Working with young people is a necessary investment in the future of the whole society

November 16, 2013 Regional and International

Implemented over 700 activities in 30 cities across the region, and the program has included over 14 000 young people.

Jahorina, 15. November 2013 – The conference Young Men as Allies in Ending Violence: Activism for Transforming masculinities is one of the activities that CARE International has conducted at the regional level in collaboration with nine partner organizations. All these activities are related to working with young men to promote gender equality, non-violence and healthy lifestyles. After seven years of successful work in these areas, 707 implemented activities in 30 cities across the region, and programs that have so far involved around 14,000 young people, this conference is organized with the aim to present an innovative project methodology and the achieved results, which are reflected in positive changes in attitudes and behaviors of young people in terms of gender-based and peer violence.

The conference, whose topics are measures and policies that encourage young people to actively combat all forms of violent behavior and to consciously choose healthy lifestyles, included representatives of the institutions and organizations, as well as decision-makers relevant to this area. The conference was great  opportunity to exchange views, experiences and knowledge, but also to draw attention to the problem of escalating violence among youth in the region, and constructive dialogue to resolve it.

We deserve to leave in better society. Young people, especially young men will become real actors of change, not only numbers in statistics, bed statistics, such as high rate of unemployment, % of perpetrators of crime and violence, drug and alcohol abuse, etc. Young men and young girls will stand up and fight against violence and gender inequality striving on building better life. That way we are here today, to tell proudly everyone: young men can be leaders of change, positive change. Saša Petković, PhD, CARE International Balkans Project Manager.

We continue to have many challenges in the region in addressing the needs of young people. This post conflict region has too many youth who experience violence in their everyday life.  Young men are often seen as the perpertraitors and victims of violence and are seen as  lacking in the skills they need to deal with the conflict they face in school, family and in the community. CARE’s young men initiaitive is about building important life skills during adolesence and promoting a more peaceful masculinities that support the positive health and well being of all young people.  Young men are taking the lead in promoting more equitable gender norms and addressing harmful messages about what it means to be a man within society. Civil society and government have a role to play together to build a better life for young men and women in this region. John Crownover, Program Advisor, CARE International Balkans

Young men in the region face so many challenges today ranging from violence and alcohol abuse to unemployment and overcoming the legacy of a conflict many of them are too young to have seen. The choice to confront these directly, to heal themselves and support others in healing and to develop healthier, non-violent identities is brave and revolutionary. The young men in the program are not only changing their own lives, but they are creating opportunities and openings for young men throughout the region to lead better, more fulfilled lives, and to have better relationships with the women and girls in their families and communities. Joseph Vess, Senior Program Officer, Promundo USA.

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