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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Play depicts men as unfriendly to reproductive health services

12th September 2011

A play staged last week by a Dar es Salaam based theatre art group depicting how many males in the country are ignorant about sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) mesmerized its audience.

The group- Malezi Bora Theatre was performing at a function to launch a Swedish and Reproductive Health and Rights project known as ‘The Tanzanian Men as Equal Partners (TMEP) in Dar es Salaam.

Male spouses in the two contrasting families revealed how they are handling their wives and therefore revealing their level of understanding on matters concerning maternal health. A man who harasses his wife thinks that is normal and sees the other man who loves his wife as womanish.

A good man gives an apple as a sign of love to his wife and when she tales his husband that she has conceived she is assured of a continued love and care. The other man denied escorting his wife to a near-by hospital stating that he cannot do that because he is not the one with pregnancy,

A bad man’s wife is desperate that her husband does not take heed of whenever she asks her husband to help her. She cannot tolerate anymore. She yells, “You can kill me if you want. I cannot longer bare this.

Then the scenario changes. The good man tries to sensitise the bad man by advising him to love his wife saying that love is a prerequisite to household development. He is sensitized and takes a decision to assist his wife in all matters relating to maternal health.

He is now a changed man.

This is what The Tanzania Men as Equal Partners (TMEP) project funded by Swedish International Development Agency (SIda) is all about; scaling up male involvement in sexual and reproductive health and rights.

According to the Ambassador of Sweden Lennath Hjlmaker who was also at the function said the scaling must be made through gender transformative interventions.

“Both beliefs and behaviour of men and boys must be changed. Men must become equal partners. Without such a change in attitudes and behaviour unequal power structures will remain,” he said.

The ambassador has for seven years till August last year, served as the Swedish Special Representative and Ambassador for HIV and Aids matters said sexual and reproductive health and rights stand high on the Swedish agenda.

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