Activities and community campaigns to engage young men in reflection on gender norms and attitudes which can lead to sexual violence.
Type of intervention
Classroom setting, group work
Target groups, level of prevention and subgroups
- Additional Resource | Classroom setting, group work | Spanish
Men aged 15 -24 years and their communities.
Promundo in partnership with ECOS, Instituto Papai and Salud y Género, with support from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), International Planned Parent (IPPF/WHR), Population Council, World Education, JohnSnowBrasil, CORO, SSL International and PATH.
Mode and context of delivery
Group educational activities (using a field-tested curriculum that includes a manual series and educational video) and community campaigns (led by the young people themselves) are combined to promote a critical dialogue and reflection about gender norms for young men, including questioning men’s use of violence against women.
Level/nature of staff expertise required
Program H has been implemented by trained peer facilitators in community settings, by health professionals in community centres, clinics and schools and by trained teachers in elementary schools, high schools, universities and post-secondary vocational schools. Program H has also been implemented in conjunction with sports tournaments.
Intensity/extent of engagement with target group(s)
A five module programme, from which a series of activities are selected, each lasting between 45 minutes and two hours.
Description of intervention
Program H (“H” for homem, or man in Portuguese, and hombre in Spanish) was developed and validated in Latin America and the Caribbean and has since been tested, implemented and adapted to local cultures by project partners in South and Southeast Asia, the Balkans, other parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, the USA and several settings in sub-Saharan Africa. The programme seeks to engage young men in reflection on rigid gender norms related to manhood, to promote respectful and non-violent behaviour and to encourage them to take responsibility for caring for their children and being equitable partners. Program H has been named a best practice in promoting gender equality by UNICEF, the World Bank, UNFPA, UNDP, the Inter-American Development Bank and WHO/PAHO.
The center piece of the Program H approach is group discussion, carried out generally with male facilitators who serve as gender-equitable role models. The programme includes 70 activities, available for download, to be carried out with young men (aged 15 to 24 years) on gender, sexuality, reproductive health, fatherhood and caregiving, violence prevention, drug use and preventing and living with HIV/AIDS. Each module includes a series of activities lasting between 45 minutes and two hours. Activities include role-plays, brainstorming exercises, discussion sessions and individual reflections about how boys and men are socialised, the positive and negative aspects of this socialisation and the benefits of change. The process also seeks to encourage boys to question gender stereotypes, behaviours and attitudes and to engage those who already act as “voices of resistance” to rigid gender norms. First and foremost, the activities focus on creating a safe space to allow young men to question traditional views about manhood and to critically reflect on gender, gender injustices, gender rigidities and how these link to other social injustices. These activities are informed by a belief that young men are not empty vessels for the passive reception of gender or other social norms; rather, they have the capacity to develop their own gender consciousness or critical attitudes about gender norms.
Program H also includes a community strategy based on youth activism and youth-designed campaigns, which have been carried out in nearly all the sites where the group education has been conducted. Program H has been adapted and used in over 22 settings around the world including in the Balkans, Ethiopia, India, Tanzania, Vietnam, Chile, USA and Canada.
Program H has undergone nine impact evaluations and has shown consistently to lead to changes in gender based violence (GBV) supported attitudes and in some settings to lead to reductions in young and adult men’s reported rates of use of GBV. Interventions are evaluated using a culturally relevant, validated evaluation model called the Gender Equitable Men Scale (the GEM Scale), that seeks to measure the degree to which young men and women change their attitudes as a result of the interventions.
Most of the evaluations of Program H so far have used quasi-experimental designs; a few have had random assignment of control and intervention schools or communities. Six out of nine evaluations found that participants in the programmes demonstrated significantly less support, on average, for gender-inequitable attitudes after taking part in the activities based on Program H. The consistent changes observed through quantitative and qualitative findings across settings affirms that Program H has shown itself to be adaptable and apt for scaling up as a promising and successful approach to achieving changes in gender norms and practices among young and adult men, with important implications for women and girls.
For information on evaluation process and results visit Promundo at www.promundo.org.br/en.
Barker, G. et al., 2003. How do we know if men have changed? Promoting and measuring attitude change with young men. Lessons from Program H in Latin America.
Guedes, A. 2004. Addressing gender-based violence from the reproductive health / HIV sector: A literature review and analysis. Washington, DC: USAID, Bureau for Global Health.
Pulerwitz, Julie, Gary Barker, Márcio Segundo, and Marcos Nascimento. 2006. “Promoting more gender-equitable norms and behaviors among young men as an HIV/AIDS prevention strategy,” Horizons Final Report. Washington, DC: Population Council.
UNDP (2007) 50 Jeitos Brasileiros de Mudar o Mondo. Retrieved from: http://www.oei.es/oeivirt/50jeitos.pdf.
UNICEF (2006). The State of the World's Children 2007: Women and children the double dividend of gender equality. Retrieved from: http://www.unicef.org/sowc07/docs/sowc07.pdf.
World Health Organization (2007). Engaging men and boys in changing gender-based inequity in health: Evidence from programme interventions. Geneva. Retrieved from: http://www.who.int/gender/documents/Engaging_men_boys.pdf .