New Publication: A Model on Male Involvement in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Gender-Based Violence

Sonke, in collaboration with partners in Zambia and Uganda, developed a model for organisations and program managers that are interested in building male involvement around sexual and reproductive health issues. This male involvement model builds on the Learning Centre Initiative project in Zambia with Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia and Uganda with Reproductive Health Uganda. There is a growing recognition of the importance in engaging men and boys on issues of gender equality and sexual and reproductive health in order to combat gender-based violence and women’s inequality.

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This programme tool provides guidance on how to expand service provision towards a more comprehensive approach which takes male involvement beyond the borders of the clinic and into communities. In doing so, it looks at three aspects of male involvement; men as clients, men as equal partners and men as agents of change. This model seeks to look at how men can engage more with their own health through taking up more positive health seeking behaviours, interrogating deeply held gendered norms which influence negative behaviours and place at risk their own lives, and the health of their female partners and family members.

The model interrogates norms around parenting, family planning, STI’s and HIV and relationships. This is a model which requires its users to view gender equality as a critical and non-negotiable element of improving sexual and reproductive health for both men and women. Research continues to show that engaging men at various levels of gender equality—from increasing men’s utilisation of sexual and reproductive health to supporting their partners to being advocates of positive change—in turn promotes gender equitable attitudes and reduces the incidence of gender-based violence.

The next stage of the model requires the assessment of each organisation’s specific location and situation, detailed scenarios expanding the three essential components of male involvement, program design, priority actions and questions to ask that will help operationalize the model, as well as any monitoring and evaluation and tips for future documentation.

The development and publication of the male involvement model has been funded by RFSU (Swedish Association for Sexuality Education).

by Lucinda van den Heever

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