1. Challenge traditional gender norms and harmful notions of masculinity and femininity

Setting: Brazil
Population: Youth
Issue: Sexuality and reproductive health

In 2002, four Latin American NGO partners launched a comprehensive process to engage young men in changing inequitable and violent norms related to masculinity called Program H. (“H” for homem or man in Portuguese and hombre in Spanish.) The core of program H is an evidence-based curriculum that includes activities to engage young men in critical reflection and dialogue about gender equality via participatory sessions in which they live, rehearse, and model gender-equitable and non-violent styles of interaction. Group education activities address caregiving, sexual and reproductive health, women’s rights, gender-based violence and violence used among men.

Recognizing the need to work with and empower young women alongside men, and based on input from female partners of Program H male participants, Program M was launched in 2006 (M for mulher or woman in Portuguese and mujer in Spanish). Program M engages women in a similar critical reflection process about gender norms and empowerment. It helps young women explore social constructions of gender and the effects of these on health, and promotes young women’s ability to develop skills to more confidently make decisions in different spheres of their lives.

The program has had over 10 impact evaluations. The organizers have also developed a Gender-Equitable Men or GEM scale (34), for assessing the program’s impact on gender-related attitudes (35). The approach was subjected to quasi-experimental impact evaluation studies in Brazil, India, the Balkans and several settings in Sub-Saharan Africa (36), and found to lead to significant changes in attitudes among young men, in addition to self-reported increases in condom use, increased in couple communication and reductions in men’s reports of use of violence against female partners (37).

Promundo: Program H, Program M, and Program D Manuals
Promundo is a Brazilian non-profit organization that has adapted its Program H, M, and D for use in more than 20 countries.

  • Program H (H refers to homem, man in Portuguese) encourages young men to respect their partners, not to perpetrate violence against women, to respect the rights and wellbeing of women, and to participate to a greater extent in caregiving and in domestic activities.
  • Program M (M refers to mulher, woman in Portuguese) promotes women’s empowerment and citizenship through work with young women on gender identity, building respectful relationships, and civic engagement.
  • Program D (D for diversity) raises youth awareness of how ethnic, sexual, and racial diversities influence gender stereotypes, attitudes, and behaviors, including homophobia.

View the program manuals and evaluation reports.

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