The Instituto Costarricense de masculinidad, pareja y sexualidad (Costa Rican Institute for Masculinity, Couples and Sexuality, WEM) was founded as an NGO in 1999. It works on gender, mascunity, sexuality and couples' issues. 'Wem' comes from the speech of the indigenous Bribri Costa Rican group, which means "man," and the WEM institute has concentrated on work with men and young people on gender issues, particularly gender-based violence.
In 2010 the Costa Rican Ministry of Justice and Peace granted recognition to the organisation as a key peacebuilding project in Costa Rica.
WEM's mission is to contribute to study, research, reflection, capacity building and intervention on gender issues. It organises and conducts therapy groups for personal refelction and growth for adolescent and adult men. It supports and assesses government institutions, municipalities, communal groups and business for the gender-sensitive development of public and institutional policies. It also has a hotline for men in emergency situations, both to provide help and prevent violence. It receives around 500 calls a week.
WEM's works across the region and acts as the focal point in Costa Rica for the global alliance MEN ENGAGE and the International White Ribbon campaign, organised by men to help prevent violence against women.
WEM is a member of:
- Red de Derechos sexuales y reproductivos (Netowrk of sexual and reproductive rights)
- Red Costarricense de Masculinidades MEN ENGAGE (Costa Rican Network of MEN ENGAGE masculinities) Red MEN ENGAGE Latin America
- Municipalidad de Heredia (Heredia Municipality
- Municipalidad de San Pablo (San Pablo Municipality)
- Municipalidad de San Rafael (San Rafael Municpality)
- Oficina de atención a la mujer y niñez maltratada Honduras (Bureau for Mistreated Women and Children of Honduras)
- Red Hondureña de promotores y terapeutas de grupos de hombres (Honduran network of men's developers and therapists)
- Círculo Abierto (Círculo Abierto Foundation, Mexico)
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