Launch of the MATI 2024

1 July 2024
Launch of the MATI 2024

Today the MenEngage Africa Training Institute (MATI) 2024 was launched online. It is co-hosted and organised by the MenEngage Africa Alliance, Sonke Gender Justice, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), and GRÓ GEST. The training consists of an online component which runs from July 1-28 and an in-person component, which runs from 12-16 August in Nairobi, Kenya. GRÓ GEST’s Massive Open Online Courses on Gender, Violence and Post-Conflict States, and Men, Boys and Masculinities have been tailored to meet the specific needs of the MATI 2024 and are instrumental in preparing participants for the intensive in-person 5-day training.

About MATI

MATI was established in 2010 to expand the skills and knowledge among gender equality advocates, civil society practitioners, policymakers and other stakeholders within Sub-Saharan Africa on engaging men and boys, and to build a regional network of leaders and gender justice advocates. As such, the MATI agenda aligns fully with GRÓ GEST priorities to strengthen the capacities of gender equality professionals from low-income and post-conflict societies.

Since its inception, the MATI has strengthened existing work on the effective and meaningful involvement of men and boys in the prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV and AIDS, fatherhood, child sexual exploitation and abuse, LGBTI rights and other issues on gender equality and social justice.

The 2024 MATI course will be offered in a global context of increasing armed conflicts, climate change crisis, insecurity, displacement, socio-economic challenges, challenging of the unequal power relations between the global north and the global south, questioning of the role of international institutions created after WW2, and the strengthening of conservative right-wing agendas and associated backlashes against the gains of women’s rights and feminist movements across the world.

MATI has historically been organized in partnership with leading universities in Africa and globally such as the University of Cape Town, University of California Los Angeles, Wits University, University of Pretoria, Jomo Kenyatta University, University of Botswana and the University of Pretoria.

For the MATI 2024, GRÓ GEST and the University of Iceland join as academic partner. MATI has been organized with university partners to provide an opportunity for community leaders to engage with academia and to acquire new skills and competencies to support the work they do in their respective communities.


The MATI 2024 launch session

1 July 2024 marked the first day of the MATI 2024 online component and included an online launch session, where 24 gender equality advocates from across partner networks participated. The session began with an official welcome from WILPF president Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo and Mobilising Men for Feminist Peace Initiative director Dean Peacock, followed by welcoming remarks from Sonke co-executive director Bafana Khumalo and GRÓ GEST academic coordinator Thomas Brorsen Smidt.

After a brief participant introduction led by MenEngage Africa Training Initiative Coordinator Zaituni Nabateregga, Mobilising Men for Feminist Peace (MMFP) Communications Coordinator Reem Abaas went over goals and expectations for the MATI 2024 before MMFP coordinator Angelica Pino provided participants with a general course overview. GRÓ GEST academic coordinator Thomas Brorsen Smidt then introduced the MATI 2024 online component along with how to navigate the learning experience. Before closing, Reem Abaas and Angelica Pino provided guidelines for how to engage with the learning community via the MATI 2024 WhatsApp group and ongoing communication tasks.


GRÓ GEST’s Online Courses

Since 2020, GRÓ GEST has developed Massive Open Online Courses for the edX platform. The goal of GRÓ GEST’s series of Free Online Courses in International Gender Studies has been to provide aspiring development workers, young gender equality professionals, policymakers, students and activists around the world with a knowledge base they can use to change the world for the better.

For the MATI 2024 online component, GRÓ GEST provides tailored versions of its massive open online courses (MOOCs) Gender, Violence and Post-Conflict States, and Men, Boys and Masculinities. Through several assessment and feedback meetings between members of the MATI partnership, parts of the online courses have been used to meet the specific needs of the MATI 2024, with a focus on gender, peace and security, as well as specific case-studies from Africa. As such, from 1-28 July, gender equality advocates from across East, Central, Southern and West Africa will learn about narrative constructions of violence, gender-based violence in armed conflict, masculinity theory, and how it relates to war and politics. To accommodate the breadth of participation from across Africa, tailored parts of the GRÓ GEST MOOCs have been translated into French.