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By Theresa Goodwin

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The Directorate of Gender Affairs has created a “safe space” for young boys and men to share critical issues which are of importance to them, with the launch of a new initiative called Men’s Critical Issues.

The Facebook live series, which will be aired every Thursday throughout the month of May, initially, features influential men in society who are interviewed on key topics such as behaviour, alcohol and drug abuse, fatherhood and education and professional development, among others.

Acting Director of the Gender Affairs Jamie Saunders explained that the programme is designed to highlight issues affecting men and young boys in Antigua and Barbuda.

He said while there are different platforms for women to share common issues, a platform for men was non-existent.

“We wanted to provide a space for men and young boys to first identify the issues that are affecting them and give the Directorate an opportunity to address them once we have a better understanding of what is plaguing them,” Saunders said.

The live series is aired every Thursday, at 8 pm, on the Directorate’s Facebook page. The first in the four-part series, which premiered last week, featured two fathers, Architect and founder of the Male Empowerment Network, Colin John Jenkins, and Naik Phillip who is a banker.

Both men engaged in a discussion centered around fatherhood, and that session was moderated by Radio News Producer and Journalist, Kadeem Joseph.

The series continues this evening with Attorney at law Zachary Phillips and Queens Young Leader and founder of the Nolan Hue professional development organisation, Regis Burton, who will be featured in the discussion on Men’s education and professional development outlook. 

Saunders said the participants are chosen based on their professional backgrounds, while some are also trained gender advocates.

He is encouraging the general public to tune into the programme on a weekly basis as the Directorate continued to focus on men’s and women’s rights. Saunders also noted that some of the points raised during the series will serve to inform future interventions that the Directorate implements to engage men and boys going forward.