More than one million peacekeepers have served for peace under the UN flag, but they are not alone in the pursuit of peace. Peacekeeping is powered by strong and diverse partnerships. In this new series, we bring you the voices of peacekeepers and partners across the world, to mark the International Day of Peacekeepers, 29 May.
Original reporting: Carine Tope / Edited by: Maya Kelly
Major Kakule Kapitu Jean Marie is an officer serving with the Congolese National Police. He was among some 60 participants from the Congolese National Police, the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and civil society members, who attended an awareness-raising workshop by MONUSCO, the UN Peacekeeping mission, on the promotion of positive masculinities. Positive masculinity is an innovative approach that engages men, making them allies, in efforts to advance gender equality and to prevent sexual and gender-based violence. MONUSCO is mandated to prevent and respond to conflict-related sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as to protect civilians from sexual and gender-based violence and support women’s participation in peace and political processes. The mission carries out a host of projects and activities in support of this mandate.
“Positive masculinity is a set of behaviours practised by men who stand against violence against women and girls. A pro-gender (equality) man is a role model, a man of reference, a promoter of gender equality, and a practitioner of positive masculinity.
Since I took the training on positive masculinity from MONUSCO, I have deepened my knowledge on this subject. I have become a trainer on the topic and related themes. In my office, I have become a resource person for gender-related matters. And because I have to lead by example, I have to change my own mindset and balance my male ego. At work, in my community, and at home with my family, I am a pro-gender equality man. In the Office, I have no more problem obeying and carrying out orders from my boss, who is a woman, which many (male) colleagues struggle with. At a professional level, I treat my female colleagues with respect.
A male role model for positive masculinity is a man who through his behaviour persuades others to also promote gender equality and raise awareness about harmful behaviours and attitudes.
In my community, whenever I have the opportunity, I do not hesitate to talk to other men about the benefits of internalizing positive masculinity. I believe that it is the habits and customs of our communities that constitute a barrier, indeed an alibi, for many to [perpetuate] toxic masculinity.
A man who promotes positive masculinity is a real driver for change. I continue to work on becoming a role model and a man who sets an example for others to make a real change in their behaviour and banish all forms of sex-based discrimination.”