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As Valentine's Day approaches, we meet five couples from around the world who are sharing the love with each other.
As part of our work on gender equality, Concern supports couples to build more equal relationships together. We do that by providing training that encourages them to challenge traditional gender roles, to share work and tasks equally both inside and outside the home, and to work better together so they can lift themselves out of poverty.
1. Mohamed and Patricia in Sierra Leone
Mohamed and Patricia have completed Living Peace training sessions, facilitated by Concern in Tonkolili, Sierra Leone. The Living Peace programme aims to make for stronger and more equal relationships, where both partners share responsibility in making decisions and carrying out household duties. For many women in Malawi, those equal rights are not always respected.
Before, I was just the ‘thing’
However following gender training, Patricia now plays an equal role in family decisions, and Mohamed plays his part around the house by doing the laundry and cleaning.
2. Stone and Rose in Malawi
Stone and Rose say their relationship has been transformed by attending the Umodzi gender programme run by Concern in Malawi. Umodzi means ‘oneness’ in the Chichewa language. The project engages couples to reflect on issues such as gender norms, power, decision-making, budgeting, violence, positive parenting and healthy relationships.
Men refusing to help their wives are thinking 'inside the box'. Now I know that I can do any kind of work. Men can do women's tasks and women can do men's
After completing the training, Stone now takes an active part in Rose's small business cultivating peanuts, mustard greens and pumpkin leaves on the family plot and selling them at the local market. It also means he does his fair share around the home.
Now we work together on the farm, my husband sweeps the house, he even washes the clothes. When I come home from my business, I find food is already prepared, the dishes are clean. I just sit down and rest. Umodzi has helped us a lot.
3. Forty and Chrissy in Malawi
Forty and Chrissy say their relationship is now at its best after taking part in Umodzi gender training in Nsanje, Malawi. The sessions are part of Concern's Graduation programme to help vulnerable families move out of extreme poverty once and for all.
After completing the Graduation programme, Forty and Chrissy received a cash grant from Concern to help them kick-start a small sustainable tailoring business. They invested it in a sewing machine and now mend and tailor clothes in their local community.
As well as putting the sewing skills he learned to good use, Forty also shares everyday household duties, and helps with the seasonal task of drying corn they have harvested.
4. George, Natalie and baby Adere in DRC
George attended gender equality training as part of the Graduation programme in Manono Territory, Democratic Republic of Congo. There, Concern promotes gender equality through male role models and dialogue sessions for couples.
In the DRC, women are frequently excluded from making key decisions about the household, have limited or no financial independence and bear large burdens of physical work.
I had to dig cassava on my own
For George and Natalie, the training has been successful, with George now committed to taking an active and equal role in the home. He works in the fields, digs cassava, cuts firewood, prepares cassava leaves for meals, helps to carry water to the house, and lights the fire in the kitchen - things he never did before.
He admits that it has been a major transformation: "I now consider my wife to be my equal".
Since we received the training, we live in peace as a couple. Decisions are made together between my wife and I. Before, we had problems in our relationship because we often fought, but with the training, there has been a change in our relationship.
5. Martin and and Mahitese in DRC
Couple Martin and Mahitese are closer than ever after completing gender equality training in Birambizo, DRC. The workshops that Martin attended are helping to change attitudes at a community level, teaching values of respect and shared work, and creating a safer and more equitable place for women.
Martin and Mahitese now support each other by bringing in the harvest and preparing it for the table together. They plan to pass on the values that they have learnt to their eight children.
Help to share the love
Like these couples, you can share the love with that special someone in your life. A Concern Gift for Valentine's Day is the perfect way to do just that. And by purchasing a Concern Gift, you'll be spreading the love to communities in need - providing much-needed resources, along with vital gender equality training, so that more couples can share the love...and responsibilities together.
Support more couples by buying a Concern Valentine's Day Gift
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