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AWERE, PADER - Samuel Ojok, is a twenty-five-year-old man from Latek West village in Awere sub-county located in Pader district, Northern Uganda.

Married with two children, Ojok is a catechist in a local church in his community. He is also one of the role-model men working to advance gender equality and positive masculinity in his male circles in Awere. 

Ojok conducts home visits to support household that are affected by gender-based violence, and he advises couples about living violent-free lives.

“In this community, I use my catechist role and experience to counsel women and men on peaceful co-existence, and I often talk about living in harmony at home,” says Ojok.

With support from UNFPA, Ojok trained on the SASA methodology, a community mobilization tool to prevent violence against women, and he has participated in several capacity building sessions on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

On ground, he is supported by ACORD, one of UNFPA’s Implementing Partners (IPs), under the United Nations Joint Programme to Prevent Gender-Based Violence, with funding from the Embassy of Sweden in Uganda.

According to Ojok, alcohol and substance abuse is one of the root causes of gender-based violence.

He advises men to support their partners in solving women’s health issues. He dares them to challenge harmful social and cultural practices that sanction power imbalances between women and men, which further perpetuate gender-based violence.

“It is very uncommon for men to consider women’s voices as important in decision-making and day-to-day management at the home,” says Ojok.  “I share with my wife any relevant thoughts and seek her input for the betterment of our family.”

Ojok adds that his wife is pleased to see him contribute to the work of transforming other men in the community. UNFPA joins Ojok’s wife in applauding him, and all the other men who through various community-led platforms such as the Male Action Groups (MAGs) are using their positions to mobilize communities to prevent gender-based violence, and advance sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

Compiled by: Cinderella Anena/UNFPA Uganda.