Tearfund Netherlands: Working with Religious Actors and taking a Faith-based approach to Addressing harmful Gender norms

 In Advocacy Hub

   

Tearfund is working as part of the Joint Initiative for Strategic Religious Action (JISRA). Working within religious communities to tackle discrimination and extremism and building bridges between religious communities, the goal of JISRA is to contribute to just and peaceful societies where everyone is free to enjoy Freedom of Religion and Belief (FoRB). JISRA is a consortium of Tearfund, Mensen met een Missie, Faith to Action Network, and Search for Common Ground, working in partnership with 50 civil society organisations in Ethiopia, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria and Uganda. An important part of JISRA is a range of advocacy activities at local, national, and international level.

The JISRA programme pays special attention to gender equality, women’s rights, and increasing the role of women in setting the vision and solutions to advancing FoRB ‘for all’ which doesn’t violate other human rights. It also focuses on promoting the participation of women in decision-making fora. Our partners work with religious communities to challenge harmful gender norms through safe place consultations and public campaigns. The JISRA programme promotes the constructive roles that women play in their religious communities and societies.  JISRA works with faith actors, training male and female religious leaders on women’s rights to enable women to have strong voices and exercise leadership.

In Ethiopia Tearfund’s partners are working to create a conducive and enabling environment in which women are seen as equal and important parts of the same community and in which barriers to their empowerment are challenged. As a result, there is increased participation of women within the Church leadership. The Ethiopian Kaleheywet Church Development Commission (EKHCDC) for the first time have women board members and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development and Inter-Church Aid Commission (EOC-DICAC) have promoted women to their management committee.

Transforming Masculinities: a faith-based approach to addressing harmful gender norms

Transforming Masculinities (TM) is a gender-transformative approach for faith communities to promote positive masculinities and gender equality, as a means of preventing sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). The approach uses participatory activities, critical self-reflection and scriptural reflections to help faith communities create and embrace new understandings of gender, masculinities, and gender equality through the lens of faith.

Two key agents of change deliver Transforming Masculinities activities: faith leaders and Gender Champions. We accompany faith leaders on their journey of transformation, supporting them to address the unequal balance of power in communities and relationships, and to redistribute power in a more equitable way.

We also equip Gender Champions to facilitate dialogues with local church members. This helps churches to identify the beliefs and norms around gender equality that exist in their community, and work to shift those to a more equitable belief system.

Want to know more about this approach? See https://learn.tearfund.org/en/resources/series/changing-gender-norms-transforming-masculinities for the material, contextual adaptations of the program and supporting research.

 

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