Please note: This archive was last updated in 2005.

RHO archives : Topics : Men and Reproductive Health

Programming Approaches to Men and Reproductive Health

Goal I: Promoting women's equal status in reproductive health decision-making in the context of gender equity.

Broad categories of programming: community mobilization; education on gender equity for men, women, and children; and communication for normative change (mass media, policy work).

Specific types of activities:

  • information, education, and communication (IEC) approaches to policy makers to promote the health benefits of reproductive rights and gender equity;
  • IEC to the general public to promote the health benefits of reproductive rights and gender equity;
  • anti-violence campaigns, including research (if needed); work with hospitals/police/courts to identify and help victims and to enforce anti-violence laws; and community-based activities to address root causes of violence;
  • community-based activities to examine and modify men's goals concerning models of masculinity, human rights, and gender norms;
  • modules for school-based youth and special events to examine and modify gender roles with a focus on responsibility and gentleness as central aspects of what it means to be a man.

Goal II: Increasing men's support of women's sexual and reproductive health and of children's well-being, with equal regard for female and male children.

Broad categories of programming: couple and individual counseling (for men and women), as appropriate; outreach, especially to youth; reproductive health education in schools and for out-of-school youth.

Specific types of activities:

  • as part of training for providers on client-provider interactions, including components on reproductive/sexual rights, fostering couple communication, and counseling of couples;
  • outreach to include partners in postabortion care and counseling (if the woman wants it);
  • in community-based education, including sessions specifically for men (or which include men) about the danger signs of pregnancy/delivery and how to address them (e.g., development of emergency transportation plans), childhood nutrition and illness management, and child abuse prevention;
  • youth peer counseling and education programs;
  • including images of men as supportive partners in a wide range of IEC materials;
  • informing men and women of the potential consequences of men's behavior on women's health.

Goal III: Meeting the reproductive and sexual health needs of men (in addition to those of women).

Broad categories of programming: demand creation (IEC about available services), service improvements, provider training, organizational commitment and objectives.

Specific types of activities:

  • community-based reproductive health education and services, including working with local non-governmental organizations to add a men's component to existing programs; factory-based gender and reproductive health information programs and contraceptive distribution; or adding reproductive health modules in community-based training/educational activities often aimed at men (e.g., agriculture extension);
  • mass media activities, including talk shows, TV/radio spots, comic books, topical columns in newspapers, dramas/soap operas, billboards;
  • family life education programs for boys and girls;
  • training providers to focus on the special needs of men;
  • offering services at sites and times well suited to male clients;
  • developing safe places for homosexual or bisexual youth and men to discuss their concerns about reproductive health and homophobia (e.g., violence);
  • improving the quality and accessibility of vasectomy services through provider training and IEC;
  • social marketing of condoms;
  • providing high-quality, discreet STI/HIV services to men;
  • additional research on contraceptive methods men can use.

(Adapted from Yinger and Murphy 1999.)

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