In line with its mandate of raising awareness and striving for change, Men and Boys for Gender Equality with the support of the European Union held its second Monna Tia Campaign at the Ghanzi main kgotla on Friday.

Monna Tia Campaign is also in partnership with He for She campaign for gender equality, initiated by United Nations (UN) women to engage men and boys as agents of change for achievement of gender equality and women’s rights.

Speaking at the event, Men and Boys for Gender Equality Executive Director, Desmond Lunga noted that it is time to stop violence by educating the public especially parents to bring up their children in a manner, which encourages family discussions to find solutions to problems instead of resorting to assaulting them with belts and sticks.

“ This is the time to talk openly about these issues so that we can effectively deal with them. As men let us learn to treat children as children and not as sexual objects or objects of our abuse. Some men even have a tendency of taking drugs and sexually abusing girls. Let us all be encouraged to be Monna Tia (Real Man),”pleaded the concerned Lunga.

In her remarks at the same event, UN Officer in Charge, Lydia Mafhoko- Ditsa called for a holistic approach towards gender equality and advancement of women’s rights issues.

“We must unite as men and women, government, civil society, development partners, private sector, community leadership and stakeholders to support effective implementation of the gender commitments made by Botswana to make a difference in the lives of all men, women, girls and boys. We should not leave no one behind,” said Mafhoko-Ditsa.

Both He for She and Monna Tia’s impact on communities will be instrumental in raising momentum for useful gender dialogues, capacity building and advocacy for gender equality in family, community, workplace and across the country, Ditsa further pointed out.

MonnaTia was launched on the backdrop of the release of the Botswana National Relationship study of May 2019, which has indicated that slightly over a third (37 percent) of local women experience some form of gender based violence in their lifetime.

Before then, another study, the Botswana Gender Based Violence indicators study of 2012, had revealed that over two thirds (67.3 percent) of women in Botswana have experienced some form of gender based violence in their lifetime and 44.4 percent of men admitted to perpetrating violence against women.

The same study has also indicated that about three in every five women (62.3 percent) have experienced gender-based violence while about half of the men (47.7 percent) perpetrated intimate partner violence.

Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Ngaka Ngaka said the campaign was to sensitise the general public against some negative practices observed in some areas and communities, which perpetuates gender, based violence.

The minister noted that for many years women have suffered as they continue to be reprimanded and blamed for crimes meted out to them by men who then turn around and treat the women as if they brought it upon themselves.

“ When a woman is raped society ask about her attire; they want to know what she was wearing, they want to know if she was drunk and if she was alone, instead of interrogating the man who aped her.” She said.

“ Through Monna Tia initiative we are uniting as men against all types of crimes against women, be it rape, murder, abuse and body shaming.

‘Dikgang tsa bo ene one a ya kae, a batla eng ga re di batle’ “We do not want women who are victims of crime to be further abused by being subjected to questions such ass where was she going and what was she looking for,” said the Minister.

Monna Tia’s first launch was held in July at Gaborone bus rank while the next launch will be in Shakawe at the end of August 2019.