WVD 2018 GOES GLOBAL
October 23, 2018 Jonathan Stack
Dear Friends of WVD,
Despite high hopes, rapid progress and promising expectations, World Vasectomy Day has returned home from Rwanda one month earlier than planned, after the Minister of Health closed our project without warning or explanation. Based on consultations with our local partners, our impression is that the decision was guided by concern over divided attention and an inability to coordinate both WVD and host the International Conference on Family Planning, slated to occur concurrently.
After pursuing every avenue to salvage all or part of the event, I wrote this letter to President Kagame.
Of course we are disappointed and a bit heartbroken, but our respect for Rwanda, its people and their future has not wavered. With resistance comes opportunity, and so we carry forward.
Here are a few important lessons:
1. The decision to cancel WVD is not rooted in a misalignment of values between the Rwandan government and WVD. In fact, male engagement in family planning is something they value highly.
2. Given Rwanda’s history, security is paramount and, understandably, messaging is something they feel the need to monitor closely.
3. What we accomplished in Rwanda was overwhelmingly positive and anyone who ever has the opportunity to visit here should do so. It’s a beautiful country – clean, inviting and safe with smart, kind and caring people.
4. Our movement has grown such that we warrant attention and scrutiny from host governments, which is an important step in our development, but something we must adapt to. With growth comes greater responsibility.
5. Everywhere we go we encounter a new generation – optimistic and committed tto a better future– men and women who are rooted in their own culture as well as living as global citizens.
The WVD 2018 story did not begin in Rwanda, and it will not end there. I don’t believe the WVD story in Rwanda is entirely over either!
Our team is now in New York City, conjuring up new and exciting ways to keep expanding. Our movement has become truly global and extends beyond the confines of a single day. WVD continues to spread and grow – inspiring men to rise up out of love for their family, their partners and our future. On November 16, 2018, World Vasectomy Day will celebrate its sixth anniversary, not in a single venue, or even in a single country, but in hundreds of venues and in dozens of countries.
The third act is just beginning.