Press release by the Zambia National Men’s Network (ZNMN), a partner organization of the Kota Alliance
The Zambia National Men’s Network (ZNMN) is deeply concerned with the high number of men committing suicides in the country. Within a space of two weeks, two male police officers have taken their lives in disturbing and tragic circumstances. The case of a police officer who shot himself with an AK47 rifle after killing two people and wounding two others in Lusaka’s Mtendere Compound in anger over a relationship that had soured with his girlfriend, and the latest case of another police officer in Namwala district who took his own life while on duty are a huge concern to us an organisation that positive masculinity. The two incidences shows that there is a serious challenge among men to deal with their psychological problems.
Last year alone 50 men committed suicide in Eastern Province while several other cases of men taking their lives remain unreported. The increasing cases of men taking their lives need serious interrogation to determine appropriate intervention for men’s emotional support at all levels.
As men‘s organization that works for the advancement of gender equality, believe that one of the causes of this behavior is that men lack support structures and programmes at various levels to support their psychological needs. It is difficult for men to disclose their emotional challenges because culture expects men to be ‘manly’ whenever they are confronted with serious psychological situations such as disputes in relationships. The end result is that some men become depressed or develop violent behaviors.
ZNMN has noted with concern that some men are going through economic and social problems that are leading to acts of suicides going by the cases that we receive. Other men are suffering silently in relationships and their families but opt to remain quiet for fear of being considered weak thus resorting taking their lives.
Therefore, ZNMN will step its community safe spaces for men initiative where men and boys receive counseling to help in curbing the increase in suicides among men. Other services to scaled up will include encouraging men to discuss their infertility problems amongst themselves, which in many cases lead to marital problems such as gender based violence and divorces.
ZNMN would like to urge all stakeholders to support the safe spaces for men that will offer conducive environment for men to interact together and find solutions to some of the challenges they are facing as well as enhance men’s participation in sexual and reproductive health programmes and gender equality and equity.
In line with the vision 2030 theme which states that Leave No One Behind, we urge Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), cooperating partners and government not to leave men behind in initiating structures and programmes that will reduce cases of suicides make the country safe for all.
ZNMN National Coordinator
Nelson Banda - 0979612029
Zambia National Men’s Network (ZNMN) is a Zambian group of men dedicated in combating issues that are affecting women in their society. The main objectives of ZNMN are to combat the issue of gender based violence and create awareness of GBV and gender equality in communities across Zambia. The Network is currently based in Lusaka, though their works stretch across the provinces of Zambia.