Twelve years of Hearts of Men’s work

What has been achieved  back  next

Hearts of Men (HOM) has been facilitating programmes and community based interventions in the Western Cape for 12 years from 2001 to 2013. We first developed a Manhood Mentoring community based programme, in which firstly a group of older men (25 yrs +) would go through an intensive & rigorous personal development & mentorship training, followed by a group of younger men (14 yrs to 19 yrs) who would  undergo training. The two groups would then enter into a mentorship agreement last a minimum of one year.

This model was then developed to create a Fatherhood Mentoring programme based on the same principles. Older fathers would now mentor younger fathers within a community based approach.

Similar work has begun focusing on the development of a Hearts of Women programme. The aim here has been to seek ways in which one can integrate men’s and women’s work, especially when it comes to strengthening the family.

HOM has delivered programme interventions in the following neighbourhoods & communities: Bonteheuwel  (Netreg, Blue Gum & Kalksteenfontein), South Peninsula (Ottery East, Lotus River, Grassy Park, Kenilworth), Helderberg (Strand, Macassar, Sir lowry’s Pass), Overberg (Grabouw, Villiersdorp, Monteith Farms), Langeberg (Bonnievale, Ashton, Robertson, G.Beck Farm).

Partnership programmes have also been facilitated in the Unicity of Cape Town (Warriors for Peace, Ma’Afrika Tikkun). Community interventions have spanned periods of one year, to three years, to ten years.

Funding partnerships have spanned both Local & Provincial Government departments, as well as the Private sector and Charitable foundations.

What has been missing back  next

HOM has been primarily a service delivery organization. The advantage of this is that we have accumulated experience & knowledge, and we have developed effective tools and strategies.

In order to expand we moved from an approach whereby HOM personnel facilitated programmes within their own communities, to a funder driven approach whereby personnel had to be deployed to outside communities spread far and wide. to meet a government departments specific delivery agenda, or a clients need, for example, a farm manager.

Service delivery has taken up all HOM resources, in both financial & time. Much energy has gone into contracting & managing staff, report writing, managing budgets, vehicles & equipment. Very little to no energy was left for proper research, training, networking, strategic planning, programme & resources development, etc.

HOM has had to face all the normal challenges one would expect in having to run an organization. The pressures having to coordinate a delivery team spread sometimes over 3 regions, working to outside determined deliverables, and staff having to travel regularly and be away from their homes & families, have been formidable.

Reflection, evaluation, research, development, training, strategizing time has been missing in HOM.

The way forward back  next

Men’s issues and challenges are at this time gaining prominence on the national agenda. Domestic based violence, the crisis with prison overcrowding, violence, addiction & crime are all very much in public debate.

The Board & Management Team of HOM has decided it is now a good time to shift the emphasis of the organization from delivery to training & research. It is time to share the learning and expertise from the last 12 years of practical work. In order to do this and to spread this work further afield, we have to take a step back from direct delivery in order to be in a position to provide support services.

HOM wishes to create an Institute that could be a home for training, research & new programme design.

HOM will continue to be involved in delivery work, if and when it ties into a specific research approach, for example, to pilot the idea of combining a men’s and women’s mentoring programme into one structure. HOM would thus deliver a programme as part of a research & development initiative, and if successful, identify another partner to roll out the programme, while providing the necessary training & mentoring support.

HOM will through the Institute promote good practice, encourage innovation, and provide expertise & mentoring when needed.

Developing a HOM Institute back

Overall Vision & purpose:

To create a centre of excellence that focuses on the well being & contribution of men within the family & community.

In practice

In order to achieve this HOM will establish an Institute that focuses on facilitation training, programme design, resource development, research & evaluation, as well as the creation of strategic partnerships.

We have divided the above into 4 strategic components. The accomplishment of these ‘mini-visions’ will together contribute to the realization of the overall vision for HOM.

Vision 1:

In practice

In order to achieve this, HOM will develop strategic partnerships with other related NGO’s and

specific Government departments both locally provincially & nationally. HOM’s key role will be

to inspire communities to participate in this initiative, to provide the necessary training input, and to offer ongoing mentoring to ensure sustainability in all aspects of the work,

ie. facilitating, managing, financing, recruiting.

Vision 2:

In practice

In order to achieve this, HOM will provide specific training & ongoing mentoring services which

focuses on strengthening relationships within the family, sustaining marriages, & effective

parenting for men & women.

Vision 3:

In practice

In order to achieve this, HOM will undertake research in the field of men’s work & community

based interventions, and implement evaluation processes in order to guide the development

of new approaches & methodologies, and to influence all HOM programme design work, on an

ongoing basis.

Vision 4:

In practice

In order to achieve this, HOM will promote its practical experience through strategic

networking, specific marketing, producing resources and disseminating information. Thus

we will be taking the lead in putting men’s programmes & interventions on the national stage.

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