Guyanese men have been called upon to confront the issues affecting them by building a strong network to support each other and hold each other accountable.
This urgent call was on Friday evening made by President Dr Irfaan Ali, as he addressed the Men on a Mission (MOM) launch, which forms part of his 1000 men initiative.
“It is about demonstrating a collective will to act. It is about demonstrating a collective understanding of the problem. And it’s about demonstrating a collective ID or creating a new system, an institution that supports the modern society that is built on a foundation that will see no longer in the headlines, violence against women and children,” President Ali told the large gathering at Guyana Defence Force’s Base Camp Ayanganna in Georgetown.
The Head of State also took the opportunity to salute the hardworking women, whom he noted have shouldered many responsibilities on their own. He also called on other men to applaud these efforts, as they work collectively to play their part in molding the future generations.
“…it is about us picking up back that ball and supporting the women and ensuring that they are given that equal shoulder to take the burden and responsibility of creating a beautiful nation,” the President asserted.
He noted further that, “We [men] are the root cause of many problems in society. It is now our time to be the root or solution, to be the root of positivity, to be the root that makes a difference, to be your root that builds a support system.”
Men on Mission, he said, would be the foundation to remove violence against women and children, among other societal ills. “This is not the responsibility for women. This is the responsibility for us to work with each other.”
However, for this to materialise, the President explained there must be an agreement that there are gaps to be filled, while pointing to some of the realities that men are confronted with daily because of inaction.
“We are dedicating ourselves to not being part of the problem, but doing something about the problem, to bring about a permanent solution and create a positive momentum.”
He expressed confidence that through the mission the future generations of Guyanese men can be better and make positive changes for their families and communities.
Referring to the high school dropout rate among young men and other problems they are faced with, President Ali noted that, “An important part of Men on Mission is to work with boys across the country. And not only boys, but with girls also to ensure that we do coaching, mentoring, motivation to get back our boys and girls but especially our boys in school and their learning environment”.
He said the movement will also seek to remove the stigma against men who venture into female-dominated fields.
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a male nurse…just as there is absolutely nothing wrong for a female to be an engineer or a pilot or a doctor.”
Further, Dr Ali said that focus would be placed on reintegrating men into society by equipping them with necessary skills that are needed in the labour market.
President Ali’s 1000 men programme aims to frontally address the challenges faced by men and boys to redirect them to their rightful place in society.
The consortium comprises Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defense Force (GDF), Brigadier Godfrey Bess, Commissioner of Police (ag), Clifton Hicken, other senior officers of the disciplined services, religious leaders, sportsmen and other leaders.