Dear Community Member,
WVD proposes ‘a radical’, or as our friend Monica Kerrigan likes to say, ‘disruptive’, approach to public male sexual and reproductive health.
Yes, we work hard to achieve traditional measures of family planning success such as maximizing the number of CYPs or increasing the acceptance rate of vasectomies, or even normalizing male participation in family planning. All of these are highly important, but what makes WVD unique, and I venture to say successful, is our commitment to create a collectively created movement. We don’t stop at the vasectomy, we use it as a jumping off point to pursue positive social change and make for kinder and more compassionate world.
So why focus on men?
As a filmmaker who spent a good part of my career in war zones and conflict areas, men are the perpetrators of the vast majority of what goes wrong on this planet’. And if we’re to make things better we can’t just punish angry and alienated men, or even protect ourselves from them, we have to figure out how to get them to become a part of the solution.
We know that lack of purpose and opportunity, leads to anger and violence – either self directed through drugs and suicide or outwardly expressed through violence towards others – usually the most vulnerable including woman and chldren. WVD sets out to create a counter narrative – one that celebrates the best in men, even in the harshest of circumstances.
It was on May 9th, 2012, after recording my 100th plus tale of men explaining that they had chosen a vasectomy out of love for their children, their partners and the planet that I set an intention to convince 100 doctors in 20 countries to do 1000 vasectomies in 24 hours. Within 24 hours I had reserved the url, www.worldvasectomyday.org and our movement was launched.
The goal was to aggregate positive male energy and channel it into a movement for progressive social change. Today, 7+ years later, with more than 1000 participating providers, we are the largest male focused family planning movements in history…and growing!
Why a movement?
The simple answer is that behavioral change on a societal scale requires both personal participation and collective action. To that end, we combine traditional storytelling with interactive technologies to link acts of love into a collective movement for social good.
Instead of programs or campaigns that last only as long as the funding, WVD continues to grow because it is not a program as much as a participatory and interactive experience whose growth depends on the collective pursuit of a shared goal. At its heart there is a ritual of personal sacrifice, but the goal is not just to increase the number of men who do vasectomies, but to convert personal choice into collective action.
We achieve success when we inspire men who have had a vasectomy to champion the procedure to their brothers, friends and neighbors. We increase our impact when women join in and participate in critical conversations that are rarely shared. We develop technical capacity through a global network of vasectomy providers who exchange and share knowledge. We attract the best and brightest storytellers, some of whom are professional filmmakers, but many of whom are merely creative and conscientious people. We work with institutions, organizations and governments to achieve scale.
And when all of this comes together, change happens!
What has WVD grown into?
It is a social media communications project that unites men, vasectomy providers and health care activists in a collective mission to increase men’s participation in sexual and reproductive health.
It is the vasectomy-provider community linked by a list-serve, where doctors share practical information and successful solutions to common challenges.
It is a once-a-year ‘vasectomy-thon’ in which vasectomy providers throughout the world provide high quality vasectomies to men whose families are complete.
It is a live-stream program that is shared across multiple time zones with contributions from men getting vasectomies, vasectomy providers, leaders in family planning, contributions from wives, partners and mothers as well as documentaries and animations produced over the year.
It is an opportunity to educate men and women about a variety of family planning options.
It is a week long event that is produced from our rotating headquarters where we work with local providers and health care providers to build sustainable vasectomy programs.
It is a symposium where the best and the brightest share their knowledge and experience with next generation leaders.
It is a year round effort that builds awareness through communication and community, through collective effort by creating strategic alliances with Ministries of Health, Family Planning organizations and conscientious individuals.
It is an ongoing movement that harnesses the best in men and channels their commitment to build more respectful and more equitable gender relations.
It is the largest male-oriented sexual and reproductive health event ever!
It is a community of activists seeking new ways to work as one towards a brighter future for all.
We ask you to join our movement and help us achieve our full potential and purpose.
Jonathan Stack, Co Founder World Vasectomy Day