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RHO archives : Topics : Men and Reproductive Health

Special Meeting Report: Male Involvement

Reaching Men to Improve Reproductive Health for All

September 15-18, 2003, Dulles, Virginia

This global conference on state-of-the-art programming for constructive male involvement in reproductive health was held in Dulles, Virginia, September 15-18, 2003. The conference was sponsored by the Men and Reproductive Health Task Force of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Interagency Gender Working Group (IGWG). The Task Force is composed of representatives from USAID Cooperating Agencies and other organizations and donors who are working to improve gender equity and increase men’s positive participation in reproductive health programs and services. The multi-agency collaboration was led by EngenderHealth, PATH, and the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), and was guided by an advisory group of senior developing-nation experts. It was cosponsored by CATALYST Consortium, Family Health International (FHI), IPPF, PAHO, the Turner Foundation, UNFPA, USAID, and YouthNet.

A primary objective of the conference was to provide models of programs that have successfully engaged men in reproductive health in ways that have improved the health of their partners and children as well as their own health. It presented state-of-the-art tools and approaches for implementing gender-equitable strategies to involve men in reproductive health as mandated by the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

The goal of the conference was to ensure constructive male involvement in reproductive health programs; the objectives were to increase participants' (a) knowledge about concrete and effective strategies to work with men on reproductive health issues from a gender-equity perspective; (b) commitment to implementing these strategies; and (c) skills and access to tools for implementing these strategies.

The main conference themes included programs, interventions, or training on:

  • Influencing gender norms and socialization in adolescent males.
  • Working with men on family planning and reproductive health from a gender equity perspective.
  • Working with men on dual protection in prevention of HIV/AIDS/STIs and pregnancy;
  • Involving men as partners in maternal and child health.
  • Working with men to address gender-based violence.
  • Targeting specific male groups about gender equity issues with regard to reproductive health: MSM, uniformed services, refugees, and incarcerated men.
  • Developing program models of monitoring and evaluation, especially for measuring changes in gender norms.

As a follow-up to the meeting, Reaching Men to Improve Reproductive Health for All Implementation Guide has been developed from program examples that were presented at the meeting. The guide illustrates examples of how to develop, implement, and evaluate reproductive health programs that involve men in ways that promote gender equity and improve health outcomes for men and women. The primary audience for this guide is in-country reproductive health program managers and technical staff of implementing agencies, government, and non-governmental organizations. The guide is being produced by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health/Center for Communication Programs and will be available on the web and on CD-ROM by late summer 2004.

To read about the October 2002 planning meeting for this conference, click here.

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