In a country undergoing transformation, some of the most turbulent yet necessary changes are happening in the areas of gender equality and gender-based violence.While the bulk of the country’s efforts are focussed on women’s rights and activism, men’s rights organisation Moshate says men are also experiencing discrimination and abuse socially, domestically and in the work place.TACKLING MEN’S RIGHTSmany men fear taking action against abuse due to domestic policy framework and programmes that make doing so difficult, worsening the already unpleasant situations these men are inMoshate, “the chief’s kraal”, is committed to fighting the imbalance in the focus on gender issues and men’s ill treatment by the police, court officials and health and social workers.The organisation does not intend to counter or disturb the efforts of women’s rights organisations and activists, or women’s position in society. Mashilo Mnisi, founder and chief executive officer of Moshate, says the organisation’s objective is to combat male victimisation and abuse by the system and by women who obstruct justice when dealing with men.“Moshate is the true social change contributing to a true gender equality. We’re not downplaying women’s issues and rights, but we just wish to see an equal society where men are also considered for sensitivity.“We can only do that by appealing to those authorities holding power as they seem to misunderstand male issues and don’t know that men and boys are also human beings who have emotions and can feel pain.”Mnisi believes that many men fear taking action against abuse due to domestic policy framework and programmes that make doing so difficult, worsening the already unpleasant situation these men are in.Moshate approaches different communities around the country to try and build awareness of this issue through workshops and campaigns that educate and mobilise people who want to be agents of change within what they say is a feminist framework.PROGRAMMESIdeally the organisation hosts nine workshops a year, one in each province, to try and reach as many people as they can given the shortage of other organisations providing similar services.To supplement these workshops the organisation puts together four protest campaigns a year, held in March (human rights month), June (youth month), August (women’s month) and November (men’s month).The organisation will also be attending the GBV (gender-based violence): Positive Male Role Model forum organised by the Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD) in Vanderbijlpark, Bophelong, on 12 October. Men who are interested in participating can call Mapshane Mathunyane on (011) 050 0943 or email her.SUPPORT AND SUCCOURWhile the bulk of the country’s efforts are focussed on women’s rights and activism, men’s rights organisation Moshate says men are also experiencing discrimination and abuseThe organisation also offers psycho-social support through counselling and assessment before offering professional intervention. Their team includes psychologists and social workers who help the men deal with and recover from psychological, mental and emotional abuse.The Moshate team includes experts offering legal advice, motivation, representation and referrals for men who feel they have been taken advantage of or abused legally, sexually, physically or financially. These complaints are also assessed to ensure that help goes to men who really need it.“We aspire for a total change in the lives of the people we help and aim to start building their self-esteem and change the values of the entire community whereby they can stymie any social ill and abuse.”PROJECTSMoshate has two projects, one of which is compiling statistics on challenges men face.Its main objective is to collect and analyse statistics on women-on-men abuse and by the ‘system’, based on the complaints they receive. These statistics are then processed through police stations, state hospitals and the courts.The second project focusses on employment inequality between men and women and determining whether or not this imbalance and the high rate of male unemployment are due to discrimination against men.The project also scrutinises the criteria and employment processes within government and the private sector.HOW TO GET INVOLVEDThe organisation is mostly volunteer-driven as fundraising efforts are stymied by assumptions about its approach to gender abuse and discrimination.“Gathering our funds is a challenge because a lot of companies, governments and individuals still see men as perpetrators of violence and abuse”, says Mnisi, “hence they’re not interested in supporting an NPO that fights for men and boys. This is somehow still a new phenomenon, and therefore it comes with its challenges since the mentality is still unbiased.”For more information about Moshate visit http://www.moshate.org.za, email Mashilo Mnisi, call them on (011) 050 0943, or send a fax to 086 732 1097.