Engaging Men in Sexual and Reproductive Health Services: A Continuum of Programme Activities

This tool seeks to show different programming options for engaging men in SRH services, with some potential activity mixes for each stage of effort, from left (low effort: gender-neutral to gender-sensitive programming) to right (high effort: gender-transformative programming). The suggested actions are by no means exhaustive and can be done together or separately. They are only meant to spur thought about specific actions which programmers can consider. Programme designers will need to be creative, understand what will work in their context and adapt tools/methodologies appropriately.

(Return to toolkit)

Lowest Effort:
Gender-neutral →
gender-sensitive
Low Effort:
Gender-sensitive
Medium Effort:
Gender-sensitive →
gender-transformative
High Effort:
Gender-transformative
All of the previous, plus: All of the previous plus: All of the previous plus:
  • Review SBCC materials and outreach materials for gender-stereotypical images, roles, language, etc. Remove these stereotypes or replace with gender-sensitive or gender-transformative ones (see gender-transformative materials tool)
    Low Cost
  • Avoid using gender-inequitable situations or examples of harmful gender norms/practices in programming materials, unless they are being used for discussion or critical reflection (see gender-transformative materials tool)
    Zero Cost
  • Guarantee women the right to have their partners present (per the woman’s request) during family planning and antenatal care counselling
    Zero Cost
  • Guarantee informed consent and voluntary decision-making (including training)
    Low Cost
  • Develop, implement and enforce sexual harassment and equal pay polices
    Low Cost
  • Conduct an assessment (e.g., reviewing literature/programming, conducting key informant interviews, focus groups, in-depth interviews) to understand prevalent gender norms and how these norms affect SRH decision-making at the programme site
    Low Cost
  • Assess the male-friendliness of the facility (e.g., male-friendly services audit)
    Low Cost
  • Make small changes to the facility (e.g., providing reading materials which are of interest to everyone, make the décor welcoming to both sexes)
    Low Cost
  • Utilize images of couples and include gender-equitable messages in SBCC materials which are already budgeted
    Low Cost
  • Create and implement protocols for counselling men and women together
    Low Cost
  • Ensure that protocols are in place to guarantee privacy and confidentiality for clients
    Low Cost
  • Make condoms regularly available
    Low Cost
  • Train key staff on the provision of male-friendly and/or couple-friendly services (including questioning provider attitudes and gender norms)
    Medium Cost
  • Make structural changes to facilities (e.g., provide bathrooms for both sexes, provide waiting room space for partners/family, provide private space for counselling on family planning, etc.)
    Medium to High Cost
  • Actively reach out to men and couples to engage men in SRH
    Low Cost
  • Develop SBCC materials which reflect male involvement in SRH
    Medium Cost
  • Develop exit surveys, provider interviews and other lower-cost instruments to measure/document intervention
    Low Cost
  • Include male engagement in budgets for SRH services
    Medium Cost
  • Conduct group education workshops with women/girls and with men/boys to begin to understand and challenge rigid gender norms in that context
    Medium Cost
  • Conduct quantitative household surveys on attitudes and behaviours of men and women regarding SRH
    High Cost
  • Conduct a rigorous evaluation of impact of male involvement on SRH service provision, outcomes, access and gender equity
    High Cost
  • Develop and implement protocols and provider trainings for dealing with domestic violence within SRH services (screening, referrals, safety planning, etc.)
    Medium Cost
  • Conduct whole-site training on providing couple services and gender-equitable services
    Medium Cost
  • Train staff in couple-friendly service provision
    Medium Cost
  • Reach out to men consistently with gender-equitable SRH services or information for men
    Medium Cost
  • Conduct mass media campaigns promoting gender-equitable norms and male involvement in SRH
    High Cost
  • Conduct group education workshops with large cohorts of women/girls and men/boys to challenge gender norms in communities
    Medium to High Cost
  • Recruit and train male SRH service providers (or outreach workers)
    High Cost
  • Advocate for more research into male involvement in SRH
    Medium Cost
  • Advocate for policies (local, national) which support male engagement in reproductive health
    Medium Cost
  • Make vasectomy regularly available (and other male methods, if they exist)
    Medium Cost

Note: Costs associated with each of the activities listed above will vary substantially, depending on the context and local pricing. Therefore, the description of costs provided here should only be considered as rough guidance. For example, it could be possible to make something listed as a medium-cost option into a low-cost option.

(Return to toolkit)