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From VHT to Male Champion: Nelson’s Mission to Create Positive Change in His Community

Nelson, a Male Champion trained and empowered under the Promise II Project-DFPA, stands as a beacon of hope in his community, earning commendation for his tireless efforts. Nelson has embarked on a mission to sensitize people on the importance of gender equality while fearlessly speaking out against Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and other gender-related injustice.

While the inclusion of women remains paramount in advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and gender justice, the engagement of men and boys is equally essential for achieving lasting change.

In the countryside of Kyabigambire Central, one Sunday Nelson is breaking stereotypes by assuming the proactive role of a male champion, advocating for SRHR and gender justice. Dismantling the notion that SRHR and gender equality are solely women’s issues.

Serving as an influential role model who is challenging harmful gender norms and stereotypes within his community.

Sunday Nelson’s dedication to this cause goes beyond mere advocacy and awareness rising; he immerses himself in the community, actively engaging men and boys in crucial conversations about gender issues and empowering couples and families to embrace gender equality and justice. He has demonstrated that supporting gender equality is not only beneficial but also essential for creating healthier and more equitable societies.

Drawing from his past experience as a VHT, Nelson transitioned into his role as a male champion, now collaborating with local leaders to challenge traditional notions of masculinity that perpetuate harmful behaviors and attitudes. His unique ability to navigate through complex issues with compassion and understanding has earned him praise and admiration from those he has helped.

By redefining what it means to be a man, Nelson has encouraged other men to embrace values such as mutual respect, consent, accountability and equality, reaching accountability and collective action.

In an interview with me, Nelson stated;

I’m passionate about creating change in my community. I believe sensitizing communities on gender equality and SGBV is key to fostering positive change, sparking meaningful dialogue and action. As a committed male champion, selected by the community, I’m engaging men in discussions about gender issues to strengthen families and communities. The Promise II project has been a turning point for me, offering training and fostering personal and professional growth. I’ve undergone a remarkable journey of growth and advancement.”

As Nelson continues to make a positive impact in his community, his story serves as a testament to the transformative power of dedication, compassion, underscoring the importance of community empowerment, mobilization, and meaningful participation. Meaningful participation from men and boys is crucial for challenging and dismantling patriarchal structures that perpetuate inequality, discrimination and denial of services. By actively involving men and boys in advocacy efforts, male champions emphasize that achieving gender justice is a collective responsibility that benefits everyone.

“With Nelson’s and the LC’s support, my wife and I successfully addressed our recent marital issues. Our disagreements had resulted in violence, but Nelson’s guidance helped me become a better husband. The positive transformations are now evident in our home.” – stated one of the beneficiaries.

Stereotypes have long permeated our perceptions of gender roles and responsibilities, often relegating men to certain societal expectations that limit their ability to engage in issues such as sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and gender justice. One of the primary reasons for involving male champions in advancing SRHR and gender justice is their unique ability to resonate with other men. Research indicates that men are more likely to listen to and heed the advice of their male counterparts.

By Fatiha Nkoobe

Communications Officer,

Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD).

Fighting a Monster that Guards My Community’s Gate

A story of a GBV male champion Samuel Muhumuza from Hoima District, Uganda trained under Promise II project (DFPA).

“Of course, I’m a man. How can I be seen cooking or doing any home chores meant for women?” – Sam

Samuel Muhumuza is a Gender-Based Violence male champion from Kigorobya Northern Ward, Hoima District. His passion of being a Gender-Based Violence champion is derived from his personal experience and the trainings he has numerously had with Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD). In my interview with Sam, he passionately shares how he finds it prestigious to do the kind of work he does and how he never wishes to go back to his previous life of being a politician.

“I knew I was a man. Certain gender roles weren’t for me however much they were affecting me. How could I be seen cooking? I would rather die of hunger than cook for myself or for my children even in the absence of their mum. But this narrative changed”. Says Sam

When change knocked Sam’s door, he embraced it and he’s now impacting his community. In Sam’s home, gender roles are shared amongst individuals be it male or female, and he does this openly so that his community can be able to pick a leaf from him.

“I have cows at home, with no herds man. My wife and I share this role. I also collect water for my family, and I have never lost my hands since I started doing so”. Says Sam

As a Gender-Based Violence champion, Sam has had to go head-to-head with some of his notorious cultural norms that spark of Gender-Based Violence. Much as he does his best to change his fellow men’s mindsets in his community, at times he’s looked at as a person trying to erode away his culture. Among the Alurs where Sam grew up from, women are not supposed to eat with men, they instead serve them, sit down and await on them as they eat until when they get done. After the man has gone, then a woman can eat after. Furthermore, a woman has no right to say no to sex if a man requests, regardless of her health condition. Cultural norms in Sam’s community are highly respected and this is something Sam has to deal with each and every day. He fights a monster that happens to safe guards his community.

Sam comes from a community where some people still believe that Gender-Based Violence cases happen in homes because of sorcery, woman’s delay to open the door for the man returning home past midnight is a sign of disrespect and all these can spark-off a fight. But as a champion who has gone through trainings, he clarifies to his community the major causes of Gender-Based Violence and breaks the myths and misconceptions around it.

In spite the criticism towards Sam’s work, he never stops what he does because it gives him a lot of joy. One of the things he proudly delights in is being able to reconcile breaking families through mediations. He even goes further to offer himself as a surety to suspected fellow men of Gender-Based Violence, with hope that when they’re out, he will talk to them and they change. This is a bold move, right? And surely, at least the two men he has stood for have not disappointed him.

“Much as fighting Gender-Based Violence is tedious and resolving its conflicts take a while, it is a worthwhile experience and this gives me pride and joy” – Sam says.

Sam therefore calls upon cultural leaders to join the mantle of putting an end to Gender-Based Violence and the government to be intentional on sensitizing communities on the dangers of Gender-Based Violence, since illiteracy and cultural norms happen to be the leading causes of Gender-Based Violence. He also urges other fellow men who have embraced change to be extemporary to others as he has been to his community.


By Faith Nabunya

Communications Officer,

Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD)