Healthy Families, Strong Communities

Fostering healthy families and strong communities by engaging men and boys in the movement to end gender-based violence

Men and boys have a crucial role to play in promoting gender equality in their families, communities, and society more broadly. It is critical to engage directly with men about the role they can play in creating a more just and prosperous society for all, and give them space to reflect on some of the beliefs which may be harmful to women and girls in Kurdistan and across the world.

In Kurdistan, as in many other parts of the world, high levels of intimate partner violence and other forms of GBV are linked to high gender inequality and exacerbated by the destructive impacts of prolonged conflict and exposure to violence. Rigid social norms do not always afford men and boys the space to recognize, understand and recover from trauma, nor seek support to improve their mental health and well-being, perpetuating and normalizing negative coping mechanisms, such as perpetrating more violence.

Fostering Healthy Families

SEED Foundation, in partnership with Equimundo Center for Masculinities and Social Justice, conducted formative, qualitative research to explore attitudes, values, and interest in engaging men and boys in gender equity, with host community members, Iraqi internally displaced persons (IDPs), and Syrian refugees in the KRI.

This research, conducted in and around Erbil, informed the development of an intervention to reduce intergenerational violence in Kurdistan, by working with 14 to 19 year old adolescent boys and their fathers. The project aims to reduce gender-based violence (GBV) by promoting healthy masculinities, using a contextually adapted curricula, previously used in other locations by Equimundo and its local partners.

Thanks to the generous support of the United States Government, SEED Foundation will lead the intervention’s implementation in 2022–2023.

Engaging Men and Boys

SEED partnered with Equimundo: Center for Masculinities and Social Justice, to create ‘Healthy Families, Strong Communities’, a psychosocial support initiative based on approaches that have been effective around the world, to engage men and boys to raise their awareness about gender issues and GBV.

Through this initiative, men and boys participate in group sessions where they learn about:

  • Their important role as allies and important contributors to countering GBV

  • What it means to be a positive, healthy, man in society

  • How to challenge incidents of harassment and violence in the community

  • Skills to build healthier relationships and improve family communications

Through these groups, men learn how to be fathers and husbands who are more engaged in their partner’s and children’s lives and share more caregiving, household, and decision-making responsibilities.

SEED also delivers comprehensive services including mental health and legal support and cash assistance to any individual in need. By increasing the mental well-being of boys and men, and helping them to build support systems so they can be healthier, use positive coping mechanisms, and enact positive change in their families and communities.

Join the Healthy Families, Strong Communities Program: