3 000 young men, in all six communities, are reached within the next two years.

In her remarks during her visit to the Mahwalala project, EU Ambassador, Hernandez Aragones hoped that at the end of the project the targeted communities would not be the same again with male and female residents living in harmony with less fear and distrust.

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