The importance of engaging men in gender equality, health and development efforts has never been more evident. Yet the question of how to meaningfully engage men as consumers of health services, supportive partners and agents of change while balancing many other key principles of our work remains a challenge for our community. As male engagement work grows in depth, breadth, and visibility, new issues emerge.
On September 24, the Interagency Gender Working Group’s Male Engagement Taskforce (METF) co-chairs (Jhpiego, Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown, and the Population Council) hosted a half-day meeting, State of the Art in Engaging Men: A Technical Marketplace at the Maternal Child Survival Program offices in Washington, DC. Over 50 participants from the community of practice came together to learn about new interventions, research, and tools relevant to engaging men in health and to network with colleagues working on engaging men in the gender, health & development communities.
Julie Pulerwitz and Ann Gottert (Population Council) presented a new 2-page tool developed by the METF co-chairs called “Do’s and Don’ts for Engaging Men and Boys” across health areas and discussed the process of developing the tool over the last year with METF members, gender experts, and potential users, including select USAID missions. The presenters solicited input from participants for how to apply the tool in their work and how to disseminate it. Participants described different ways to apply the tool across all stages of program implementation and research, in staff training, and as guidance for in-country technical working groups. Participants also suggested launching/sharing the tool via webinars, conferences, and country/regional working groups, as well as posting it on key platforms and harnessing social media to promote it. As a next step, participants also suggested developing programming guidance on how to work with men and boys.
Participants also heard from Jeff Decelles from Grassroots Soccer on their work to engage boys and young men in reproductive health (RH) through innovative sports-based platforms, ; Dr. Ana Baptista from Jhpiego on their efforts to engage men in HIV care and treatment in Mozambique,; and Meg Greene from Promundo on their literature review which reframes RH to better address men’s unique health needs. Presenters and participants discussed challenges and identified potential solutions for how to better engage men and boys in these and other gender transformative HIV and family planning/reproductive health interventions and initiatives.
Group Discussion Leads:
- Julie Pulerwitz and Ann Gottert, Population Council
DO’s and DON’Ts for Engaging Men and Boys
- Jeff Decelles, Grassroots Soccer
Engaging Adolescent Boys and Young Men Through Innovative Sport-Based Platforms and Methods
- Dr. Ana Baptista and Myra Betron, Jhpiego
Male Engagement in HIV Care and Treatment Settings in Mozambique: How Are We Approaching the HIV Gender Gap?
- Margaret Greene, Promundo
Getting to Equal: Reframing Men and SRHR