Stephen Bwala Mbati, one of the founders of the Zambia Men’s Resource Centre (ZAMREC) in Lusaka, Zambia, spent four weeks in summer 2008 working with Men Stopping Violence (MSV) trainers and facilitators.
ZAMREC was established by Mbati and co-founder Stanislaus Phiri to work with men to address violence against women. Previously, Mbati worked for the YWCA, overseeing the main drop-in center, where women came to seek assistance and shelter.
“Battered women would come, sometimes with their children,” he said. “Any problem they brought in had a complement of abuse.”
Mbati said that in 2004 he and Phiri began working on a men’s network to address male batterers. The result was the establishment of ZAMREC in 2007, which is independent of the YWCA but continues to collaborate with that organization.
“We’ve been building structures,” said Mbati. That building phase, he said, includes looking for funding, and both conducting and participating in training, locally and internationally.
While working with MSV, Mbati attended Men’s Education Program classes, participated in the Summer Seminar Series, and met with men who are working with the organization. He said that the experience helped reinforce his plans for ZAMREC and that he learned valuable lessons about organizing programs and partnerships.