Promoting responsible manhood
Guyana Chronicle
March 22, 2004

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AFTER years of lamenting the absence of an organization to counsel men about manhood in ways that pro-women organizations counsel women about womanhood, men can finally identify with such an organization.

Men Of Purpose has been established by an assembly of men brought together by Mr. Frederick Cox, Executive Director of the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (GRPA), who had invited them to discuss the formation of a group and map out a programme of activities "that will help to promote a greater sense of responsibility in men and boys in their relationships with women and girls."

It was another of those occasions whose time had come. With men by their side, women have long been wrestling with the burden of having to usurp the leadership role of men in a family setting or managing a single-parent home, in both instances rearing children and shuffling between jobs in order to make ends meet.

In other instances, women have had to endure a parody of spousal abuse and/or domestic violence and the ignominy of seeing their children, often left without adult supervision and attention, succumbing to the unprecedented problems of adolescent violence, drug abuse, and pregnancy - and relative societal indifference.

These problems aren't peculiar to women. Many men, deserted by their spouses for whatever reason, are left to fend for their children without the desired help of their better halves.

But it is true that a growing throng of men needs to be brought to soberness on responsible manhood. Hence our congratulations to Mr. Cox and the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association for initiating the establishment of Men Of Purpose!

Hopefully, the organization's 13-member interim executive committee will move quickly to realize the objectives of Men Of Purpose - to create awareness of the problem of irresponsible behaviour displayed by men, educate men and boys to relate with and to members of their families, educate men and boys on methods of conflict resolution, mobilize and organize them, nationally, to work together toward the maximization of male contribution to family, community and national development, give support to our women as they perform their various roles, advocate for rules, regulations and laws to change in support of the improvement of relationships between and among persons, and cooperate and collaborate with all those organizations whose aims and objectives are similar to Men Of Purpose.

The committee is looking to officially launch Men Of Purpose in April. But even before that time comes, the organization should consider establishing chapters or branches in suburban, rural and hinterland communities in the near term and convene a national conference before year-end.

Assistance - we're sure that Central Government and donor agencies will be eager to chip in - should also be sought in the near term to assure the organization's viability, because it will have its work cut out.

We have long advocated the teaching of character development in the classroom. Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association should see Men Of Purpose including character development as a priority subject for its young members - today's boys who'll be among tomorrow's potential leaders.