Spare a thought for men on day most choose to ignore

Today is International Men’s Day and men all over the world will be celebrating with this year’s theme: ‘Working Together For Men and Boys.’

According to the International Men’s Day UK website, issues that affect men and boys all over the world such as men’s shorter life expectancy, high male suicide rate, collective tolerance of violence against men, the struggles boys face trying to get an education and the unique challenges of father-child relationships are meant to be discussed during today’s celebrations.

Maendeleo Ya Wanaume chairman Nderitu Njoka yesterday said the International Men’s Day was a great opportunity for the country to talk about the boy child who, in his opinion, has been sidelined as everyone concentrates on empowering the girl child.

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“The issues that affect men and the boy child have not been given the seriousness they deserve and it saddens me that the Government has not set aside any programmes or activities to celebrate this day,” he said.

Mr Njoka pointed out that it was time to accept that men have issues affecting them too.

He said during this year’s International Men’s Day, his organisation would be targeting boys going through circumcision as part of their transition to manhood.

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“We want to teach these young men that as they make the transition into manhood, they need to act like men and become role models in the society. We want to teach them that violence or drugs is not the way to go and I believe by doing so we will be empowering them to become responsible citizens who can be depended on later in life. We want to teach them that they need to respect women,” he said.

The Maendeleo ya Wanaume chairman added that although it was good to empower women, the boy child should not be forgotten.

He said women needed to support men in making sure boys were not forgotten.

“If we empower the boy child, we are also indirectly empowering the girl child because I believe no educated woman wants to get married to a man who is not educated.

“The International Men’s Day is not just about the men; we hope the women will also celebrate the day with us,” Njoka added.

He pointed out that empowering the boy child and addressing issues that affect men would result in a huge reduction in insecurity cases in the country.

CATTLE RUSTLING

“Young boys are the ones involved in issues such as cattle rustling and as the girl is being educated, the boy is left to herd,” he said.

Kenya might not have officially inaugurated any celebrations to mark the International Men’s Day but other African countries are doing do.

Tanzania, for example, first celebrated the day in 2011 with other countries such as Zimbabwe, Botswana and Burundi.

Ghana and South Africa inaugurated celebrations in 2009 and 2008 respectively.

The International Men’s Day was first inaugurated in Trinidad and Tobago in 2009.

According to the International Men’s Day website, the day has received a thumbs up from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

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International Men’s Day Maendeleo Ya Wanaume chairman Nderitu Njoka