Challenging gender stereotypes, promoting healthy lifestyles
Patriarchal and rigid norms around gender are still prevalent in the society of Bosnia and Herzegovina. From an early age boys and girls are taught to fit into their respective gender roles. For young men this means growing up to become “real men”, aggressive and self-reliant, providers and protectors of family and community. On the other hand, young women are expected to become housewives, raising children, running the household and depending on their husband. Young men and women are shaped into their social roles and relationships with peers, families, and the larger community. To show their masculinity, young men frequently engage in harmful and dangerous activities such as excessive abuse of alcohol, consumption of tobacco and drugs, as well as ruthless driving. Additionally, they are more likely to use violence against women and peers. The patriarchal gender norms are taught and established through family upbringing, school environment, peer groups and communities.
Young men and women as champions of change
In order to challenge the gender norms, and related stereotypes, the project focuses on promoting healthy, nonviolent and gender-equitable lifestyles among young men and women in BiH. Young people are at an age at which unhealthy lifestyles are most often adopted. Therefore, the project aims to equip young men and women with the knowledge and skills to avoid smoking, harmful alcohol and drug abuse, and to protect their reproductive and mental health.
For young people to truly adopt healthy lifestyles, and successfully transition to adulthood, they require strong support within their local communities and role models. Youth organizations and teachers in schools play a crucial role in encouraging and supporting young people. Therefore the project strengthens capacities of youth educators and teachers to deliver non-formal and formal life-skills education in schools and communities. The education focuses on health, gender equality and violence prevention. Ultimately, the curricula of these educations should be included in schools country-wide to assist as many young people as possible to reach their full potential.
Promotion of healthy lifestyles and behaviours is also done within “Be a Man” Clubs, local catalysts for social action in schools and communities, where young men and women can serve as champions of change within their communities.
Through collaborative efforts reaching 50’000 young people
Within the project, cooperation is established with ministries, gender and educational institutions, educational professionals, local youth NGOs, as well as parents, to ensure the best possible outcome. CARE International Balkan - in partnership with the Association XY from Sarajevo, Perpetuum Mobile from Banja Luka, and Youth Power from Mostar – organizes educational activities in up to 15 communities country-wide.
10’000 young people will take part in the education and other project activities. However, it is expected that 50’000 young people will be reached through the promotional campaigns. Special attention is given to including marginalized and socially excluded young men and women (within and outside of schools), especially Roma young men and women.