Liquica March 7 - Day 11
Today we visited with the last partner we came to see. This is a partner in a slightly different sense as we met with a Men’s group in a community about 30kms west of Dili.
The group AMKV (Men Against Domestic Violence) was started in 2002 after a visiting delegation from Nicaragua came to talk about a similar program they started in their country. Olivia is a director of the group that has established themselves in 8 districts across the country and he took us to one of them, Kaiteu, a small community a few kms south of Liquica, right on the edge of the ocean. Many members of community came out to meet us in a beautiful hut they had built as a meeting center.There they explained about their 4 objectives, increasing the partnership and interaction with women to increase gender equality awareness, prevent domestic violence, establish a strong men’s group against sexism and insure that men are included in anger management training. They had numerous activities to carry out their mandate, discussions, training, capacity building and advocacy. They stressed they were grateful for the help in organizing the groups and were not in need of money for support but rather were looking for ways to help them to organize, have meetings and further discussions. Their group consisted of men both young and old who all were keen to learn and transfer skills. There were about 300 people in this village which had also formed a women’s group..
We were fed an excellent morning snack and had a great lunch of their local foods. We also got a great chance to visit their homes and walk around the village area. They have little in the way of community infrastructure as the drinking water is still carried from the hills as the local salt water well is only used for washing.
There is a huge disproportion of youth to adults as they could not even guess how many youth they had as it changes so often. The youth are using the typical sports activities and music as way to socialize while the older women tried to raise monies by selling cooked rice. The natural social gatherings with other local communities are at play here, as well school and church being an important part of their lives.
A telling moment came when we asked if the youth group was used as a way for all youth to get together and from the initial reaction we thought that no, this was not the case but after some further comments by the group it turned out that many of them were now couples. They commented that the work of AMKV has helped to reduce the number of domestic violence incidents in the community and within families even though some of elder men were not keen to hear of this type of talk
Dick and Paul