Men discuss suicide, violence at conference in Keetmanshoop

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Over 300 men from the ||Kharas Region attended the third Namibia national men conference held under the theme 'Zero male suicide, promoting positive masculinity' on Thursday. The one-day conference held at Keetmanshoop was organised by the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare. In a speech read on his behalf, Deputy Minister of Disability Affairs and Marginalised Communities, Royal |Ui|o|oo urged men to encourage each other in a positive way, adding that they should share positive experiences that are helpful for others to learn from and promote a culture of non-violence. 'Let us seek help when going through disappointments, rejection or any other situation that we find ourselves in. I am confident that as men we can strive for a culture of non-violence, we can resolve conflict with no violence,' he said. Statistics provided at the conference indicate that between August 2022 and June this year, the Ministry of Health and Social Services reported 623 suicides of which 511 ar e men, translating to 82 per cent. According to |Ui|o|oo the aim of the conference is to create platforms for men to discuss issues of gender-based violence (GBV) and issues of gender equality. It also aims to promote greater involvement of men in prevention of GBV and HIV and AIDS, safe motherhood, fatherhood initiatives, promote positive gender norms and positive change. Speaking to this news agency, Ulrich Dawids, a farmer said the conference was a good platform for men to openly speak about issues affecting them without fear of being judged, urging the gender equality ministry to consider hosting it at a rural set up to have more people involved. 'It should also be held in rural communities, where we can set up talks among men for us to learn from each other on how to deal with these issues because there are real problems, we see them within our families and communities and we need to know where we can go for help instead of resorting to violence,' he said. Participant Maurius Shikongo said: 'This pla tform enlightens us to deal with emotions because in society as the boy child we are taught to suppress our emotions and we do not know how to express ourselves. The boy child is not prepared for how to deal with toxic relationships, financial pressure and other issues. As men we need to love ourselves and take on what we can handle.' Other topics the men deliberated on included how they feel laws of Namibia favours women and the girl child over men and boys, lack of employment as countries are moving into artificial intelligence, the issue of paternity, and the role of churches. Source: The Namibian Press Agency